As a Happy New Year gift, I wanted to share 5 of my favorite things I discovered in 2010 – along with one RE-discovery. Hope you’ll share yours too!
When a friend or family member has a serious medical crisis, CaringBridge makes it easy to keep everyone updated on the situation without having to field a bunch of separate calls and emails from caring people – for free. I put a site up when my father-in-law was in the hospital this spring. Recently, he asked to understand more about what happened, and I was able to go to CaringBridge and print a slick book that included all of our updates and all our friends messages of hope for him. www.caringbridge.org
2. Insurance for iPhones
When my iPhone was stolen out of my car this past spring, I did some digging and discovered State Farm will insure iPhones! Now both our iPhones are ensured for loss or theft. Continue reading
Photo by Leo Reynolds
Who is most squeezed for time these days? I can make a pretty good argument that today’s mothers and fathers are more squeezed than just about anyone else. In fact my book, This is Not How I Thought It Would Be: Remodeling Motherhood to Get the Lives We Want Today has a whole chapter on time titled Pits and Privates: Or Why Am I Obsessed with Saving Time? You’ll have to pick up the book to get the scoop on the “pits and privates reference, but here are a few bullets on families and time.
- Families with two parents employed today are working 500 more hours per year than families with two parents employed put in in the late 1970’s.
- Employed mothers today spend just as much time with their kids as non-employed mothers did in the late 70’s, and non-employed mothers today spend even more.
- Fathers have doubled their childcare time and tripled their housework time since the late 70’s.
In this scenario, managing minutes becomes futile. That’s why I was so glad to see this post today on the Harvard Business Review‘s blog, Six Ways to Supercharge Your Productivity from Tony Schwartz, author and leader of The Energy Project. I know it’s designed for a business audience, yet I get so much more value from Tony’s advice for managing family life than from any of my women’s magazines. My magazines try to help me manage TIME – tips for exercising in ten minutes, dinners in twenty, cleaning the bathroom while I use it. Tony’s advice contains research backed strategies for managing ENERGY. I quote his book The Power of Full Engagement in my chapter on time and this post is such a great summary of the key strategies.
I find I can apply these strategies to both my home life and my employed life. I chunk my paid work into 90 minute blocks (sprinter) and am so much more productive than if I try to go for longer. I chunk my time with my daughter too – trying to fully engage with her and then let us both recharge and refuel in other ways.
How about you? Do you have strategies for managing energy at home and on the job? Does your workplace support these strategies for managing energy?
As my daughter approaches middle school, my anxiety about college increases and I feel a looming pressure on us (okay probably me) to spend time making sure our daughter is in the right school, has access to the right extracurricular activities to be able to get into college – given that getting into college is far more competitive than when my husband and I entered.
I think it was that anxiety that recently led me to read the full report titled “The Rug Rat Race” from the Brookings Institute that was also highlighted in the New York Times column the Motherlode, The College Race Brings Families Together? The report examines data on parental time with children (data I’m very familiar with from writing my book This is Not How I Thought It Would Be: Remodeling Motherhood to Get the Lives We Want Today) and data on the competitiveness of getting into college. The researchers, Gary Ramey and Valerie Ramey, conclude that particularly for college-educated parents, the reason parents started spending lots more time with their children – especially older children – is a “rug rat race” in which parents invest more and more time preparing children for increasingly rare slots in college. Continue reading
Check out my Q&A with journalist Maja Beckstrom from Twin Cities Pioneer Press:
Q. What did you expect life would be like after becoming a mother?
A. I expected I would be able to continue my career. I was a manager of training and development for Earthlink. And, like a lot of women, I expected my husband and I would share parenting and family responsibilities. But I got turned down for a bid to go part time and then lost another job. Suddenly, I had no job, and my husband, an attorney on a partnership track, was working 70 hours a week. We felt we were very enlightened, but when it came down to it, we still had a lot of subconscious assumptions — basically that mothers are responsible for kids and fathers are clueless, even though that’s never what we would have said out loud.
Q. You write about your growing resentment toward your husband. He’d sit and watch TV at the end of the day with a pile of unfolded laundry at his feet.
A. If you get 10 mothers together for drinks, inevitably the talk turns to who is doing what at home, he’s not doing enough, and how do I get him to do more. But it’s a conversation that rarely bears fruit. We don’t know what to do about it. No one knows how to solve it.
Read the Full Interview >>
Photo from Original Redbook Article. Photo Credit: Robert Daley/Getty Images
I ran across this great article, by Redbook Magazine‘s Jennifer Matlack, titled “Secrets of Stress-Free Family Time.” In the article she talks about how to downshift from a busy day so you can relax and reconnect with the ones you love.
The first 10 minutes after you arrive home set the tone for the whole night. It’s been a long, hectic, exhausting day, and all you want to do is wash your stress away with a hot, foamy bath or some mindless TV. But you can’t, of course. You’ve got to start the evening shift at home. And when you’re feeling frazzled and tired, switching gears to reconnect with your family isn’t so easy. “After a tough day, you’re worn thin and on the verge of losing it with your kids,” notes Ingrid Schweiger, Ph.D., a family therapist in New York City. But blowing your top could mean blowing family time altogether, she says, because research shows that the first 10 minutes after you walk through the door at night determine the tone and outcome of the rest of your evening.
You can make it through the witching hour without becoming a witch, however, if you take the time to re-enter family life the right way. First, show your husband and kids that you’re there for them — say hello, make eye contact, hug them, kiss them. Then, grab a moment just for you, Schweiger suggests: “Change your clothes, sit down somewhere — whether it’s the bathroom or your walk-in closet — and for two minutes visualize a peaceful evening with your family.” You’ll be calmer, cooler, and genuinely ready to really be with your husband and kids.
What to do next? Here, 10 women share their creative ideas for easing back into family life after a difficult day:
Continue Reading >>