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Let’s get rid of International Women’s Day

7 Mar

Tina_Amy copyMarch 8th is International Women’s Day – a day created back in 1908 to honor, respect and appreciate women. I look forward to a day when we don’t have a special day dedicated to women. I hope it happens in my lifetime; however, with the slow progress we’ve made in the two decades I have been working, I am not optimistic.

The US ranks in the bottom 10 performing countries for women in senior management roles.
I am in an industry dominated by women in junior positions.  They are hard working, talented and motivated young women who have something to prove.  They come from great schools, families and communities where equality for women is not even a thought because it is just so.  But why do the number of women in senior positions dip so dramatically?  Our company picks the best person for the job, so it isn’t because the men are better – it’s because the women aren’t there fighting for the seat.

I don’t want to get into a large discussion on if it’s better to say at home vs stay in the work force – enough has been done on this topic and we will agree to respect each others’ opinions.  Especially since mine change on a daily basis depending on whom I speaking with and what the day has been like.

What I do think is vital that we talk about is long before someone is making a decision of what to do in their career that we have the discussion so it’s not so black and white – leave or go.  It’s more grey.  Grey leaves lots more options for doing what feels right.  Working America (it’s not just corporate America) needs to figure out how to accommodate the idea of family units into our dialogue.  It’s no longer black and white.  There is no ‘balance’, there are only choices – I choose to be at work and during that time my children are safe with professional care givers.  I choose to be at home on the weekend and my work is safe until I can make time for it.  I choose to leave for a school play or come in late because of a child’s dentist appointment.  Men and women make these choices everyday and have to figure out how to do it all.

I work in an organization that is far ahead of the national average on gender issues – in fact it’s not about fairness – I am confident that if the women were at the table they would be rewarded.  The conversation is about how to create an environment to keep women in the running.

Google did a very nice video to celebrate the day.  I am impressed by countries who have figured this out.  You’d think the US would be one of them.  Russia is the TOP country for women in senior management with 43% of senior position filled by women.

“It’s no longer feasible for U.S. businesses to adopt a sit and wait policy when it comes to promoting women to senior management roles, particularly when so many other nations —developed and emerging — are more rapidly realizing the benefits of diverse senior leadership,” said Erica O’Malley, Grant Thornton LLP’s national managing partner of Diversity & Inclusion.

I struggle with how to end this post. Do I want to inspire a movement? Sheryl Sandberg tired and got a national conversation going around Lean In and then there was the eventually backlash that comes with a successful person telling us how to live. She definitely created a stir and inspired millions.  Then my friends on Facebook (see the irony) started liking this piece by Rosa Brooks “Recline! Why Lean In is killing us.” This resonated with a wide array of professional and career hiatus women – they were saying ‘thank you’ and ‘this made my day.’  They felt relieved to not have to answer to the giant unrealistic ask that Sheryl suggests.   I don’t have the power or time to start a movement.

I want to start small in my own company to figure out what we can do with our awesome collection of talented women and men. What can we do to inspire change that will help the advancement of women in senior leadership? What can we do to end the need for International Women’s Day?

Just so I don’t take this too seriously my inspiration for today  – live like Elsa from Frozen.  Embrace who you are, don’t fear it.  Live like the women of Saturday Night Live – push the limits of what was once never thought to be possible.


Milking Time to attend the Royal Wedding

27 Apr

Predictions that TWO BILLION people will watch the Royal Wedding are swirling about.  I will be one of them.  I don’t have time to do a lot of things that I’d like to do in the day, but lucky for me the Royal Couple didn’t plan their wedding for a US audience and so I’m able to watch it AND be able to go to work.

I am also hoping my sister watching with me @kteb.  And of course my 4 1/2 will be watching with me.

I have a good friend who did some digging and aggregated the best schedule of the festivities that I’ve seen – again saving me time.  Love him!  Thanks Emile.

Now, the big question is how will this play in the social media space?  I want to be watching instead of reading others’ comments of the same things that we’re both seeing on TV.  I’m sure I’m not alone.  But are there any feeds or people to follow that will have an inside scoop? If I have time to research before Friday, I will let you know.

Am I that into Royalty?  Not so much, but this is one of those events that we’ll talk about for a very long time…I feel bad for Henry, because there is NO way I’m getting up at 4am to watch his wedding.

If anyone has good scone recipes, we’re on the look out….

Emile’s version of the Royal Wedding Schedule:

8:30 a.m. London time (3:30 a.m. Eastern U.S.): General guests will start arrive at Westminster Abbey

10:00 a.m. (5:00 a.m. Eastern U.S.): The royal family begin to take their places at the Abbey, with Queen Elizabeth II and her husband the last to arrive

10:10 a.m. (5:10 a.m. Eastern U.S.):Groom Prince William and his best man, Prince Harry, will depart Clarence House. Their drive to the Abbey will only take five minutes.

10:20 a.m. (5:20 a.m. Eastern U.S.): Members of foreign royal families will arrive at the church

10:20 a.m. (5:20 a.m. Eastern U.S.): Mother of the Bride, Carole Middleton, and James Middleton, brother of the bride, will depart the Goring Hotel. It will take seven minutes for Carole and James to travel from the hotel to Westminster Abbey

10:40 a.m. (5:40 a.m. Eastern U.S.): The members of the royal family begin to pour in. Uncle to the Groom, Prince Andrew, and his daughters Beatrice and Eugenie; Aunt to the groom, Princess Anne, and her husband; and Aunt and Uncle to the Groom the Earl and Countess of Wessex will all enter the front of the church through the Great West door

10:42 a.m. (5:42 a.m. Eastern U.S.): Prince Charles and William’s stepmother, Camilla, arrive

10:45 a.m. (5:45 a.m. Eastern U.S.):Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are the last guests to arrive at Westminster Abbey

10: 48 a.m. (5:48 a.m. Eastern U.S.): Kate’s bridesmaids and William’s pageboys will gather at the Goring Hotel to depart at 10:48 a.m. The wedding party will arrive at the church five minutes before the ceremony is to begin.

10:51 a.m. (5:51 a.m. Eastern U.S.): Catherine Middleton, accompanied by her father, will depart the Goring Hotel in a Rolls Royce and make her way to Westminster Abbey. Once she arrives at the church, details about her wedding dress will finally be revealed. A press release, including the wedding dress designer’s name and sketches and photographs of the dress, will not be sent out until then.

11: a.m. (6:00 a.m. Eastern U.S.): The bride arrives at the Abbey; the ceremony begins. The ceremony  is to last just over an hour and will include vows and a sermon delivered by the Bishop of London, private clergyman to the queen. The bells of Westminster Abbey will ring as Prince William and his new wife depart the church.

12:15 p.m. (7:15 a.m. Eastern U.S.): The Prince and the new Princess Catherine will go from the church to Buckingham Palace. They depart in the 1902 State Landau, a carriage, carrying the bride and groom will be followed by the Queen’s carriage and members of the Household Cavalry. Two of the horses taking part in the ceremony are named after William and Catherine. The procession will pass by some of London’s most well-known landmarks, including the Queen Victoria monument, The Mall, and the Houses of Parliament.1215

12:30 p.m. (7:30 a.m. Eastern U.S.): Once the royal couple arrives at Buckingham Palace, they will pose for their official wedding photos. But those private moments between Will, Kate, their families and their bridal party will remain private. The palace staff says they “hope” to release some photographs the following morning.

1:25 p.m. (8:25 a.m. Eastern U.S.): The married couple will reappear on the balcony at Buckingham Palace with the Queen and their families for 10 minutes. We can only hope they will follow the example of William’s parents and mark the occasion with a public kiss.

1:30 p.m. (8:30 a.m. Eastern U.S.): The Royal Air Force, where Prince William serves as a search-and-rescue pilot, will perform a flyover

1:35 p.m. (8:35 a.m. Eastern U.S.): Prince William and Kate will head inside Buckingham Palace to the afternoon reception hosted by the Queen

After that, husband and wife will drive to St. James Palace for some down time

7:00 p.m. (2:00 p.m. Eastern U.S.): The evening party is expected to be much more fun, relaxed, and most important, private. No pictures from the event are expected to be released. Speeches, including the one given by the Best Man, Prince Harry, will be delivered at this reception. This is the one moment of Prince William and Kate’s day that is not planned to the second. The palace says the party will “finish when it finishes.”

Milking The Yes

23 Mar

Saying “yes” keeps the door open for you to figure out if “no” really is the right answer.  In most cases “no” is not the answer, so when your gut lets your mouth say “no” you shut down all other options.  Say “yes” more often at work and at home and you’ll see a huge difference. I call it “milking the yes.”

The days are long but the years are short (anonymous)

9 Mar

My children  Maddie and Sammy turn one on Saturday. When I step back to reflect on the year, I have a number of emotions:

amazed – that we all made it through the year unscathed (let’s not count the five ear infections they both had, croup, the flu and numerous colds)

startled – I can’t believe the year is over, wasn’t it dragging on forever just last month?

happy – I love my long-awaited for and much dreamed of  family

sad – that I wished any of the time to go by faster; there were times that I wanted to wave a wand and just get to age four

surprised – that I seem to have less mommy guilt, than I did three and half years ago when my daughter turned one.

awakened – to milk  joy from every single minute we all have together

inspired – to take more photos and videos and to chronicle milestones more aggressively

grateful – to the village that helped our family during this last year (lots neighbors who made us dinner, grandmother who lived with us for the first two months, grandparents who became permanent fixtures until they left for Florida for the winter, a benefactor who gave me all her twin gear, co-workers who dealt with my sleep deprivation, friends who showered us with love and gifts, Midnight Moms who got me through the first three months, our nanny who is now a member of our family and of course most importantly to the random people who came up to me (as I pushed a ginormous stroller with two small babies) and ask if they are twins.)

iPad Apps for 3+

5 Feb

Here are some great apps for preschoolers and perhaps older children. For the most part I am cheap so I usually get the free app and if something is very good I upgrade. Most of the recommendations below are free or .99.

Angry Birds ( ok this one is for you, but you can get it under the guise of needing it for your child.)
Cut The Rope
Fruit Ninja
Hidden Pix (think Highlights magazine from when you were a kid and email was 12 years in the future)
Drawing Pad
Memory Cards
Cookie Doodle
Uzu ( babies like this one, not that I encourage babies to use an iPad)
Signing Fingers
Yertle (dr suess book)
Virtuoso (piano)
Toy Story ( part e-book and part coloring book )

Have fun.

Wonderful Vacation

4 Jan

I have had a 17 day “break” but why do I feel like I am starting a vacation?
We had a wonderful time with family. I already miss my children. I feel terrible that we won’t be starting the day together.
But on this first day back to the office I feel like a different person. I have jewelry on. I put on purple eyeshadow, not sure if this is ever ok, but it seemed like a special occasion as I was getting ready this morning.

We ferberized my daughter last night – again. She went through a 14 day stint of waking up exactly 45 minutes after being put to bed for the night. She wouldn’t go back to sleep until we wrestled her into submission and let her sleep on our shoulders and then in our bed. It was not good hearing her scream at the top of her lungs knowing she was standing in her crib shaking the side and at any moment about to wake up her twin brother in the crib next to hers. But she resigned and went to sleep.

My other daughter had been trying to sleep in our bed off and on as she said it was more comfortable; so I brought up a down comforter from the basement and made a special deal about it. Miraculously she didn’t have to get a drink of water, go to the bathroom, tell us a secret, read one more book or tell us about a nightmare.

After the bedtime rituals we got to watch two shows (Parenthood and Grey’s.) In full disclosure my husband didn’t watch Grey’s with me. He made our daughter’s lunch, made his coffee grounds in the Vitamix and then retired to our bedroom to watch the Celtics.

I am all for milking long vacations, if for no other reason but to find comfort in the routine and order of the everyday life.

Dear John, thank you for visiting we hope you come back

22 Dec

My sister’s boyfriend of six months is coming to SC for the first time to meet the entire family and live with 9 of us for 7 days.  I’m not sure if he is a good sport or deranged.  I’m hoping for the former.

My brother and sister-in-law have six children (1 month old to 12 years) and live about twenty minutes from my parents’ house, but when we are in town, they always make an effort to be around most of the time – so there will be 18 people in a 2500 square foot house for five days.

Maybe it is my sister who is deranged, inviting him into such a situation!

My husband will take him under his wing and show him the ropes.  His advice will be, “Volunteer to go to the store whenever the need arises, lay low, smile and drink some good wine and/ or beer.  And be careful not to eat too many cookies.”

I think my husband is the most excited about John’s visit.  He will milk the situation as much as possible.  I can hear it now, “I’ll take John to see the cute downtown.  I want to show John the wine store. And so on…”  Honey I hate to tell you, but that is what a girlfriend is for.

My decolletage is costing me a fortune

18 Dec

Is it ever ok to buy $150 worth of product to get a free gift?
As I recently entered a new decade I have become even more obsessed with the health of my largest organ. I have used Erno Laszlo’s @ernolaszlo black mud soap for a very long time; however I just began the full on treatment routine.  Thanks to a good friend who has skin like milk, I now have a consultant at Neiman Marcus named Marsha.  I am buying things I swore I would never buy. I am spending money like it doesn’t matter. I don’t even ask the price. What is wrong with me?

I blame it on working in advertising. Not because I’m bombarded with messages of beauty or because I’m surrounded by twenty and thirty somethings. It comes from sitting in brainstorming sessions where we talk about skin. Recently it was about the décolletage. I hate to admit it but before that didn’t know I had one. It is the part of your chest where your throat ends.

So the concern over the décolletage (where I can’t see anything wrong) leads to compulsion over other choice parts where the flaws are visible.  I now have a multi-step process regiment in the morning and evening.

I need to milk my youth and pliable skin while I can. If I make the right choices now, I may buy a few less lines and wrinkles. And that is important for someone like me who had children later in life.

Working Mom Guilt reduced with a blender

14 Dec

When my husband came home from Costco with Vitamix 5200, it sat in the middle of our kitchen in the box for three days. He was having buyers remorse and was nervous about the money spent on a blender. He loves a good sales presentation and got sold. I was skeptical and not supportive, but I finally said just take it out and let’s see what it can do.

We used it to make ice cream (it spins so fast it creates extreme cold or heat depending on the item in the machine), soups and smoothies. We used it a lot during the summer but use trailed off as the novelty wore off.

The Vitamix and Annabel Karmel’s 100 Baby Purees has helped relieve some of the guilt attributed to working outside the home and not seeing my children for long periods of time.

The Vitamix is an amazing machine and makes it super easy to make the purees. Maddie and Sammy eat homemade food. I make most of it and our nanny does the rest. The babies eat everything from beef to lentils, from broccoli to tofu, from berries to sweet potatoes.   While I’m at work, I know they are heating healthy food without preservatives and very little salt or sugar.

I never considered doing this for our first child. The work involved seemed overwhelming
But now that I am in this I am finding it quite fun coming up with a new concoction. I have only had to throw out one batch. Barley and berries don’t mix that well.

I am going to milk it as long as I can, mixing up purees is much easier than figuring out what finger foods won’t choke them.

Mommy, does Santa Clause bring the Hanukkah presents?

3 Dec

My four year old daughter asked me this as she was doing the three day countdown to Hanukkah.  I’m Catholic and she is Jewish, as is my husband.  We made this decision a long time ago and so far it has been very easy. But when I got this question I couldn’t give her my parents response which always was, “don’t talk about presents Christmas is about baby Jesus’ birthday – not gifts!”  I still cringe  when I hear people getting excited purely because of presents.

I’m happy to report after the second night of Hanukkah she knows the gifts come from family and friends and that she will celebrate with mommy on Christmas.  However, I took the advice of many Jewish friends and family who said Hanukkah shouldn’t be that big of a deal and you shouldn’t go crazy with the gifts – do little things.  So far she is not impressed with her gifts of a book light (she “reads” in bed every night in the dark) and two Dr. Seuss Books.  “Mommy do you have any princess gifts?’

So for now it is about the presents and the lighting of the candles. Luckily I’ll have time to figure this out before her brother and sister can understand anything.  We’ll milk the time we have.