Monthly Archives: January 2014

I’m taking these to the bank today.

1. Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward, after taking a step forward, is not a disaster.  It’s more like a cha-cha.

2. In our house  … we do grace, we do I’m sorry, we do mistakes, we do loud really well, we do hugs, we do family and we do a lot of love.

3.The most important thing in life isn’t a thing.  It’s love.

4. If someone comes into your life, it’s for a reason.  Don’t let them go until you’ve figured out the purpose of the experience.

5. Life is too short to start your day with the broken pieces of yesterday.  It will destroy your wonderful today and ruin tomorrow.

Have a great one and stay warm!

A working mom rant (#268). “What did you do this weekend?”

I find myself enjoying the company of my childless friends.  They have such fun and interesting weekends.  They go skiing, out for dinner and drinks.  They seem to relax on Sunday, have a leisurely breakfast, and enjoy reading the paper with their partner.  They really do go places and experience things that are very, very far out of my reach (usually because my reach is spent at Dicks or Target or the grocery store).

Let me honest here – for moms, weekends are a joke.  It’s not like you’re sleeping in or spending hours at the gym just because it’s the weekend.  In reality, you are trying to get 10,000 things done, play or be with your child, drive them all over town, do the laundry, grocery shop, errands and get it all done before you have to go back to “work” on Monday.   Actually, I’m thinking that the work/life balance thing might be a farce.

So, when I am asked the question, “What did you do this weekend,”I want to cringe.  Am I’m supposed to say something interesting, sexy, or fascinating?  Can I really be honest about the fact that french toast pieces are still under the kitchen table or that the laundry is still in mounds (while maybe done) in the living room needing to be sorted?  Or, that I barely got in a shower before someone was knocking on the door needing something???

While I do make sure I work out both days (just to survive the rest of the weekend), I spend most of my weekends in defensive mode.  Doing a million things just to catch up – something that never actually happens in my house!

So, next time someone asks me what I did on the weekend, I’m going to smile and say “Nothing really.  It was so relaxing.  My kids did the laundry, the dishes and all the cooking.  And, my daughter did all the driving for the entire family.  So, I mostly sat around all weekend, read, ate and slept.” Isn’t that what every mom does on the weekend?

Have a great start to the restful part of your week! 🙂

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?  Someone asked me that question yesterday.  I was talking to her about a situation I wish I had done differently (although I think everything happens for a reason …).  She asked how would I have done it differently if I hadn’t been afraid?

What would you do if you weren’t afraid is a great question, meant to inspire us to dream beyond our boundaries, to “think big,” to pursue our goals. But while we hear the question, we think it doesn’t apply to us.  Maybe we think we’re not afraid of much. Or maybe the opposite is true — our fears overwhelm us.  

Actually, my first reaction when she asked what I would have done differently, was a feeling of defensiveness.  I found myself saying, that it was the best I could do.  But, I just keep asking myself, what things might I be doing differently if I wasn’t afraid?

Maybe I would love without the worry or fear of getting hurt myself.

Maybe I would speak my mind without being afraid of how I’d be perceived.

Maybe I’d take a long vacation all by myself, if I wasn’t afraid of leaving my family or my work.

Maybe I would write a book, if I wasn’t afraid of being vulnerable.

Am I avoiding these things because they are unrealistic or because of my fear?  Frankly, I’m not going to take a long vacation by myself (not my thing).  But, maybe I should look at my fear of slowing down and taking time for myself and work to eliminate that fear … because it’s really not the long vacation that I’m afraid of.

As yourself the question:  What would you do if you weren’t afraid?  Do you feel what I feel from that question?  A sense that I need to look deep inside myself and figure out what is my fear and what is reality?

The point here is to find out what you really, truly want in your life. And, when you figure it out you need to go for it.  Put your fear of vulnerability, failure or embarrassment out of the way.  You are likely to be surprised at the result!

Have an amazing weekend!



Free out-of-network therapy over dinner and wine.

The other day a friend took me out for dinner and some wine.  I was feeling a bit shell-shocked by a situation and he wanted to cheer me up.  He asked how I was doing and I said, “Fine.”  He smiled and said, “I know you’re not fine.  Tell me how you’re really feeling.”  I started to cry (I promise I was only on my first glass of wine!).   I then told him how frustrated and disappointed I was feeling but I was just trying to ignore it and move on..

On my way home I thought of our discussion.  Look, let’s be honest:  s***  happens to all of us.  We all go through times when we wish we could turn the clock backwards to fix a situation. But we can’t.  So, we usually have two choices: lay on the floor like a puddle of water (thought about doing this!) or dealing with the situation in an adult way so we can learn from it.

1. When a bad situation occurs, don’t turn away from it and ignore it. I’m good at ignoring.  This is one of my not-so-great qualities!  Instead, what I really should do is try to understand what happened (if possible).  This does not mean dwell on it or recount it over and over again. That behavior will only leave us with a destructive tape — and I’ve really got my fair share of those!

2. Stay quiet. I tend to deal quite easily with the big things but with little things …. those things I can’t really change, I sometimes (yea, ok — often) worry about them and I don’t find a quiet place to let them go.  The truth is, the more calm and quiet we are the more likely we are to see a solution.

3. Talk to people.  He reminded me that rather than going in to my cave, I really should talk with those I trust about my feelings.  Sometimes others can see more clearly than we can.  Shocking, right?!

4. Take a coffee break.  While I did this, this time – I’m not always great at stepping away.  We should always take time after the incident to think about what happened.  Don’t react right away.  If you can, take a break for longer than a day before a response.  If not, at least go for a cup of java before you respond.

5. Let go.  One of my sons is having hard time watching me let go of this situation. He thinks I should fight – why not, I’m a lawyer?  I’ve tried to tell him that I’d rather spend my energy moving forward in a positive way and letting go of my anger.  Difficult to understand at 14 (and at 51!).  Yet, it really is the way to go.

I’ve said this before, good comes from every not-so-good situation.  Thanks to my friend for the out-of-network therapy session.  I owe you one!

Have a fantastic day!

Dear Jessica: “He wants to change me.”

Let’s just say I “know” someone whose partner wants her to “change” before he will “commit” to her.  This “friend” asks if this is an ok request from her partner.  Before you start swearing (valid response, of course!), try this answer on for size:

Dear Friend: Please read the following to your partner –

Of course you want to change her.  If you could change her then everything would be perfect, right?

Look, we all feel this way in our relationships. We project all of our problems, issues and discomfort onto our partner. It seems as if all of our hurt, anger and frustration would go away if they would just change and treat us the way we “deserve” to be treated.

But think about it for a moment.  Do you think all of your relationship problems are really about her? Could there be something about you that is getting in the way of your own happiness or happiness in the relationship?

Buddhists teach a form of acceptance called mindfulness. Mindfulness means focusing on being in the moment and accepting whatever is truly in the here and now. This requires that you let go of the past and stop worrying about the future.

If you practice mindfulness in your relationship it would mean that you truly accept her for who she is in the moment –  without resentment for past hurts or frustration about how she doesn’t live up to your expectations. It would mean enjoying her fully in the moment.  Being present to who she is without trying to change her allows her to be who she really is, without defensiveness and without feeling like she has to be something she’s not.

Look, we really can’t change our partners.  The only thing we can control is our own reactive behaviors.  It may just be that when you accept that you can’t change her and you let go of trying to blame her for the conflicts, you’ll find that it really wasn’t her that was the problem.  Funny how that works!

Sincerely,  Jessica

And, to my “friend” … (I’m listening carefully here), be sure that you don’t spend so much time trying to please someone else that you forget to please yourself.  In any relationship, you’ve got to love and respect your partner (and receive it back), but first and foremost, you must also love and respect yourself

Have a great day, everyone!

They gave me a hat that represented me.

My new firm has a tradition where each new shareholder is introduced at the holiday party and given a hat which represents them. I thought mine might be something easy, like a Wisconsin Badgers hat or maybe a running cap.

But, this is a bit different.  They try to really capture the person and since they can only capture the last 2 1/2 weeks since I joined they firm (they hardly know me), they had to go elsewhere … to my assistant who has been with me longer than even I can remember!

Apparently, she told them that there are lots of things that stick out about me but one thing is for sure … I can juggle a thousand balls in the air and still have a smile on my face.  Thanks S.  I appreciate the complement! (although, sometimes this is not a great way to live your life!)  So, to represent me, they gave me a juggler’s hat and three juggling balls!

What hat might you get?  Don’t think about the obvious one … the chef hat or the chauffeur cap.  But, what does your life represent?  If I were to choose, I might give myself a fisherman’s cap.  Fishermen (and women) are always searching for fish, looking in different places, trying different lures.  But, they seem happy just being out on the water, even if they don’t catch anything.  (They also tell tall tales about their fish, but let’s not go there!).   I feel like a fisherman most days.  Always some place different, searching and experimenting  but loving the experience nonetheless.  I’m sure my kids might want me to have a witch’s hat while I think I could (and should) be wearing a saint’s hat!

Think about it for you? What is it about you that makes you different from other people?  Sets you apart?  Try this with your kids?  What hats might they get that represents who they are? This exercise is going to be our dinner agenda tonight (after I hear about school, sports, and why they want to stay up late to watch some sporting event!).

In any case, it really didn’t matter what hat I got.  I am so incredibly thankful to have found a new place that feels welcoming and with people who just seem glad that I’m there (they could be faking it and I wouldn’t know it!).  If that means I’ve got to learn to use those three juggling balls they gave me, I’m happy to do it!

Start your week with a smile!

Please don’t make me give up my chicken!

I’m having issues (yes, story of my life).  I mean issues with food (yes, story of my life).  What I’m trying to say is some food I’ve been eating over the last year has been giving me trouble.  At first I thought it was stress (and why not?  I’ve got three teens, and ex and a full-time job …. seriously Jessica?).  But, I don’t feel stressed and I run about a billion miles a week to avoid that stress.

One summer afternoon last year, I had lunch with a friend.  He told me he was gluten free because of some symptoms, which had totally resolved once he got off gluten.  Hmm, I thought. I have those same symptoms.  But, I said, “I am NOT giving up bread.  I’m Jessica and I’m a bread-alcoholic.”  Eventually, however, I forced myself to bite the gluten free bullet and lo and behold, not one more symptom like that. So, instead of all my bread, I increased my protein — my chicken!

Then, about 5 months ago, things changed.  I tried to ignore it but I couldn’t.  My training friends were all on a cleanse and while I had no desire to try that, I did start eliminating the obvious culprits to my not-so-happy stomach.  First, sugar.  Then dairy.  Then fructose. Then nuts (high fat).  Nothing was changing except my attitude (which was cranky).  Notice how I did not give up wine!

One day, when I was feeling totally fine, I decided to have a nice grilled chicken breast.  Within 10 minutes I had that feeling like Meg Ryan on French Kiss when she eats the cheese on the train.  S***.  Please don’t let it be my chicken.  I love my white meat.  I eat it every day.  It’s my happy meat!

I refused to believe it was the chicken. After all, I’ve been eating it my whole life.  But two weeks ago, I decided to go off.  And, now I have to admit … my love affair with chicken is no more.

What the hell am I going to eat?  I stand in front of the fridge and all I see are little chickens: chicken meatballs, chicken in white sauce, chicken tater tot casserole.  Yikes.

Look, I’m fine getting older.  I’m ok with the wrinkles and the sags.  I’m fine that I have to dress my “age.”  But please don’t tell me I have to be a gluten-free vegan.  Really?  That’s disgusting.

Well, for now I’m just going to accept my new normal.  I’m feeling better and that’s great.  But, I’m not ready to call my self a vegan and if you see me secretly eating chicken outside my back door and then laying on the floor afterwards – just leave me there.  Sometimes, a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do.

Here’s to hoping that this too passes – like pimples, bell bottoms and high school boy friends. 🙂

Have a great start to your weekend!