June 27, 2017

When your co-worker takes vacation

In case you're keeping score, yes your co-worker just took two-weeks off and you're left to do his/her work. So what are you going to do about it?

You can easily become the person who stays late every night carrying a double workload. You can just as easily become the person who does only what's reasonable for your boss or clients to expect when you're a man down. 

Let's say you're the worker who wants to look like a team player and pick up the slack for your vacationing colleague. My advice is to proceed with caution. That's a dangerous road you're about to embark on. You want your clients to be understanding, your boss to think highly of you, your co-worker to cover for you when it's your turn to vacation. But, you don't want to be the go-to person who covers for everyone who takes a vacation. You certainly don't want to be the person who walks around the office resentful, snapping at anyone who dares to ask you a question because you're overwhelmed and overworked.

You may need to assess exactly what's expected. Is it just filling in for the person at a few meetings or handling all of their client calls. Is it short term, or could taking on someone else's responsibility for a few weeks lead to taking it on permanently. Yes, you definitely want to proceed with caution and have a conversation with your manager if necessary. Can that project wait for your co-worker to get back? Can you  

Now, there can be a positive for you. Summer can be a great time to put some energy in the work side of work life balance. Covering for a co-worker on vacation can help you get ahead by proving yourself.  Summer can also be ideal for pondering your desired future and trying out a role that interests you.

Most important, regardless of whether others take time off, don't be afraid to take your own vacation days. Even if you're the new guy or  have lots on your plate, you need time off to re-energize and the slower summer tend to be the perfect for it. Even if you don't go anywhere, or can't afford to travel, taking time off helps keep you positive.

According to Project Time Off, employees who take most or all of their vacation time each year perform better, are more productive and more satisfied in their jobs.

If you are the vacationing co-worker, think about how you can make life easier on others while you're gone. You might leave specific instructions about what you consider top priority and what can wait for your return. Taking vacation knowing you've done everything possible to help out co-workers left behind benefits everyone. Hopefully, your coworkers will show the same courtesy to you.

It's normal to worry what covering for a vacationing co-worker will do to your workload. Ask for notes, figure out what's reasonable and have a conversation with your manager ahead of time. With lots of people gearing up to take summer vacation, you don't want to be the sucker in the office stuck there until midnight.

 

June 13, 2017

Miami Lawyer Talks Work Life Balance and Pursuing Personal Passions

"If only I had time."

Often, people will talk to me about their passion or a hobby they want to pursue. They follow it by saying, "If I only had time." As I get older, I realize that we never FIND time for what we enjoy doing, we MAKE time.

Today, my guest blogger is Michael Reppas, a UM law school grad, practicing trial lawyer with Reppas Law , published author of 10 articles and book, antiquities expert on the theft of the Parthenon Scriptures, and a recording artist musician who just released an album, “Reppas” which can be heard on Spotify here. He is thoroughly involved in his Greek community in South Florida especially his church community. He also has published a book sold on Amazon and formed a music company with its own website, www.reppas.org. He does all of these things while practicing law.  

He clearly is someone who MAKES time for what he enjoys. 

I feel fortunate to have Michael Reppas share his insight for how he balances his job and his passions in life.

 

 

By Michael Reppas

RetouchedfinalcoverCROPED

 

Passion is not, necessarily, a blind and all consuming fervor that takes you over like a lunatic. It can be a motivating feeling that is slow and controlled and which leads you on a steady path forward. Never letting you forget what drives and compels you. Always there in the back of your mind. Always there while you are working every day from 8 to 6, or cutting grass on Saturday morning, or taking your kids to practice.  For me, I hear music in the written word and I am driven to tell my stories. I tell them through history lectures, through legal arguments, through historical fiction ---  and through lyrics and music. 

The question I invariably hear from my friends, colleagues, legal clients and (occasional) fans who read or listen to one of my works of music is this: “How do you find the time to do it?” My honest reply is the same: I don’t know, I just do it. And that answer is the absolute truth.

I am compelled to tell my stories. That is what fuels me and gives me balance. My chosen career as a trial lawyer is patently stressful. My home life is incredibly busy. There is very little “me” time, but I carve it out somehow. Every day I work on edits to my book or lyrics. I sing in the car (yes, I am the guy next to you playing air drums and singing his heart out).  I schedule a session with my producer at the studio once a month to get another song out.  Slowly and methodically I push forward to tell my stories. I never stop and I approach every day with the belief that, one way or another, I am going to make progress on my project du jour, and I do my very best to reach that goal every day. 

I have come to accept that, for now, I will simply not have a full and uninterrupted day to work on one of my passion projects and probably won’t until I retire. That being said, I am not willing or able to wait for a tomorrow that may never come, so I push myself every day. I let my soul breathe a little every day through writing and music.  It is how I meditate.  How I find balance.  It is how I survive in my busy and stressful life.  Without the creative element of storytelling in my life, I would not be whole. Without it, I would not be me.

Miami Lawyer Talks Work Life Balance and Pursuing Personal Passions

"If only I had time."

Often, people will talk to me about their passion or a hobby they want to pursue. They follow it by saying, "If I only had time." As I get older, I realize that we never FIND time for what we enjoy doing, we MAKE time.

Today, my guest blogger is Michael Reppas, a UM law school grad, practicing trial lawyer with Reppas Law , published author of 10 articles and book, antiquities expert on the theft of the Parthenon Scriptures, and a recording artist musician who just released an album, “Reppas” which can be heard on Spotify here. He is thoroughly involved in his Greek community in South Florida especially his church community. He also has published a book sold on Amazon and formed a music company with its own website, www.reppas.org. He does all of these things while practicing law.  

He clearly is someone who MAKES time for what he enjoys. 

I feel fortunate to have Michael Reppas share his insight for how he balances his job and his passions in life.

 

 

By Michael Reppas

RetouchedfinalcoverCROPED

 

Passion is not, necessarily, a blind and all consuming fervor that takes you over like a lunatic. It can be a motivating feeling that is slow and controlled and which leads you on a steady path forward. Never letting you forget what drives and compels you. Always there in the back of your mind. Always there while you are working every day from 8 to 6, or cutting grass on Saturday morning, or taking your kids to practice.  For me, I hear music in the written word and I am driven to tell my stories. I tell them through history lectures, through legal arguments, through historical fiction ---  and through lyrics and music. 

The question I invariably hear from my friends, colleagues, legal clients and (occasional) fans who read or listen to one of my works of music is this: “How do you find the time to do it?” My honest reply is the same: I don’t know, I just do it. And that answer is the absolute truth.

I am compelled to tell my stories. That is what fuels me and gives me balance. My chosen career as a trial lawyer is patently stressful. My home life is incredibly busy. There is very little “me” time, but I carve it out somehow. Every day I work on edits to my book or lyrics. I sing in the car (yes, I am the guy next to you playing air drums and singing his heart out).  I schedule a session with my producer at the studio once a month to get another song out.  Slowly and methodically I push forward to tell my stories. I never stop and I approach every day with the belief that, one way or another, I am going to make progress on my project du jour, and I do my very best to reach that goal every day. 

I have come to accept that, for now, I will simply not have a full and uninterrupted day to work on one of my passion projects and probably won’t until I retire. That being said, I am not willing or able to wait for a tomorrow that may never come, so I push myself every day. I let my soul breathe a little every day through writing and music.  It is how I meditate.  How I find balance.  It is how I survive in my busy and stressful life.  Without the creative element of storytelling in my life, I would not be whole. Without it, I would not be me.

June 09, 2017

The Latina Mother and Risk Taker Who is Disrupting the Entertainment Industry

I love to read about women who took risks in business. Bold risks. Risks that involved a work life sacrifice but eventually paid off. I figure you like to read those stories, too. Today, I am featuring Ana Benitez, President & Co-Founder of Storyrocket, a Miami company with a genius concept. Ana is a Cuban American mother of two who believes in dreaming big. She is disrupting the entertainment industry with her startup, an online marketplace that it allows writers to showcase their work to an audience of content-hungry producers. 

 

Meet Ana Benitez....

Ana

What is your Background?

I was born in Cuba and came to Miami as a two-year-old toddler.  We were not your typical Cuban family, I don’t remember much politics being discussed. At home it was all about education, it was ingrained that we would go to college and pursue a higher education. I don’t think we were ever given a choice. My father always said, “They can take away all you have (which Castro did, when he left Cuba) or lose a job, but no one will ever be able to take away your education.” My parents always reminded us that we could achieve anything we wanted with our hard work and determination. We were always encouraged to dream big and then road map it… in other words take steps every day to get there.

 

What is it like to be a Latina in the entertainment business?

It takes courage. But growing up in a family of immigrants you saw courage in action every day and it became part of my DNA. I think courage is vital to being an entrepreneur, whether or not you are a Latina. There are a million great ideas, but you have to have the courage to take action. I was taught that nothing is given to you for free. It is your responsibility to make it happen and live with no regrets. 

 

Your new company is Storyrocket...what is it?

Storyrocket is an online marketplace that connects great written works with the global production community that has a goal of producing for film, TV, theater or web. In the entertainment industry everything starts with a book or script.  So content is king, but content is all over the place. There is no one place that amalgamates and organizes content easily so that great written work is discovered, opted and produced.

How does it work?

Storyrocket is an open online marketplace with a free membership model where both writers and producers can enter their first project free of charge. Subsequent projects are fee-based ,with very accessible plans starting at $9.99 a month for up to 10 projects. Our site also has a social media component to it that allows you to promote your script outside of Storyrocket to as many people as possible. Storyrocket has the ability to create groups, that allow people to form collaboratives, which can add momentum to a project and also help to crowd source since some ideas will become indie projects that will need funding. It’s really the go-to place for both writers and producers.

How did the idea to launch Storyrocket come about?

It began three years ago with the realization by my partner, Ron Karasz that although he’s a great writer he has never been able to get his writing optioned because of the way “show business” works. It’s all about who you know and if you can attach a big name to your project. Getting representation by a reputable agent is like playing the chicken and the egg. Agents won’t represent you unless you have something already produced and the industry won’t look at your screenwriting without representation. Like Ron, we estimate there are hundreds of thousands of writers globally that are desperate to get their writings into the rights hands, but have nowhere to go.

On the flip side, I’m a two time Emmy-winning producer. In my field, we always say that there are not enough great written works out there. Big production companies spend thousands of hours vetting scripts sent to them by agents and many other sources. Nowadays, not only the traditional networks and studios are in competition for great content, but also companies like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon etc. who are producing great original movies, shows and series. This trend will continue to grow, again creating the need for more and more content.

How Is Storyrocket a game changer?

Storyrocket's robust search engine is a game changer. As a writer, you can get your work into the hands of content hungry producers. As a producer whether you're searching for a book, script or treatment, you can easily filter by genre, gender, location, era, etc. and can communicate directly with the content owner, or agent.  Production companies who used to spend a considerable amount of time and money vetting scripts from a multitude of sources, now have a one stop solution with Storyrocket.

What challenges are ahead?

Our goal is to have the largest collection of content in the world for the entertainment industry that is easily searchable from anywhere, 24/7.  We understand that great content transcends borders and is adaptable to multiple markets. This has prodded Storyrocket to begin the expansion of the site to multiple languages.  Having launched in English, it plans to be available in Spanish by the fall of 2017.  This will open the possibilities to huge production markets in Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and Spain, among many others.  The long-term goal is to have the site available "in-language" for the top 15 film and TV producing countries of the world.

Will you self-finance your expansion in Phase II, or be looking for funding?

We will definitely be looking for investment funding  our next phase.  Recently eMerge Americas, the technology conference of the Americas where many tech trends are launched, invited Storyrocket to be one of its select Startup Showcase companies on June 12 & 13 in Miami

What tips would you give to other entrepreneurs?

Having self-financed this startup, I can tell you it hasn’t been easy, but it sure has been an exciting ride. No two days are the same. Each comes with its own priorities and there is no road map. It’s up to you to steer the company in the right direction. Start-ups are not for the faint of heart. It takes guts and determination to see it through from idea to reality. On the personal side, lots of meditation, envisioning the end-result, keeping a never-give-up attitude and a positive outlook no matter what.

As a mother of two, how have you been able to balance family and launching a company?

It took a lot of hard work and many years of willing to do more than was expected of me to get ahead. It was when I was at the top of my career creating the highest rating specials as senior producer of special events for Univision Network that I had to take a hard look at my life. During this time, I gave birth to my two sons. The intense work schedule and travelling commitments left little time for family, and even less time for me. I had a serious lack of balance in my life and for the first time I felt I was losing the joy. This is when I knew, I had to reinvent myself in order to have more flexibility and be able to be happy in all areas of my life. This took deep thinking and great courage.

Was it scary to leave a job you loved?

I left the network at the top of my career…with multiple nominations and 2 Emmy Awards, an executive position with high visibility, great pay and benefits and opened a marketing and entertainment agency Benitez Karasz, with my husband and partner, Ron Karasz. I re-invented myself and I have zero regrets. Benitez Karasz not only has provided me the with the flexibility I was looking for but it also expanded my expertise in the areas of talent management, marketing and events. We worked with Fortune 500 companies leveraging talent for marketing campaigns. After many years of success at Benitez Karasz it was time to start our new challenge. Today the same partnership has decided to disrupt the entertainment Industry with a win-win formula that helps both writers and producers, Storyrocket.

 

How are you different now that you've run your own business? Did it influence your willingness to take risk?

I’m much wiser, stronger and my tool box is much bigger. I’ve learned I can do it all with the right attitude, being organized, prioritizing, planning ahead, and focusing on the things that I do want.  I’m able to spend quality time with my family, travel, volunteer at my church, take care of my health, support emerging filmmakers and launch a startup. And, yes I’m very happy!”

Computer

 

 

 

May 10, 2017

Why you need to work for a boss who exercises

Corp wellness

I have always been envious of people who work for companies with onsite gyms. However, I was most impressed when the facility director told me most managers at the hospital encourage their employees to exercise during their workdays. In fact, the managers are evaluated on how actively they promote wellness in their departments, she told me. How great would that be to have a boss who is cool with a little longer lunch if it means coming back with a clear focus?

My husband spends his lunch hour at the gym near his office. Because he is a manager, his example has encouraged others at his company to exercise at lunch time, too. Like most other office dynamics, even fitness starts at the top. For all of the time and money businesses spent on corporate wellness, it seems pretty straightforward that the biggest enticement is a manager who believes in fitness and leads his team by example.

Boss

Most of us know that exercise is important for our physical and mental health. The challenge is finding the time for it when we are struggle with work life balance. When I'm stressed and overwhelmed, exercise is the first thing to go. But if I had a role model at work, someone who took fitness breaks even during the most stressful times and encouraged me to do so, I think it would change my mindset.

So am I saying that it's my boss' job to motivate me to exercise? No, that's not exactly what I'm saying. Instead, I'm saying that those people in a position to lead by example or influence others to embrace fitness, should make a conscious effort to do so -- the payoff will be huge in terms of productivity. 

Look around your office around 4 p.m. Who is hitting the snack machine or grabbing another cup of coffee and who seems to have the stamina to make it through the afternoon? I bet the person who worked out at lunchtime is the one with stamina. I bet the boss who worked out is a lot more patient with his team. I bet the overweight boss who hasn't exercised in a year is not the one who employees will go the extra mile to please.

Researchers have found that people who exercised regularly were more confident they could handle tough tasks. They felt better prepared for the challenges of the interaction of their work and home life and were less likely to be stressed at work. As researchers put it, "an hour of exercise creates a feeling that lasts well beyond that hour spent at the gym." 

We definitely are seeing more of an emphasis from employers on wellness in the workplace. Now, if we can get more managers to offer some flexibility around exercise routines and be supportive of wellness efforts, I think more of us would embrace a workout when we feel stressed. In the end, everyone benefits. With that conclusion, I'm heading to the gym!

April 17, 2017

How to Avoid Judging other Working Mothers?

                                                         Momsss

Yesterday I was at the gym when I overheard a conversation between two mothers. One was telling the other that she had just seen her friend Susie was surprised to see her exercising. She whispered loudly to the other: "She's always working. She never sees her kids."

I listened in disbelief. I wanted to shout, "Really? She never sees her kids?" Even moms who work ungodly hours see their kids sometimes.

Maybe the woman does work a lot. Maybe she doesn't see her children as often as a non working mother. But when someone works a lot, exercising is the outlet he or she often needs to be more patient with their kids when they do spend time with them. 

If a father was at the gym exercising, would other dads whisper to each other, "What's he doing here? He never sees his kids."

I don't think so.

C'mon ladies we need to stop judging other mothers. In 2015—the year for which the most recent data are available—42 percent of mothers were sole or primary breadwinners, bringing in at least half of family earnings, according to the Center for American Progress. The reality is the majority of mothers contribute significantly to their families’ bottom lines. Along with making dough comes responsibility and long hours, which means more moms must sacrifice time with their families.

It is a testament to the hard work and tenacity of women that they have reached the level they occupy today. The flip side is that while working mothers are traveling for work, attending meetings and landing promotions, more fathers, grandparents and babysitters are picking up the childcare responsibilities and we need to be okay with that without passing judgment.

Yes, some mothers prefer to be at work than be home with their children. Some fathers do, too. It doesn't mean these parents don't love their children. Neglect is a different thing altogether, and I don't condone it. But parents who gain fulfillment from working yet still want to be a good parent deserve more from us than judgment. 

Let's encourage working mothers to practice self care. 

Let's support mothers who put in long hours.

Let's let other people choose how they prioritize without judging them.

Let's help other working mothers when we see opportunities.

Next time you're at at the gym and see a stressed working mother who is decompressing, cheer her on. Not only will she benefit, her children will, too. In the end, we all prosper when a working mother succeeds.

March 01, 2017

Getting Ready to Become a Working Mother

It was 21 years ago when I waddled into the newsroom wondering how much longer I could hold on at work until my daughter was born. I desperately wanted to work until the last possible minute, particularly because I had no idea what my life as a working mother was going to be like. Getting ready to become a working mother is tricky. As they say, no one can fully prepare you for what's ahead. By the second week of March I had given birth and the work life balancing act had begun.

Today, my guest blogger shares her experience and perspective as she prepares to become a new mother while continuing to practice law.  Let me introduce you to Laura E. Eggnatz, an associate with Shapiro, Blasi, Wasserman & Hermann, one of the largest independent full-service litigation and transactional law firms in South Florida. Laura focuses her practice on products liability and mass and toxic torts defense litigation. Connect with Laura at leggnatz@sbwh.law. Feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with her on life as a new mom.

 

 

Laura E. Eggnatz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been an attorney for almost eight years, and now, as I set out to embark on my career as a first-time mother, I am finding that while pregnancy is without a doubt an amazing and brilliant experience, it is also one of the most stressful. As my due date rapidly approaches and my legal career will be put on hold for a few months, one of the biggest stressors is preparing for maternity leave and figuring out how I will balance the most important aspects of my life—a new baby, my role as a new mother, and a legal career—while still out on leave. I am planning to use the preparation skills I have learned, enhanced and utilized as an attorney to juggle this difficult balance. I offer some suggestions to those in a similar position as me:

1. Prepare an exit plan: I am protective of the work I do, and tend to shy away from relying on others. Yet I recognize I will have no choice when I am out of the office for three months. To combat this struggle, I am creating a spreadsheet of all ongoing matters I expect will require coverage and attention while I am out. I also have had conversations with my supervisors and staff about handling my day-to-day responsibilities. Delegation and learning to “let-go” is key. Having some coverage system in place will ensure an easy transition before, during and after my maternity leave.

2. Prepare to stay informed: Most people would encourage a new mother to completely disconnect from work while on maternity leave. That is not something I can do. Although I do not anticipate performing any substantive work, I plan to review my e-mails and stay in touch with my colleagues on a basis that is appropriate and convenient for me. I feel more comfortable with having some contact during leave, rather than being completely out of touch. Even limited communication will be beneficial to a smooth transition back to work.

3. Prepare a return plan: I anticipate experiencing mixed feelings about returning to work when the end of my maternity leave approaches. Here lies the majority of the work-life balance struggle: How can I leave my newborn?  How will I be able to handle a newborn and a career?  How can I be a good mom and a good attorney at the same time? The answers to these questions are unknown to me right now, and may very likely go unanswered. But a flexible plan in returning to work may make all the difference. Before my leave, I will discuss my timeline with my supervisors for returning to work and be upfront about what my work limitations may be once I return, i.e., less travel, doctor’s appointments, working from home when baby is sick. Staying connected and informed throughout my leave is a key aspect of my return plan. For me, this will lessen the overwhelming feeling of getting up to speed after being away and understanding the workload I will have to balance once I return.

4. Prepare for the unexpected: I may sound like I have everything under control—I certainly do not. Part of my preparation for maternity leave is preparing for the unexpected. I am confident that as long as I am prepared and do what I feel comfortable with, the stress in balancing a family and a career during maternity leave will be manageable.

 

 

 

 

February 27, 2017

Savannah Guthrie is back: What it's really like to return from maternity leave

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(Nathan Congleton / TODAY)

 

There was a lot of hoopla this morning

on The Today Show about the early return of co-anchor Savannah Guthrie. I happened to be on the Today Show Plaza the morning that Savannah gave birth and the anchors announced the name of her baby, Charley. Everyone was excited for her, including me. For the last few months, all kinds of people have pitched in to fill her spot. Savannah is one of the fortunate women in the United States, who like me, was able to take time off after giving birth to bond with her newborn. She was supposed to return March 3, but because it was such as busy week for the show, and because Hoda Kotb is out bonding with her newly adopted baby and Tamron Hall quit abruptly, Savannah returned early.

As a mother, who made that return to work three times, I know exactly what Savannah is experiencing. Because she loves her job, Savannah understood that duty calls and she was needed at work. In many ways, she was excited to be back. The first day is always exciting. Yet, as a mom, it's also emotionally challenging. 

Ahead of her appearance, Guthrie shared an adorable note to her two children, admitting that she was already missing them.

“Missing my babies already. But excited to see everybody this morning on ,” she wrote on Twitter alongside a note that read “Dear Vale and Charley, I will see you home for lunch. Love, Mommy.”

 

Of course, that's the first day back. Then, comes the second and inevitably, it's much harder. The excitement of being greeted back by colleagues has worn off and the reality sets in. And then, the balancing act hits hard. As one new mom told me who is back at her job in a digital marketing firm "I'm on #teamnosleep." 

The most challenging part of returning from maternity leave is the battle against perception. As a new mom, you're exhausted. But you don't want to seem exhausted at work. As a new mom, you don't want the most challenging assignments. But you also want to be perceived as capable and at least considered for them. As a new mom, you enjoy talking to adults again. But you carry around guilt that you are missing out on what your newborn is doing, and you don't want to freely admit it in the workplace.

Whether it's your first time or your fourth, returning from maternity leave will bring on all kinds of emotions and angst. Someone will ask you how the baby is and you will find yourself torn between whipping out your phone and showing him the latest photo, and answering with a quick "great" to avoid thinking about your baby and weeping.

So welcome back Savannah. I know behind your TV smile, some mornings you will be downright sleep deprived and maybe even a bit disheveled. I will cheer you on, and I believe other working moms will too. After all, we've all been there and we've survived -- because that's what working moms do!

 

February 21, 2017

Don't let it end with Valentine's Day! How to fit romance into your work life balance

 

 

Romance

 

As we look back at Valentine's Day through our rearview mirror,  I feel a little glum. The roses are now on sale. The chocolate filled hearts are half price. And the tips on how to add romance into my life are no longer flowing into my inbox.

Yet, I want romance all year long. That’s not an easy task when most American workers find their work and home lives are blending together and work life balance is harder than ever to achieve.  Even after putting in a full day of work, the typical chaos is underway at my home. I am scrambling to come up with an easy dinner, my husband’s cell phone is buzzing with work emergencies and our son needs to be shuttled to and from school for his team practices every night.

That doesn’t exactly set the tone for romance.

I look to Kathryn Sansone for inspiration. Kathryn, a mother of 10, wrote a book called Woman First, Family Always: Real-life Wisdom from a Mother of Ten.

Years ago, I met Kathryn in person and she told me: ``Jim and I always carve out time for just the two of us. It's not always easy, but we don't waste time trying to figure out if we deserve it.''  Kathryn told me she and her husband make coffee breaks their ''alone time.'' At least once a week, after the younger kids go to bed, they slip out for coffee and give each other their undivided attention.

Late night coffee breaks? That actually sounds kinds of romantic.

If Kathryn can make alone time with ten kids in her home, I can too. And, so can you.

Recently, my husband and I went to a Friday night happy hour. We hadn’t been to happy hour in a long time. We drank fruity cocktails, and laughed about all the silly things that happened that week. Spending time together in a fun setting without interruptions felt so wonderful.

Lately, my husband and I have been taking walks together after dinner for about 10 to 15 minutes. We leave our phones at home. Those 10 minutes have become my favorite time of the day. 

Years ago, a love coach told me that everyone should make five to 10 minutes a day to give their spouse or significant other their undivided attention. That doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but most of us don’t do it.

Making time for intimacy requires turning off the TV or putting down your iPad, facing your partner and saying, "What would you like to talk about?" or “Tell me something good about your day.” Giving your partner your 100 percent attention will make him or her feel loved and important to you. That usually is how romance starts -- and how it lasts.

February 16, 2017

Surviving That Terrible Working Mother Moment

                                                       

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Talking work life balance with Samantha Ettus


One day at work, I was getting ready to leave for an author's lunch at my daughter's elementary school. As I gathered my things, my phone rang. It was a businessman who I had been trying to reach for days to interview for an article. He was headed out of town and willing to give me a few minutes of phone time before he boarded his flight. I sat back down and furiously took notes on my computer. By the time I finished the interview and arrived at my daughter’s classroom, she look as if she wa holding back tears. She already had read her story to the class.

I felt like crud. The guilt overwhelmed me and lasted for days. I even considered quitting my job.

Now, 15 years later, my daughter has no memory of that day. Instead, she remembers the many times I was at her elementary class parties, awards ceremonies and field days.

Still, it was so relieving to hear from author Samantha Ettus that many other working mothers also experience that "terrible working mother moment."  Last week, Samantha Ettus spoke about her new book, The Pie Life:A Guilt-Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction, at the Broward County Library Literary Lunch. In writing her book, Samantha encountered many working mothers who experience that moment when they miss an event in their child's life or forget to pack their child something he or she needs for school and the mom melts down, consumed by guilt. As Samantha pointed out, the crazy part is that years later, the children don't even remember the incident that caused all the guilt and feelings of inadequacy.

Samantha_mockupbook-1In her book, Samantha guides readers to become aware of how much time they dedicate to each slice of their home and work lives and offers a key piece of advice: "If you choose to open up the well of guilt, you'll find that it is bottomless. Guilt is dangerous; it eats up our time and drives poor decisions."

Yes, guilt drives poor decisions. It drives heat of the moment decisions, and those actions often create problems for us in the long run.

Ettus speaks from experience as  a mother of three. She has learned what I have discovered from balancing work, family, friends and heath and hobbies -- to survive with your sanity, you must drop the quest for perfection because it's an impossible goal. 

So then, how do working mothers survive those moments when they feel like a "bad mother" or "bad employee" or when they see another woman soaring and wonder how she has such a put-together life?

Here are five survival tactics:

*Know that everyone has messy moments. "Empathize with yourself until the messy moment passes, at which point you will have the perspective to reflect on it rationally," Samantha says. 

*Make life decisions rationally. Base decisions on goals, values, desires rather than reactions or emotions. 

*Define your non negotiables. (No work on Sundays, Friday night dinners are untouchable, etc.) Once you know them, you can set boundaries to protect them, Samantha says.  

*Never apologize for working. "You are a role model to your kids. Why would you apologize for that," Samantha says.

*Talk to another working mother. No one understands the struggle to do it all like another working mother. When your are at a low, feeling the support of a friend who gets it can bring you back up. "Having a healthy slice of friends is essential for your health and happiness," Samantha says.  

When working mothers have messy moments, we want to tell our children to remember a wonderful moment instead (Remember this, not that). But what many mothers don't realize is that we don't need to give those instructions. When we do our best to show our children love, holding on to those wonderful memories just happens. Now, that's some incentive to lose the guilt and live The Pie Life.