Tag Archives: husband

Little Moments

002I recently read a blog post by a friend, Tina Seitzinger; she shared some memories of her childhood. Then she shifted to wondering what her boys might remember from their family life. It got me to thinking about how motherhood is full of surprises and lots of small moments. There were times from when my son was really little that he will not likely remember. I used to dance with him in my arms to music videos. Mary J. Blige was an early favorite of his. Now he enjoys LMFAO and Maroon 5, among others.

The Tooth Fairy visits have been good. We’ve done brunch with the Easter Bunny and Santa and have taken photos, so those events should stick.

I have randomly taken him for donuts before school where we’ve sat together enjoying breakfast dates.

Sunday mornings our family often goes out for breakfast and his order is always Fruity Pebble pancakes.

“Movie nights” happen spontaneously—all it takes it some popcorn and dimming the lights in the living room. We have amassed a huge library of movies. Someday I hope to be able to get back to my regular viewing habits but I mostly get to all the G-rated and some PG-rated family entertainment these days. I think my son appreciates it.

My husband has been responsible for us venturing to places like the farm that our park district runs, or the Renaissance Faire that is open every summer. Our son’s fascination with knights and swords ensures we’ll be doing this for a while. We also caught a Civil War reenactment recently. It was complete with a battle and cannons.

My husband has also been good about getting involved in the t-ball practices while I was more into his one attempt at soccer. All in all, I like the balance that 001we’ve had in our participation. We’ve both volunteered at his school for some events, most recently, helping with a community garden.

Then, there have been ‘firsts’ like the first outing on a beach. It was Half Moon Bay, California.

What are some of your favorite family moments?

My Life Interrupted

The goal or theme of writing this blog was how I intended to make sure my life was balanced. I started a new job in October and as a result I have not been writing. I have been very busy at work and learning a great deal, and I did not have much more to give of myself when I got home. My son started kindergarten and we’ve been surprised to find we had homework every night. My priority was to help him with his assignments and by the end of the night I’ve been spent. Happily, we are seeing all sorts of progress in his reading and writing skills, and how he can illustrate his thoughts. We’ve also had our first two parent-teacher conferences. We’re watching him develop before our eyes.

I have a neighbor who is facing health issues and her husband was recently laid off from his job. As a result, she and I have discussed our mortality. We’re close in age and had our babies within two months of each other, so our lives have been on parallel paths. In recent days, there have been announcements of the deaths of a few famous people that also struck a nerve in me. The most stunning was a news story that Wall Street Journal author Jeff Zaslow died in a car accident. Aside from his newspaper work, his book, “The Last Lecture” was a favorite of mine. I found so many life lessons in it and felt the connection he had made with his subject (professor Randy Pausch). lastlecture_bookcvrHis writing was powerful. Then, to read that he was the father of three daughters and had just published another book made me stop short. We all go through life knowing it will end eventually but are rather blissfully unaware of when that might be. We presume we have decades but what if it turns out there are only months (or less) left for us? Would we do things differently?

I’m planning our first Spring Break vacation and it will be a trip to Los Angeles. A visit to Disneyland is on the agenda. My husband and I are hoping to surprise our son. We’ve seen those ads where kids are told about the destination and they go nuts. I’m not sure if we can hold out that long but we’re going to try. There are six weeks to go and we’re weakening. We have all this anticipation building for us and we do stop periodically because we want to remember to enjoy it as it happens. Taking too many pictures or having too many expectations may make it less fun in the end. But, it might just be magical.

Part of the fun of the So Cal trip is that I can hopefully see some friends who I have not seen in years. A former co-worker, college roommate, business associate—I hope we can squeeze them all in. Through social media, email and Christmas cards, we’ve managed to keep track of one another for many years but it would be really great to see people in person. Like the ad…we will be creating memories.

 

 

Why I don’t tweet about Bieber, Palin or Snooki

I do not like Justin Bieber.  My husband laughs at me because I cringe whenever Bieber is in the news.  I think he’s ok looking and his singing is also ok.  But why do I know who he is if he is just ok?

He performed on the Grammy awards show this year and has been the subject of a movie.  Is his life so extraordinary at age 17 that there is already a movie about him?  Truly, this drives me insane.  The proliferation of reality TV also celebrates the most average people and creates celebrities on a daily basis.  Recently it was reported that “Snooki,” from the Jersey Shore crew, was paid more to make an appearance by Rutgers University than Toni Morrison, the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, will be paid to speak at the upcoming commencement.  How is that justifiable?  Journalists die in the Middle East and we do not know their names.  Headlines run with Karadashian and we can identify those women.  Can we please avoid hyping mediocrity?

Countless people attend good schools, work hard, and do philanthropic work and yet do not rise above normal awareness.  A smaller percentage are truly gifted musicians, athletes or scholars and get some acclaim but what is annoying is the obscene amount of coverage those mediocre famous-for-being-famous types keep getting.  I mentioned Palin in the title here and I want to limit the word count on her.  I believe her 15 minutes were up a long time ago and I wish heads of state, other politicians and the media would simply ignore what she says at this point.

I fear that this trend reaches into our local communities.  Our children are awarded ribbons for merely participating in sports and such.  This is not a great life lesson.  Employers do not promote people just for showing up, one must exceed expectations/goals in order to get recognized and move up the corporate ladder.  So, I think we need to reinforce that concept early.  Some teams win, some lose.  Grades reflect different levels of learning and other honors should be limited to performance, too.

As I watch my son play Wii, I do get it that his self-esteem improves when he wins, and there is a lot of celebrating.  But I actually like to see him stick with it when he loses and tries again.  As a society we’ve gotten afraid of failure but in the end we probably learn more from challenges that we do from success.

Am I too intense about this?  Or do you also dislike mediocrity?



Red means stop, Green means go

red light
Funny how even simple activities become lessons now.  Both for me and my son.  It stands to reason that I have to drive my son to a number of activities.  He’s in my backseat and he makes himself known most of the time as he asks me questions or makes observations.  He comes up with plenty of his own commentary and then he mimics me.  He is not patient and neither am I, so he often asks me why I am stopped.  It is obvious to me, that the light is red, so I cannot move forward but this took some time for him to understand.  I’ve also realized that his view from the backseat is a little different than mine, so sometimes he is looking at the signals for the turning lane or other traffic.  He’s starting to get the flow but then he also is showing some competitiveness. This is when I also learned about what I am teaching him.

I had to explain to my husband the other day, after our son was telling him to get ahead of someone, that when I am driving I sort of race the other cars.  So, when the light turns green I pick other cars to “pass” and my son cheers me on from the back seat.  It’s not like I am actually racing at an insane speed, it is just that I don’t like to be behind slow drivers and as I get past one, I enjoy a little victory.  There, I admitted it.  My son has witnessed it often enough that he now enjoys the game too.  Plus, I explained that it is a life lesson: we should play to win.  My husband thinks we should enjoy the trip.  Nope.  I want to win.

Creative Commons License photo credit: TheTruthAbout…

I do PR

I think PR is one of the most misunderstood and/or not known professions.  I’ve been asked what I do by friends and family and when I say “PR” the reactions vary but more often than not, I get a blank, somewhat dazed sort of look.  So, then I might offer an explanation of the stories in the newspaper or on television were likely set up by someone like me.  We pitch companies/products/services/executives to reporters to tell a story.  That is a really simple way of putting it but it provides a tangible example that most people should be familiar with and hopefully understand.

Here’s the thing: there are so many more facets to the job on a daily basis.  And, depending on the company we can get called upon to help on a myriad of tasks ranging from internal communications, community relations, event planning, town hall meetings, etc.  Of course, the growth of the Internet has also helped my job description to expand to a host of other tasks: responding to consumers online, website content management, social media monitoring, etc.  The news cycle now is 24/7 and stories can be posted at anytime.  The traditional, close of business day deadlines are less common.  Then, there are those crisis management issues that arise out of no where.

My professional counterparts  add to the problem by using different terms and insisting upon drawing various distinctions.  Marketing communications (“MarCom”), corporate communications, integrated marketing communications (“ICM”), media relations, public relations, etc.  Do we really need to argue over “having a seat at the table” where we can “be strategic partners” with the executives in the company when we can’t figure out what to call ourselves?

In my more in-depth conversations with my husband I share that at the end of the day, I will continue to roll over in my head the conversations I had with reporters or how announcements will be received and I wonder about the impact of my actions.  You see, for most people if they screw up on their jobs, they worry about their bosses discovering it.  My mistakes will be public.  The audience size grows now that articles live on the Internet and they do not go away.

Adding to the confusion, though, is the use of the term “PR” by people in conversation when it may not be pertaining to my profession.  How often do I hear “that was good PR.”  And often it is a mixture of promotions or advertising being discussed.  Certainly situations like the BP Oil spill bring into focus a PR disaster for all to see.  The analysis of how the company did or did not address concerns and the missteps along the way might actually educate more about the function.

I was reading someone else’s blog today and it made reference to a recent ranking of the most stressful jobs in America.  It was actually reassuring that mine is among the top ten according to this study.  I’m not sure if that will bring me any sympathy, or better awareness by friends or family, but at least I can validate those nights when insomnia strikes.  I’m not alone.

TMI

I’ve been in various conversations with colleagues about social media and how much information people share.  It seems that “Millennials” are accustomed to being online and posting nearly everything.  However, it has been shown that more employers are checking social networks before making hiring decisions.  All that information can cost people job offers.

Then, there is the issue of sharing personal stories and/or pictures of friends and family.  I may think about this too much because of my job in public relations.  I have had to secure releases from people who agree to let a company use their name and/or likeness before I can issue a press release or photo with caption.  I look through online albums (especially in Facebook) and I wonder how many friends knew they would end up online after attending a party?

I am particularly conservative with my son and husband.  That’s how I refer to them—not by name.  I figure if someone knows my family, they’ll know them.  Since my son is only 4, he is also too young to consent to having his image all over my page.   When I do include him, it is typically a profile shot or his face is otherwise obscured.  Or, I’ll wait a while and include a photo after he has already grown and changed a bit.  Do I overthink this?  Perhaps, but I also am too aware of the many creeps out there who might misuse my personal details.  I would rather not risk it.

That being said, there is a wide range of people linked to me and we all need to decide for ourselves how much to share.  Do you use Foursquare?  When you check in, do you let that information go out to all your friends and twitter network?  Sometimes I do, sometimes not.  I’ll occasionally use it to indicate why I’m offline for a while.  I’ll also check in as I am leaving someplace rather than arriving.  I guess I don’t mind people knowing where I have been.  I don’t necessarily use it to meet up spontaneously.

If you are on LinkedIn, do you post your Twitter updates there, as well?  I tend to think that is too much information and the communities are different, so I don’t link the two.  I’ve seen others with an often-updated status and I wonder what the benefit is of doing that.  If you have had success by connecting your networks this way, I’d like to know about it.  Otherwise, I tend to agree with Chris Brogan, who recently suggested there ought to be limits to that sort of thing.

In the end, I think we all share the desire to engage and create relationships.  How we go about is still open to interpretation.  I think that is what I like the best about social media: it affords us all the ability to chart our own path and use it how we like.