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Your dynamite daughter needs these five skills

I’m about to share some ideas about self image that I think most women need to hear, including myself. I need to hear it over and over until it’s not something I know, but something I do.

But before I share, I want you to know that these ideas are not a reason to be hard on yourself. We only ever do the best we can and if for some reason your life has led you to a place where you experience the self-doubt described below by Paula Stone Williams – or if you have learned to communicate nonverbally in ways that don’t express “strong woman” – it’s not your fault. Your dynamite daughter needs these five skills, and so do you.

How women and girls are taught self-doubt

In the TedTalk by Paula Stone Williams, called “I’ve lived as a man and as a woman, here’s what I learned,” Paula shares a powerful story about how different her experience is as a woman, compared to when she was a man. As a man, she was given respect and trust off-hand. As a woman, she is second-guessed all the time. Most powerfully, she said, “When you are second-guessed all the time, you begin to doubt yourself.”

What woman hasn’t experienced this? An incessant drive to do everything just right, so that you can tell the people who question you that you are sure what you’ve created is correct. So that you won’t feel your self-worth somehow diminished if you are wrong. When did it become a problem to be wrong? Isn’t that how we grow?

I am determined to ask “Are you sure,” as she grows up as little as possible. Maybe that will help. But in the mean time, there are other things I can work on that will also make a powerful difference.

Nonverbal communication is our ticket out

I know my body language is reflective of this learned, unconscious self-doubt. And the scariest thing about this, for me, is that my daughter is going to learn how to move and operate as a woman in this world first from me. What will my body language teach her?

Enter, Sari Di la Mote. Sari is an expert at nonverbal communication, and happens to be most passionate about teaching nonverbal skills to lawyers.

If I was a lawyer, she would have all my money.

Since I can’t benefit from her courses as a lawyer, I’ve done all I can to learn from her through her blog and the free resources she offers. From Sari, I’m learning how to command space. How to own a room. How to show up in my full power.

While there are a lot of things she challenges her students to do, a handful rise to the top. Our dynamite daughters need these five skills, and so do we:

-allow our awareness to fill an entire space before a presentation.
-use open, inviting body language when appropriate, and closed off language for things that aren’t open to conversation.
-take notice of when your voice pulls up at the end of a sentence (evoking uncertainty in a listener), or down (evoking confidence from the listener).
-Influence a tense space by breathing deeply. Become the source of calm in the space.
-She asks you to notice the story you’re telling yourself about a person or situation, and notice how that story influences your body language.

We can set the example

I’ll admit that driven as I am, I could benefit from making it a daily habit to incorporate these lessons. Not just for work presentations, but to the point that it’s second nature to do these things. If not for myself, then for my daughter.

What about you? Do you find yourself in the same boat? You know you show up with your game face on, but your words and body language sometimes sabotage you.

Remember, I’m not sharing all this as another reason to be hard on yourself. All of your experiences have led you to becoming the wonderful, loving, smart human being that you are. This is something worth feeling good about, that we’re here and finally thinking about these things.

Let’s you and me pick one of the bullet points above to work on. Just one. And each morning, set the intent to live that lesson. For example, you might say, “Just for today, I will breathe deeply whenever I feel worried or people around me are tense.” One day at a time, whatever we choose to focus on will be the habit we start to live by. We will become our vision for our daughters.

I’m curious – what bullet point above resonates most with you? What non-verbal skill do you want to work on? Share in the comments below. May our loving energy inspire and lift each other up! go mama!

An intruder made me feel more powerful than I have in years

Remember the last time you had no idea what to do? That thing that in the end made you feel like a baller? Even though you probably haven’t had the exact experience I’m about to share, I’m sure you can relate.

Didn’t see this coming

What have I done? I turn around to look nervously at my upstairs windows before continuing to walk away. It’s 11:30 at night, and one of them is open.

I’ve taken a gamble. Do nothing, and I will have a rotting raccoon corpse somewhere under my second floor floorboards within 30 hours. Open the window, and I will either have two raccoons in my house by morning, or none.

I cross the street to my in-laws house, where my daughter and I have been sleeping for the two nights since we heard the ruckus in our first floor ceiling. My husband is off on a canoe trip. I find myself a single mom for the weekend, unexpectedly camping out at my in-laws house, wondering how the hell to get rid of raccoons on my own before paying an arm and a leg for animal control. My adrenaline is sky high, having been alone with a thirsty, starving raccoon in a dark second floor, nothing but a headlamp to see by and a broom for protection as I open the window.

I pray that the mama raccoon currently pressed against the back windows of my second floor – staring inside with her whole being – I pray she’s smart enough to get her baby and take it away. By now she knows that my home is not safe. Her baby has been locked inside for two days, no food, no water. Why did my husband leave that window open? Who ever heard of raccoons climbing drain pipes?

Can I do this?

Calling the shots on something new can be a great feeling, ya know? To be totally in charge. No possibility of asking someone what they think is the right thing to do. No one to second guess you with a well meaning but patronizing “are you sure?” My husband is gone. Everyone is asleep but the kind neighbor who agreed to sit on her porch to make sure I got out of there ok. It’s all me.

Yeah, I’m going to get this raccoon out of my house.

My gamble paid off. The next morning, the apple piece I left on the window to help mama raccoon get to the right place was gone. That night, no sounds in the floor. No death smells, either, as the days have passed.

Why you’re a baller

I bet you’ve had moments like this. Life shows up in a way you never expected. You aren’t sure how it’s all going to work out until – one step after another – it does. You end up remembering how powerful you are.

A raccoon trapped in my house was one of the more eventful things to have happened in recent weeks. Getting rid of it on my own without the help of my husband or male neighbors (who also weren’t around) made me feel powerful. I would have left it up to them, and I’m so glad it didn’t work out that way. I didn’t realize I was giving away my power by deferring “masculine” activities. I thought I was just allowing things to flow smoothly. Who would’ve thought that an intruder would make me feel so powerful.

What about you? I’d love to hear about an experience where you had to call the shots to solve something you never saw coming. Tell me about how awesome you were. Because you were. Awesome. Leave your story in the comment box! My our energy inspire and cheer each other on. go mama!

5 Essential Time-Saving Tips for Your Kitchen

You know those annoying activities that waste your time but keep happening? A few seconds here, a few there…over and over… it adds up. Ready for a few easy tips?

Today’s five tips are for the kitchen:

  1. What state is your Tupperware drawer in? Think about how much time you spend trying to find the right lid to go with your Tupperware or glassware. Annoying, right? 

-Consider how much Tupperware or glassware you really need and then pare down.

-Gave your lids a home based on shape. I use small baskets- one for circles, one for squares. It works wonders.

-Don’t let Tupperware that needs to be returned to someone land in your drawer. It’s just one more thing to fish around each time you’re in there.

2. Do you have a hell drawer for utensils? It used to take me forever to find the right measuring spoon in my own kitchen hell drawer.

-Give those items that are used once or twice a year a separate home. (I’m lookin’ at you, turkey baster).

-Get rid of things that seemed like a good idea when you got them. Nice then, wasted space now.

-Try to place similar-sized things together. Marie Kondo would even recommend using cardboard boxes to compartmentalize things by size inside the drawer. Can’t say I’ve got as far as the boxes, but it’s a great idea. 

3. Next time a pot scorches, try boiling an inch of water, a dash of dish soap, and 2 Tbsp of baking soda before you start scrubbing. Should come right off. 

4. Keep trash liners at the bottom of your trash can, so they’re right there as soon as you take the dirty trash bag out. A little trick I learned working at a summer camp – works just as well at home!

5. Do you spend time stacking and  restacking things in your pantry, just so it all fits? Or just to remind yourself what’s there? Next time you find yourself doing this: 

-Get rid of (i.e. donate) anything older than 3ish months.

-Set a goal to only buy perishable food for a certain amount of time, during which you will make meals that will use up the non-perishables in your pantry. 

Bonus Tip:

When it comes to food, buy only what you need. I know this is easier said than done, but you can do it.

And remember – one thing at a time!

Remember to take a breath as you think about all the things you could do to make your kitchen waste less of your time. Lists are only a tool. You are capable and amazing and a great mom. You’ll chip at this one thing at a time. You’ll be saving time before you know it.

****I’m curious, what do you do in your kitchen to save time? Reply in the comments below. May our ideas inspire each other to save some precious time! Go mama!

This traveling comedy show for moms is a must-see!

I recently went to the “Pump ‘n “Dump Show,” a comedy act performed by two women who create space to laugh together about the hardships and joys of being a mom. If the Pump ‘n Dump comedy show rolls through your town – go! – it’s a must-see! Shayna Ferm and Tracey Tee had us in tears as we laughed at stories from women in their 60s and 70s, of the terrible parenting moments they had in their pursuit of survival. We laughed at the lies we told ourselves about how life would change with kids. We laughed at some hysterical photo bloopers that were supposed to make you shine on social media but totally failed. I laughed so hard I cried.

I have some photo bloopers of my own. When my baby turned one-month old,  I decided to set her up all pretty for a photo shoot. Epic fail! In fact, none of my month-anniversary photos looked that awesome and I eventually gave up.

But back to the show… my favorite part happened at the very end. Filled with laughter and surrounded by the happy energy of all these women having a hard-earned night out, they asked us turn to the women we came with and tell them that they were wonderful moms.

Talk about some serious validation. These thousand moms were hugging each other and giving the praise that we should seriously be getting every day. There was a lot of love in the room for those few moments and I will carry that with me.

You are an Amazing Mom

Dear reader, dear mama, in case no one has told you yet today, I’m going to tell you:

You are an amazing mom. Thank you for showing up every day for your kids. Thank you for loving them. Thank you for all those moments when you felt like you were breaking but kept going. Thank you for all those times you didn’t know what to do and then figured out what to do.

Thank you for your heart, your light. You are a gift to your kids and a gift to the world.

Keep going.
****In the spirit of validating moms, click on one of the share buttons below. Share to facebook or twitter – or wherever you like to hang out – and tell your mom friends how wonderful and amazing and awesome they are. Link them to this blog so that they can share in the love and validation that is sent to the go mama village every week. Because we all deserve some validation.