It is that time of year when my fellow bloggers come up with the one word that will guide them through the next 365 days. Last year, my word was coffee. (You can read the reasons why I chose this word here). I’m happy to report that I drank many cups of coffee with old friends, new acquaintances and family throughout 2015. Over those warm beverages, I was fortunate enough to have some amazing conversations with many of you. I felt a sense of connection to the wonderful people in my life and have deepened our relationships in meaningful ways. All of this has been a blessing to me and I am grateful for it. However, I’m doing a complete 180 in 2016. The word I have chosen this time may seem a little anti-social and self-serving and let’s face it – it is. But, if I want to see some of my own dreams come to fruition this year –and let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger—I have to own this word. I have to live this word. I have to embrace this word. My word is “me-time”–and yes, if I hyphenate it, it counts as one word. Here is a little backstory. I recently took a Myers-Briggs personality test and the results were simultaneously eye-opening and not at all surprising. As an ENFJ, I take great pride in serving as a leader in the community. I found it quite humorous that ENFJ’s are most likely to work for religious-oriented institutions. It actually said so in the report! I guess I can check that off my list. ENFJ’s are passionate people who like spending time with other people working in harmony and in pursuit of cooperation for the greater good. We focus on helping others achieve their potential and get great satisfaction watching them grow and succeed. My fellow ENFJ’s are Oprah Winfrey, Martin Luther King, Jr., and President Barack Obama. I am humbled to be in any category with this caliber of people. But sometimes, ENFJ’s find it incredibly hard to take time for themselves. In the entire 12 page report that I’ve read and re-read to myself, one sentence rings so true to me – “As giving and caring as the ENFJ is, they need to remember to value their own needs as well as the needs of others.” Can I get an AMEN?! Yes, I do need to value my own needs and dreams which is why “me-time” is such a fitting word for me in 2016. I will carve out the “me-time” even if the guilt that will surely arise kills me. I want time to write in my blog and become an even better writer. I need time to go to the gym, make healthier choices and have the energy to give to others as well as to myself. I wish to take the time to learn new things and hopefully make a few changes in my life that I have been putting off for way too long. So, in this new year, I may say no to coffee every once in a while or I might let go of some things that no longer suit me. Please don’t be mad. It’s not you. It’s me. I just need some quality “me-time” to figure it all out. Happy New Year!
Parenthood is hard. When the kids are young, it takes a physical toll — nursing, carrying them around, and let’s not forget the sleepless nights. I used to hate it when people said “Little kids. Little problems. Big Kids. Big problems.”
With all of the cooking, shopping and planning for the holidays, it is time for me to address the one question which plagues me every November. Am I sending out holiday cards this year? The short answer is I haven’t decided yet. Here is the longer answer: Yes, I want to send out cards because this is one of those holiday traditions that everyone–regardless of religion–partakes in. I love to wish my friends and family holiday greetings–although doing it in person would be so much better! Also, the thought of not reciprocating the dozens of cards that are delivered to my mailbox offers up the yearly dose of holiday guilt that I don’t wish to endure. I don’t want to send out cards this year because I know what is already on my to-do list and it is hard enough to fit in an oil change for the minivan, let alone a huge project such as this one. I’m just being honest here. And I can pretty much guarantee that while my family wants to send out holiday cards–the actual ordering, stuffing, sealing, address finding, labeling, stamping and mailing will be my responsibility. And the cards will sit on my kitchen table taunting me until every last one I ordered is out the door. Do I sound like a Scrooge yet? But wait, there is more… The thought of even selecting the card overwhelms me. As a politically correct, all-inclusive, never wants to hurt anyone’s feelings kind of person, do I order Christmas cards for my Christian friends and separate Hanukkah cards for my Jewish friends? Oy Vey! Do I order a generic “Happy Holidays” card and risk the war on Christmas voice mails and text messages that may result? Or do I play it safe and buy myself a lot more time by sending everyone of all faiths a Happy New Year card? As long as it comes out sometime in January – I’m good, right? And then, I need to pick a picture or two (or three) that represents every member of our immediate family in their happiest and most photogenic state. The thought of going through all of the pictures taken this past year and seeking approval of said family member gives me a headache. Can I get away with a collage of the hundreds of funny-looking selfies Jenna and Andrew took with my iPhone? It probably won’t measure up to the color-coordinated photos in front of the fireplace or on the beach that you will choose for your cards, but I might get points for originality. This is a big decision–one I obviously don’t take lightly. So, I’ll put it this way–you may or may not get a holiday card from my family this year. If you do, please know it was my pleasure to fit holiday cards onto my already bursting at the seams to do list and I send it to you with all the love in my heart. If you don’t get a card from us this year, It isn’t because I don’t love you. Really, I do. I just opted to go to Jiffy Lube instead. Let me just say to you all right now – Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and a happy, healthy & prosperous 2016. Love, the Heismans 🙂
If anyone was looking for girl power in the City of Brotherly Love today, they didn’t have to look much further than joining the 8,000 women at the Convention Center. I was fortunate enough to attend the 12th Annual Pennsylvania Conference for Women and left with a sense of empowerment I have not felt in a long time. Some take-aways from today:
- Start a meeting highlighting the positive instead of jumping into all the problem and sucking the energy right out of the room
- When you try something new, you either succeed or you learn from it
- Read a lot (check), increase your language skills, and know your audience
- It is okay to admit you don’t know how to do something, but make sure you surround yourself with people who know can do it for you
- Develop a daily habit for risk –
- Trust your gut
- Do nothing and cherish the downtime
One of my friends posted these 26 things on Facebook, and I thought it would make a quick and easy blog post! 26 Things About Me A- Age: 44 B- Biggest fear: Not living my best life C- Current time: 9:30 PM D- Drink you last had: Chocolate Milk E- Everyday need: “I Love You’s” from my family and orange tic tacs in my purse F- Favorite song: I Hope You Dance G- Ghosts, are they real?: No H- Hometown: Sewell, NJ I- In love with: Scott J- Jealous of: Brand new kitchens and super-organized closets K- Killed someone? No L- Last time you cried?: Almost cried at work about a week ago, but I grabbed a drink of water instead and pulled myself together. Whew! M- Middle name: Michelle N- Number of siblings: 1 sister. She is awesome! O- One wish: Better gun control laws P- Person whom you last called: My daughter to tell her I was going to be late. Q- Question you’re always asked: It is a tie between “What are we doing today?” and “Did you publicize my event?” R- Reason to smile: Going to spend Thanksgiving with my sister this year. A rare treat! S- Song last sang: I Like to Move It Move it. In the car with Andrew T- Time you woke up: 5:30 am U- Underwear color: Purple 🙂 V- Vacation destination: Next vacation – LA/San Diego in the spring W- Worst habit: Repeating myself in a conversation …repeating myself in a conversation X- X-Rays you’ve had: Wrist (broken), ankle (not broken), chest (for pneumonia) Y- Your favorite food: Boston Kreme donuts on my birthday Z- Zodiac sign: Aquarius
Ever feel like the ringmaster in a 3 ring circus? Managing my career, my family and my house is similar to working as a tightrope walker, a lion tamer, and a juggler. I will take these things in that order. The Tightrope walker – As a working mom, it feels like I’m walking a tightrope. Every day, I start out putting one foot in front of the other and look straight ahead. And whatever I do, I try not to look down. By the way, I’m not walking the tightrope in sensible shoes. No… I’m walking in heels. Some days, I make it across to the other side (ta-da!). Other days, I make one false move and I’m face first in the tangle net. And I have to climb my way back up to the top again. The Lion Tamer – If you have teenagers or tweens or one of each (like me), I don’t need to explain this one to you. Some days the lions purr and love to cuddle with me. Other times, they are ferocious and all I can do is throw them a piece of meat and slowly back away from their roar. The Juggler – I juggle schedules which is so much more dangerous than knives and fire torches – okay maybe not the fire torches – but it feels that way, I used to think my busiest day was Tuesday when my son has school and then 3 activities – Hebrew at 4:30; scouts meeting at 7 pm and soccer practice at 8 pm. Now I know my busiest days are the ones ending in the letter “y”. On the four other days of the week, my son has swim practice, Weekends are crammed with soccer games, Sunday school, and choir practice. And this is all just for one kid! Tack on a few more activities and a social life with my older daughter and I’m throwing balls in the air left and right, doing a fancy spin and catching them all in the right order. By the time I get home at night, I’m throwing clothes in the microwave for dinner and food in the dryer. Wait, scratch that and reverse. See what I mean? I’m also taking a big risk this year. A death-defying sideshow featuring me trying to accomplish some of my own career and personal goals like writing more and losing 20 pounds. Can she do it??? Come January, I expect my momentum to kick into high gear as I have to start planning a bar mitzvah. I figure this will give me more to write about and less time to eat.
My parents taught me a lot of important lessons to remember in life. Be kind to others. Honesty is the best policy. Always wear clean underwear. Make sure there is film in the camera (while not applicable in today’s digital world…it is a funny family story for another time). The one lesson that took me almost 45 years to learn is this – shoes matter. Everyone looks at your shoes. I did not know this. Shoes were never a fashion statement for me until recently.I am probably one of the few women who has more pairs of earrings than shoes in my wardrobe. I just never cared about them. In the past, I would find a pair of shoes that fit and are comfortable and buy them in black and then purchase the same exact style in brown or navy. A practical, no-nonsense approach to shoe shopping without any serious consideration to style. Carrie Bradshaw would be mortified if she read this. Apparently, I was wrong and now I’m making an effort to change my ways. I’m paying attention to the difference between Nine West and Manolos.
Years from now, we are going to look back on Andrew’s 12th birthday and tell the fake cake story. It is one of those parenting moments you don’t forget. In my defense, I had a long day on Saturday after attending a leadership conference in the city. I waited until the last minute to buy the birthday cake and just needed a small one for the four of us to light candles and sing to him. And for the record, the person who sold me the cake is an incredibly sweet girl who I happen to know pretty well. She is a senior in high school who hasn’t worked at the bakery for long. She was working by herself and it was truly an honest mistake. We looked at the cake together and tried to figure out if it was chocolate or vanilla. It wasn’t labeled which should have been my first clue. It was also sitting on top of the refrigerator case which should have been my next clue. Obviously, we were clueless! Neither of us realized it was made of icing and flavorless Styrofoam. I swear to God it looked real and who would think bakeries sold “decorative items.” If it looks like a cake and smells like a cake…I naturally assumed it was a cake. That night, we went out to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and opted for a special birthday slice for Andrew. We decided to save the bakery “cake” until the next day. This decision turned out to be rather fortunate because if we tried to light candles on the Styrofoam cake, I might be telling you a completely different story right now. The next afternoon, the moment of truth arrived. As I was walking into a meeting, my daughter called me on my cell phone. “MOM! You aren’t going to BELIEVE this. THE CAKE IS A FAKE!” Words I will remember until the day I die. How the hell did I manage to buy a fake cake? She softened the blow by reporting that the icing tasted delicious…thwarting any attempts for me to return the fake cake to the bakery. My kids took the whole thing in stride–especially the birthday boy who was cracking up in the background. At that point, I did the only thing I could do–I laughed. I laughed with my children. I laughed at my own stupidity. I laughed at the fact that this cake sat in my refrigerator overnight in a cardboard box so it wouldn’t go bad. And then, I posted it on Facebook. 🙂 I could have gone in a completely different direction. It was definitely a “mom-fail” on my part and I easily could have slipped down the rabbit hole of imperfection. The typical self-loathing, embarrassment and tears of frustration would have surely followed. But I didn’t let myself go that way. I chose to laugh instead, make the best of it and get a new cake. And this time, I sent my husband out to buy it with one specific request. I didn’t care if it was chocolate or vanilla…as long as it was real.
As my kids get older, they are busier. They have lots of homework and now social lives. Football games and outings to Friendly’s have replaced birthday parties. Soccer games, swim practices, and scouts meetings are filling up the calendar. I feel time slipping by and I’m constantly looking for things for us to do together and keep the lines of communication open. Most of the time, these bonding moments are brief and will likely take place in the car when I’m schlepping them to activities. My favorite part of every day is when we share our “roses” and “thorns” of the day. I even get a turn to share with them what I liked and what didn’t go so well. These brief conversations with the kids tell me so much about their lives that I don’t even care if that moment is spent on the road. Recently, a new opportunity has come up for Jenna and I to spend time together although it is not in one of my favorite places -like a coffee shop or the mall. She has been begging me to take her to the gym where we can work out together. I bought her a membership last year when joined the school track team. She wants to do it again and get herself in tip top shape. And although I welcome another opportunity for us to connect, I have to say our gym habits are not entirely in sync (yet). Hopefully, this is something we are both willing to work on. For instance: She likes to run a mile (or two) on the treadmill, AND THEN select the elliptical or the bicycle before she goes downstairs to lift weights. I am used to doing my 30 minutes of cardio and I’m out the door. I am a morning person and I like to get my workouts over with as early as possible. She is a night person who refuses to get out of bed on weekends until absolutely necessary. She loves to work out. I don’t. She has tons of energy. I don’t (especially at night). She is motivated. I’m semi-motivated. Last night, we talked about her science class and the upcoming homecoming dance. I talked about some things I’ve been doing lately at work. And then, I started getting tired. I sat my butt down on a bench, checked my Facebook page and waited while she worked out on the lat pull down machine. I could not have made it more obvious that I was officially done with the workout portion of the evening. 🙂 It was then that I received the wake-up call I needed as to why going to the gym is important to both of us. For me, it isn’t logging in the hour of physical activity….although I know it is very important to do so. It was when Jenna stood up from her machine, looked at me and said the following: “Mom, I know you are tired, but can you just come over and talk to me for a while until I’m done lifting weights?” Of course, I can do that. I want to do that! It is what I’m here for –to talk to you, to hear your stories, to be a part of your life. So, I’ll work on being a night person and try to enjoy the physical benefits of our workouts. I’ll get motivated. I’ll even learn how to work those crazy machines that intimidate me because I want to connect with my daughter. And that is the biggest benefit of all.
Over the last 2 weeks, a terrible cold has taken residence in my body and refuses to leave. I took a rare day off from work last week to do all the right things in order to evict it from my system. I slept most of the day, took medicine, drank huge amounts of Vitamin C and then slept some more. I’m finally at the tail end of this thing although it continues to linger and annoy me. Not only has my cold taken over my physical being, but it has also gone to work on my emotions. As a Type-A personality with lists for my lists, I’m frustrated at the sheer amount of things I need to do and the lack of energy I have to do them. The fact that I managed to be pretty productive despite my illness doesn’t provide much comfort. Here are some of the things weighing on me: I should probably plan a birthday party for my son who turns 12 next month. Although we abandoned the $500 play place parties a long time ago, I still want to do something for nice for him. Maybe that will happen this week. This past weekend also marks a year until his bar mitzvah. The countdown is officially on and we need to pick his service project. We have narrowed it down to a few charities related to his interest in sports. I have a few phone calls to make and then we need to make a decision. Maybe that will happen this week. My daughter needs a dress for her first homecoming dance which takes place at the end of the month. We made an attempt to find something this weekend at the local mall, but we need to expand our search to other places. She also needs shoes. Maybe that will happen this week. I have to start cooking some real dinners because I’m so tired of serving variations of pasta to my family as the main course every night. Two upcoming trips–one for business and one for pleasure–need my attention. I have rooms to book and tickets to by and reservations to secure.