1. Expect the best from yourself and from your children. They will internalize your standards, even if they groan about them and roll their eyes. A lot.
2. Splurge on together time. Money invested in vacations, theater tickets, and art supplies pays a much higher return than money invested in trendy clothing -- like leg warmers and parachute pants -- and electronic gadgetry. I had Pong. My son wants iPad 2. He's getting a Carribbean vacation instead.
3. Silly is good. And memorable. I still recall how my mom would "go green" for St. Patrick's Day dinner. Green salad. Green beans. Green rice. YES. I said green rice.
3a. Famous chefs who say "we eat with our eyes" are onto something. It is very hard to eat green rice. It feels a little like diving into a bowl of bugs. Thanks for that, mom.
3b. Little Man is at school in black pants and a tan shirt. His underwear are blue. But his dinner will be green. All green. Mua-ha-ha!
4. Your kids won't like all your choices. That's okay. They will deal with it.
5. Diets fail at 4 o'clock. Even if you've eaten well all day to that point, the combination of low blood sugar and little kid craziness spells diet disaster. It's best to get out of the house. And don't go shopping. Just don't.
This post inspired by a prompt from Mama Kat, a recent interview with my mom, and St. Patrick's Day.
I frequently get thanked for things I didn’t do. That’s because I take on projects that are way too big for one little mama to do all by herself. Like collecting, packaging and distributing cookies to more than 2,000 service members at holiday time. Don’t get me wrong, I love, love, love to bake. But 12,000 cookies? 10 days from now? Forget about it.
Photo by Tim Lewis shared via WikimediaCommons
I’m something of a yes-mama. I simply can’t say “no” when I’m asked to take on an enormous project. I’m a project junkie. But I know I can’t be a do-it-myself project junkie. That would be ludicrous. And it isn't necessary!
People love to help with meaningful projects, so reaching out gives others the opportunity to do good. They'll also bring skills, talents and resources that Leading Mama just doesn’t have. Sometimes more is more. So I say “bring it.”
Crowd-sourcing is a relatively new concept in business. It amounts to getting people to build products without payment for their labor, and it flies in the face of years of pay-for-performance management. Community leaders have been doing something similar for hundreds or thousands of years. Think barnraising technology for the modern world.
I call it community-sourcing: harnessing the energies of community networks and everyday people to accomplish a shared pro-social goal.
Done right, community-sourcing not only gets the job done. It gets the job done faster, smarter, and better. It builds community. And – if you have a tendency to take projects way too big for one person – it just might save you from yourself.
How could community-sourcing help you with an upcoming project? And what's stopping you from using it?
Valentine’s Day is Monday, and – if you are like me – it’s time to start thinking panic about what to give your sweeties! When I asked Little Man what we give our friends on Valentine’s Day, he said we give them "words." I know he means cards, but his answer got me thinking (I know, I know. What *doesn’t* get me thinking, right?!)
Words are a really cool gift. All that other Valentiney hooplah is supposed to "say" I love you. So this year I am taking a stand: no flowers, candy or edible underwear for Leading Mama. I'm gonna get wordy instead.
If you a) can’t afford flowers, b) can’t take the risk that you’d eat a 3-lb. box of chocolates before next Monday in a stress- or hormone-induced minute-to-win-it kind of binge, and c) can’t fathom wearing edibles, even if it is for a good cause, get your word on instead.
Just in time for your Valentine gift-giving frenzy, I offer you four fun ways with words:
1. Make a wordle. Type a list of all the things you love about your sweetie. (Note: If you want phrases to stay intact, you-have-to-hyphenate-them-like-this) Turn your words into art at www.wordle.com and customize colors and font to your sweetie’s style. It’s easier than poetry and more thoughtful than a store-bought card. Oooh, and it’s free! Here’s one I made for my little man.
2. Take digital pics of letter-shaped objects and arrange them into a word or phrase for your sweetie. (Pst, you can cheat by using actual letter-shaped toys from the playroom if you're making this for the kiddos!) Not so crafty? Order letter photo art online and print a preview to give your sweetie until the real deal arrives in the mail.
3. Create custom mad-lib love poems online at links2love. Here’s one I created for Leading Man. If we weren’t already married, this probably wouldn’t woo him. But I laughed so hard when I read it that my cheeks hurt. A tears-to-your-eyes belly laugh does a marriage good. Even if they turn out to be tears of cheese dip. Dang, I love mad libs.
Your skin glows like the apple, blossoms sexy as the lily in the purest hope of spring. My heart follows your piano voice and leaps like a dog at the whisper of your name. The evening floats in on a great hawk wing. I am comforted by your socks that I carry into the twilight and hold next to my eyes. I am filled with hope that I may dry your tears of cheese dip. As my chest falls from my shirt, it reminds me of your pillow. In the quiet, I listen for the last laughter of the day. My heated hand leaps to my pants. I wait in the moonlight for your secret TV so that we may chase as one, hand to hand, in search of the magnificent and mystical chocolate of love.
4. Make your own fortune cookies with customized messages inside. Write your favorite movie quotes, most romantic things you did this year, affectionate love names like pookie bear or sugar lips, or some naughty sexy phrases on strips of pink paper with ballpoint pen (printer ink can smudge!). Bake up a batch of treats using this easy fortune cookie recipe. If you want to go all out, dip half of each fortune cookie in melted chocolate and sprinkle with valentiney jimmies. Sweet!
However you say I love you, don't forget to say it out loud. In words. Nothing you can buy or do takes the place of heartfelt words of affection and appreciation. Leaders know that.