#whyamiyelling

Pay Back Is Not A Reasonable Expectation

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This is my latest piece from the HuffPost - I thought it would be good to share being that we are in full holiday season swing! Remember to set expectations accordingly!! Happy Thanksgiving!! Someone once told me reciprocity was the most important element in a relationship. That someone was wrong. Reciprocity? Really? As a mother, and as someone who works everyday to help others enhance their relationships, I can unequivocally say that reciprocity is one of the least important elements in a relationship.

I love my children more than anything on this planet, the joy they bring to my life is impossible to explain. I work hard to give them the life I want them to have. Education, activities, and social engagements are only the tip of the iceberg when raising our children today. Having an expectation that they are going to “pay us back” for it is ridiculous and unrealistic.

I give to my children with the expectation that they are going to be grateful, kind and upstanding human beings. I have zero expectation for anything else.I will not keep a list of things I’ve purchased for them over the course of their lives, I will not hold that over their heads when they are adults. Instead, I will love, encourage and support them.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a relationship, a business transaction, hell, it could be a dinner party -- you will be setting yourself up for disappointment if you have any expectation of the outcome. I know a few people who expect “pay back” for their generosity and when they don’t get it, they hold a grudge. One thing I say frequently is to have zero expectation with whatever you’re about to do -- this way there’s a good possibility you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the experience.

Reciprocity is a funny thing. It comes up often in my conversations -- one person is not getting what they need or want from the other, yet when I question why, often the answer is associated with communication, or lack thereof. Ladies and gentlemen, if you don’t have the single most important element of ANY relationship in place, it doesn’t matter where reciprocity falls.

Communication my friends, that’s where it’s at.

I will preach about it until I’m blue in the face. Talk to your people, people! How is your partner (or child) supposed to know how you’re feeling if you’re not expressing it? None of us are mind readers!

What’s worse is that in some cases, the lack of communication lasts for years, causing anxiety and strife, until it ends up exploding! Meanwhile, the entire situation could’ve been avoided if communication had prevailed.

If you operate with the idea that you’re owed something every time you give you’ll end up hurt. Every. Single. Time. Change your mindset. Give because you want to, not because you have to. Give because it feels good to make others smile. Give because you want to enhance someone else’s life experience. Give because it’s the right thing to do.

The world opens up much wider when you have a generous heart. You won’t be worried about getting paid back because you’ll be fulfilled by the responses you receive.

 

It's Almost Over - But Not Really.

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I've been crying for days you guys. For a lot of reasons, but mostly because the last 18 months have been long, and it's finally coming to an end - for today. Tomorrow is another day - will anything really be changed? Here's the thing - the only way change is going to happen is if we start stepping up and participating in it. Sitting back and complaining and yelling at someone who has a different view than you do is not productive. There has to be a way to communicate and work together. We teach our children how to do this every day, why can't we do it as adults? Money? Power? Greed? yep and more...

What saddens me is that once the election is over we'll go back to living our daily lives and in the back ground all the same stuff is going to continue to move along the way we truly don't want it to. I don't have the answer on how to fix it, all I know is we have to figure out how to do it. Speak out, go to community meetings, talk to your local reps, voice your opinions and ideas.

We are too smart and too technologically advanced to be antiquated in our communication process. I know we need things like term limits. Fresh blood, new faces and ideas. People willing to work together to get things done. We need education reform, economic initiatives, environmental progress. Most of all we need to be kind to one another. It's ridiculous to me that in today's world we still have racism and bigotry and sheer lack of respect for human life. It makes me so sad. It's hard enough to teach our children to be kind and compassionate, it doesn't help that there are people out there who actually believe their life matters more than everyone else's.

My kids are being raised to be hard working, respectful, good men. Having to censor the outside world would be impossible.

We are at a time in our history where women are defying odds and shattering ceilings. We should be celebrating that! I'm celebrating that! I'm proud to have the opportunity to vote for a woman - who is extremely qualified to lead this already great America. I voted with my son this morning, he helped me color in the bubble. While we were voting we talked about what it means to have a woman hold this office. We talked about the things we believe in that are the most important to us. We talked about why we made the decision we made.

It basically came down to decency. Yes, the economy and environment are super important and honestly should be at the top of the topic list. We shouldn't even be having discussions about marriage equality - who cares who anyone else loves and why is it our business? We shouldn't be talking about "locker room talk" - because degrading women shouldn't be a thing, but it is. Trust me, I've had my share of inappropriate comments come my way - no one should have to deal with that crap. We shouldn't be talking about what a woman can do with her body - IT'S HER BODY - not yours, not mine, not anyone's but hers. But when these things come into play, you bet I'm going to support them because I know them. I love them and I do not hold judgement against them for any of their choices.

We are all at fault for the state of our nation. Every single adult in this country is to blame.. How we choose to move forward will be the difference. What will you do to make it better for you and your children? You guys, it's time to stop pointing fingers at other people and start pointing it right back at ourselves. Take responsibility for your legacy and start making a difference.

Oh, and vote.

Featured Guest

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Featured guest are words I love to see (about me)! I had the pleasure of being a guest on the Oh Shift! Podcast this week and I'm so excited to share it with you guys! In it I'm talking to Mark Tucker, founder of Oh Shift! For Teens, and we're discussing the importance of communication. You know I'm a big proponent of communication in all areas of my life so this topic was something I could really dig into and share my thoughts on. I hope you enjoy!! And follow Mark and his awesome wife Jennifer Powers because they rock and they have a lot of great stuff to share!! http://www.ohshift.com/podcast/

Thanks Mark for having me on your show!!

xo

 

How Do We Raise Kind, Compassionate Boys In A Donald Trump World?

I don’t know about you, but as a mom trying to raise two young boys, I’m pretty appalled by the news headlines lately. My oldest son, who is turning 11 in a few weeks has been interested in the Presidential race for a while now. It’s not unusual for him to ask questions about the candidates or the issues they’re stumping about (he was partial to Bernie). Imagine our delight as parents when his teacher told us that our son was starting discussions in school about politics and policy, creating thought provoking debates among his classmates. So proud!

Now imagine our dismay when the latest headlines hit the news cycles, and he started asking about it. “Mom, Dad, what does it all mean?” Abuse, rape, groping, locker room talk..things we had no intention of discussing with him (yet). Sure, we’ve had conversation about what’s appropriate and what’s not when it comes to iPad usage and YouTube videos, but we haven’t delved into the area of what’s unacceptable when you’re speaking about and interacting with girls in a sexual way. Why? BECAUSE HE’S A KID. We shouldn’t have to (yet)!

Where’s my closet? I just want to go live in it with my babies.

How do you talk to your kid about what’s being said in the news? My husband and I discussed how we would approach this topic with him (his little brother is 4, and is happily entertained by The Floogals, thank goodness), and we decided the best approach is to be honest and direct.

We decided to focus on the good stuff (digging deep here folks!) and remind him that, in fact, most men are not like Trump at all.

First thing’s first, every day as we are on our way to school, I tell my children of a few things: be kind, respectful, happy, and make good choices. We live by these words along with the golden rule: do unto others as you would have done unto you. So you can imagine the frustration we had when approaching this topic - with kid gloves.

We explained to him that women are not objects and the mere idea that this is even an idea is wrong. Women are strong and powerful. They are to be respected and treated as such.

We talked about how hard it has been for women to be seen as equals in our society. Something he’s extremely unfamiliar with, because he sees his own mother working hard to build a business and his father be nothing but supportive of her. He watches his parents compliment and appreciate one another. He lives by the idea that we are all to be treated the same way regardless of gender, color, race, etc. Be respectful.

We discussed the idea of “locker room talk” and we made it clear that talking about a girl (or anyone, for that matter) in a context that is inappropriate is unacceptable, under any circumstances. That touching another person against their will, boy or girl, is wrong. We explained consent. And oh by the way, we told him that blaming it on “locker room talk” is BS.

Men that are honorable, honest and kind hearted do not speak about other human beings the way Trump spoke about those women. Be kind.

We talked about being in the same place as the person who’s saying or doing things they shouldn’t be. About implication. He was cautioned that if he’s ever in a situation where he sees or hears something that’s inappropriate, he has an obligation to speak up. Just because you’re not the one doing the crime, so to speak, does not make you innocent. Make good choices.

We reminded him that each day is a new opportunity to do your best and make the most of it. It’s all a choice. How you act, treat others and treat yourself. Every day is a gift, use it to your advantage. Explore your world, learn new things, make friends. Be happy. In the end, our conversation went off without a hitch. Kids are smart. They want to be informed and acknowledged. It makes having these kinds of discussions easier. Open door policy in our house - ask anything - no judgement, we will always answer. My son is now educated on topics I thought we would have a little more time to keep in the vault. Being prepared and honest is the best way to go

Do NOT Touch.

You guys, so here's the deal with this one. I have about zero interest in getting political, but as a woman and a mother raising boys I have an obligation and a voice in my head screaming at me to say something about our rape culture. Often times that voice is my voice of reason and it gets me through a lot, so I feel like it's necessary to join the other millions of women and men voicing their stance on this issue because you know what - IT IS AN ISSUE - plain and simple. The only way we're going to stop it is if we talk about it.  Now, I know all men are not like Donald Trump or Bill Cosby (because you know this is going to get there right?) - in fact when I was talking to my husband about it, he was mortified. I'm about a million percent sure that the "locker room banter" as it was called never happened in a locker room my husband has been in. In fact his words to me were "who says that? Who does that?" and my response was - guys do. A lot of guys do. I'm also pretty sure that you'd be hard pressed to find a woman who has not been touched inappropriately at least once in her life.

Remember high school? How about college? Now, I have been to many a great party in my day during my high school and college years...lot's of good fun memories at those things, that's for sure. I've also been to the ones that aren't so fun. Well, they started out fun, but a few hours and some drinks in and it could get dicey. I can remember a few times when I was at a party, you know, hanging out talking to a guy seemingly having a good time, and then it starts, the "compliments"...you're so pretty, you're so hot, blah, blah, blah. Trying to feed me drinks (that I'm spitting back into my cup so I don't lose my faculties and keep my wits about me), hand on the leg uninvited, whispering in my ear "let's go somewhere...you know you want it...(more coaxing here). That's when I would make my exit - grab the girlfriends and head home. I was not going to myself in a situation I wouldn't be able to get out of. Unless I was specifically requesting to engage in the activities being presented, one should NEVER assume it was going to happen. EVER.

Remember going to night clubs? Night clubs are so freaking fun! I love to dance and I love a good club. Even though it's been a trillion years since I've actually been to one!! I don't love the guys that are all over you on the dance floor uninvited. Listen, I'm happy to dance and have a good time don't get me wrong - but don't touch me especially if you don't know me, and don't ever assume you're getting something out of me. Period. I don't care if I'm wearing a mini skirt and a tube top...I could be wearing a freaking thong and a band aid for all I care - it does not give any man the right to touch or assume I'm looking for "a good time". And while we're on the subject of clothing - the outfit I want to wear may not be your idea of appropriate and you know what, it doesn't matter. I chose to wear it, it's not a representation of my character or my moral compass. Do not assume otherwise. Until I tell you I'm interested, assume I'm not.

Remember going on a date and having a guy get a little too handsy? I was never a dater - I can probably count on 1.5 hands the amount of times I've been asked out on a date. Seriously. So let's say that I've actually been on 7 first dates in my life. Five of those did not result in a relationship, the other 3 ended up being long term boyfriends. I would say 2 out of the five presented some kind of inappropriate behavior. Here's the thing, again, just because you bought me dinner and a movie or something of the like, it does not entitle you to touch me, assume I want to make out with you or engage in any other kind of intimate activity. Unless I tell you to your face, while completely sober, that I have any interest, assume I don't.

These instances are all very well in the past - like 20 plus years, and honestly not something I really gave any thought to until Friday. Until the guy who is trying to be President of our ALREADY GREAT country was caught. On tape. Saying things that no man should ever say about a woman - especially in a locker room. What you do in your private life is none of my business. If you want to be a cheater, go right ahead, no skin off my back. But you cannot be a rapist, and that's what you are. Inappropriately touching another human being without consent and boasting about it because you're a celebrity is disgusting. You are not a valid representation of men. In fact all of the men I know are so far away from the man you are you'll never ever be at their level. I know this - my son's will never treat other people the way you do. They know the value of humanity. They have been taught to respect women especially when it comes to personal intimacy. Even thinking it's okay to say the words you said is wrong on so many levels. My boys, at the ages of 10 and 4 have more kindness, compassion and love for other humans than you have in your pinky finger.

This is not about a Presidential race. This is about morality. It's about ethics. It's about respect for other human beings. When all of the allegations come out as truth, and they will, you should be the one in jail.

What I learned about the NYC Middle School Process

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First off, don’t sweat it. I know, easier said than done, but really, there IS a school out there for your kiddo. I remember when we were starting the process last year I had no idea where to start. For a minute I got all worked up about submitting applications, going on tours and doing research that I was getting overwhelmed with all of it. I had to take a step back and allow myself to see the process clearly. After I realized it was actually giving us a good look at all of the options we had at our disposal, the process became much easier than I had anticipated.

I know you’re sitting there reading and re-reading the handbook the school provided to you. You’re dissecting it, making lists of things you think your child would be interested in and doing your due diligence. Here’s the deal - all of that is well and good and you should be doing it, but don’t be surprised when a school you thought was going to be “the” school turns out to be last on your list. That’s exactly what happened to us and several other families we know. In an effort to make this process a little less worrisome for you, here are some tips on getting through the middle school process (mostly) unscathed!

  • Do your research - Read the book. Know the statistics for the schools you’re looking at.
  • Tour EVERY school - I can’t stress this enough. You might think you “know” what your kid wants, but you don’t really. And they may surprise you. Make sure to take the tours WITH your child, it helps to be able to observe their reactions and share in the process.
  • Ask questions - prepare some before you attend a tour. Always have your child’s best interest at heart and don’t be afraid to ask any and all questions you have! The schools want you to ask.They want you to make an informed decision. They want you to want to be there.
  • Talk about it - discuss it with your child. Pros, cons, likes, dislikes...all of it. Because remember this - you don’t have to go to school there, your child does. This decision should be their decision.
  • Rank your choices - pick 3 - 5 schools after you’ve had a look. Chances are, if you’re choosing a school within the district you’re coming from, you’ll get your first choice. I have yet to hear differently.
  • Relax - you have to wait 5 months from the time you apply to middle school to receive your acceptance. Should you have a change of heart along the way, there is a grace period upon receiving your letter to make adjustments.
  • Support your child - be their sounding board, start open ended conversations when it comes to the type of school they’re interested in. You might have a child that is drawn more toward the arts versus math and science - and that’s great! Let them tell you what they want and how they feel. Your job is to allow them to explore and guide them, not stifle them.
  • YOU WILL BE OKAY. It’s middle school - not the bar exam. Your child is still growing and will be for a while academically, socially and physically. Don’t add pressure where it doesn’t need to be.

CONGRATULATIONS!! You made it through the middle school application process!! So have a glass of wine and enjoy. It’s one more thing you can cross off your list...and just think, you don’t have to worry about high school until 7th grade. (keep drinking!!)

Wishing you a smooth application process and a great school year!

Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions regarding this process, I’m happy to help!!  

And just so you have it, here’s the link to all of the school districts in NYC. http://schools.nyc.gov/ChoicesEnrollment/Middle/Resources/default.htm

xo