Rough Years – Brace Yourself

Some years, adolescents are simply not pleasant.  Brace yourself. But, they will come around.  It doesn’t mean that you let the behavior become acceptable.  Just know it is normal.  

Every Child is Unique

The oldest daughter about killed me the last two years of high school.  The younger daughter about killed me in middle school.  The youngest child has always been extremely sweet, but he pushed the limits a little more when he was younger.  The third child – I am waiting.  

Maybe I learned more about parenting by the time the boys came around or maybe the girls were just more difficult.  Either way, here are a few tips I’d like to share.  

Getting Along is Optional

You won’t always get along.  That is okay.  It broke my heart at first (and sometimes it still does), now I am learning that this is part of them finding their independence while still desperately needing me.  Love them everyday – don’t hold a grudge and don’t change your rules because they don’t like them.  

Guilt Doesn’t Work

Guilt does not work!  You can’t guilt a child into being kind to you or feeling sorry for their awful actions that were hurtful.  Guilt trips make them more persistent and more ornery.  Calmly state how you feel, what you expect and follow it with “I love you”.  They won’t know what to do.  

Listen to Them

Listen to them!  Always let them express themselves and teach them to do this respectfully and with compassion.  This is something our world desperately needs, disagreement while still being respectful and compassionate.  No one can control how they feel.   We can only control what we do with our feelings.  Teaching them to express how they feel and what they think – it is important.    You don’t have to agree and it doesn’t mean they get their way.  

My 22 year old daughter once told me that it was hard because she was an independent 22 year with her own thoughts and opinions.  She told me I wasn’t listening to her, which really exasperated the situation.  I thought I was listening. But, I needed to do something different to help her feel heard. But in the end, I still expected her to do what she was asked and I reminded her that I was paying for her college and living expenses, but would be happy to turn those expenses over to her if she wanted to be truly independent.  I told her I loved her and I hugged her, even though I didn’t feel like doing anything but screaming at her.  I went to my room and cried. She came around.

Know the Rules

Don’t change your rules because they don’t like them. Conversations are important.  But, follow through and consistency are critical. If they respectfully and maturely ask you to reconsider the rules and give you a really well prepared reason, be open.  But don’t change your rules because it is the easier thing to do.  Only change them after much thought and only if the kiddo fully understands the rule and they are only asking respectfully for you to reconsider.  

Run that Marathon

Parenting is a marathon.  You may have a rough mile along the way, but don’t give up.  

With purpose,


Weekly Planning

I’ve used many systems over the years. I find them comprehensive, but exhausting. A client once said it best, most are a “huge energy suck”. Now, I simply do this.

Notebook Review – 5 Minutes

I keep a notebook, in addition to my electronic devices, where I journal during the day and capture random thoughts. I flip through the notebook pages to make sure I don’t forget any note, task or idea. I usually put notes, tasks and ideas where they need to go right away, but I check just in case.

Task App Review – 5 Minutes

I go through my task app and delete what can be deleted, what is no longer relevant.  

Schedule and Plan What Matters Most – 5 to 10 Minutes

I plan my meals for the week, review calendar with my husband and confirm kids’ schedules. I make sure I have a date on my calendar with my husband and family; I block them off first.

Project Review – 10 Minutes

I review current projects and write down all new projects for the week. I use the same task app to manage my projects and their related tasks.   

Current projects – I go through my project action plans. I see what needs to be done this week, assign them to days and block off time in my calendar. I do a quick brain dump and record anything else that needs to be done with my current projects. I record all related tasks in my task management app.

New projects – I schedule time in my calendar to develop an action plan. I also do a quick brain dump, noting all that needs to be done for these new projects right now. I make sure all related tasks are recorded in my task management app.

I also record random tasks, that don’t belong with a project. I make sure they are all recorded in my task management app.

Review Schedule – 5 Minutes

I have a set schedule, time blocks, that I follow most days. I review it for the week and move blocks around accordingly.  


I’ve learned to leave white space on my calendar.

I schedule lunch time for myself everyday, although I rarely take it all.   

The whole process takes 30 minutes and it includes the planning for Monday. I do it Sunday night.

With Purpose,


Leading a Great Meeting

Once I had a boss that started conducting team meetings because she thought she was suppose to have one.  

Many board chairs call meetings because the bylaws require the organization to meet at set intervals.  

Scheduling a meeting just to say you met is never a good idea. Meeting for a specific purpose, with set outcomes – most always a great idea.  

Often, agendas are late to arrive, team/board members aren’t sure how best to contribute and the meeting is filled with folks reciting their list of recently completed tasks.  Attendees leave the meeting not entirely sure the purpose of the meeting and even more overwhelmed.  

Here are a few things to help you have a great meeting. Because leaders, we can do better! 

Prepare an agenda in advance.  Not just a last minute list of items that come to your mind.  Meetings aren’t about regurgitating information.  You can do that via technology.  Meetings are for collaboration, idea generating, big question exploration.  Agendas allow attendees to know the purpose of the meeting and that the meeting actually has a purpose.  Agendas show you value attendees’ time and it allows attendees to come prepared.  If appropriate, make sure attendees have an opportunity to contribute to the agenda.  Your team has valuable insite, use it.  

Start on Time and End on Time.  Even if no one is in the room, set the expectation that the meeting will begin on time.  I guarantee the next time everyone will be in the room on time.  End on time, respect everyone’s time and end on time.  People need to know when they can get back to their workday, even if you are the boss.  And, don’t allow folks to come speak/report and then leave, it is rude. Of course things will happen, but make it the expectation that if someone wants to be heard – they also need to listen to others.  

Report Time verse Discussion Time.  Report time is not a time for folks to start a discussion.  It is when reports are given.  I prefer to have folks send in reports for team members to read on their own time and then just open the meeting report time for clarifying questions – not discussions.  Discussion time should be separate.  When discussion time begins, make sure your team sets norms so everyone feels comfortable participating.  

Team Time. If your team is new or doesn’t get together often, make sure you schedule some team building.  Folks that know each other tend to work better together. 

Meetings should be worth having or we shouldn’t have them. Time is valuable and not just figuratively.  Add up the salaries of everyone in the room for the amount of time you keep them in the meeting.  Are you getting that much value out of the meeting?  Or, are you being negligent with the organization’s money?    Something to ponder…

With Purpose,


Returning to Normal – A Case for Self Care

I find myself trying to return to normal this week.  A normal work schedule.  A normal way of eating.  A normal way of moving and sleeping.  A normal way of caring for myself.  

My kids are older and their needs of me as their mother are different, but ever still present.  

Everyone was home for winter break and here are a few things things we did…

Attended a Carolina Panthers game, had a gingerbread house building contest, hosted a boyfriend, hosted the in-laws, hosted a house full of high school junior and seniors overnight on new year’s eve, cooked lots of favorite meals, celebrated a child’s 21st birthday, cleaned out some rooms and redecorated a bathroom, attended Christmas Eve Mass and made a Christmas light drive at 12:30 Christmas “morning”, complete with hot chocolate and popcorn.  

As the college kids drove away Saturday night, I laid on the couch unable to move – literally exhausted.

I didn’t fully realize how much we did over break.  I also didn’t anticipate how much energy it would take to keep up with these young adults.  However, looking back – it was a great break.  

As I’ve gotten older, I finally understand the importance of caring for myself and accept that the consequences of not doing so are devastating. As I return to normal this week, I am reminded of the basics of self care.  

  1. Sleep – get back to a normal schedule as soon as possible, even if I can’t fall asleep or stay asleep.  Go to bed at my “normal” time and get up at the “normal” time. My body will soon adjust.
  2. Rest – find a few pockets of time throughout the week to rest.  I can lay down and close my eyes or watch a movie or read a book.  I am not yet sleeping “normally”; my body is recovering and I need to give it extra rest.
  3. Eat Well – focus on eating 7-10 fruits and veggies every day and consume lots of water. If I do this, I won’t have to worry about what else I eat!  
  4. Move – be active everyday!  I don’t have to have a fancy gym membership.  Dance around, play outside, or even clean the house – just do something I love and move..  
  5. Reflect – remember the good.  Too often we take down the decorations, throw away all signs of the holiday and return back to “normal” as fast as we can.  Sit, reflect, celebrate and remember.  

As you return to normal, remember – it is a process. It isn’t about how much we get done or how fast we return to full functionality.  Maybe it is about living, embracing and enjoying.  Take time to savor what was, what is and what will be – linger a little while. 

With purpose,