Morning Routines of Regular Moms

First of all, thank you to 4boysmother Facebook fan Jennifer Hoen Dotson for making sure I saw this Forbes article,  knowing I would have some sarcastic lovely words to put together in response to, well, the pure insanity.  Now onto the "The Morning Routines of 12 Women Leaders." What in the actual EFF is this?  Has being just an average regular mom for the last 16 years  left me somewhere underneath the rock of success and womanly leadership? Nope. That’s not it. Because I believe the average (and let’s just make sure to highlight average) SAHM or working mom can in no way honestly and genuinely relate to some of these morning routines. And really, why should they? What is the big deal about a successful person’s morning routine anyway? We are all doing the best we can. Can we just stop giving props to unattainable and unrealistic expectations?  Chances are we already feel inadequate enough about what and who we feel we are failing, so please don’t make another deposit into the guilt bank. Forbes, what is real female success? Well, I consider myself pretty darn successful (at least in my family’s eyes, and truly, who else matters) but my mornings look nothing like this. Nada. No way, no how. Now don’t get me wrong, because some mornings I totally kill it mom wise. There are hot balanced and healthy breakfasts, perfectly packed lunches, no lost shoes, keys, or homework. There are calm voices and peace and harmony in the pre-dawn hours. But in reality, that is not our normal morning routine. That is an anomaly.  As a matter of fact, when the morning routine is actually going smoothly, I get a sense of, “Why is everyone quiet? When is the morning meltdown bomb going to go off?”  And then I sit and wait for it. Tick. Tick. Tick. BOOM goes the chaos. Anyway,  thank you Forbes, for teaching me that to be an ‘extraordinary woman”  I should “adhere to a strict routine.” Hey, nothing against these women. Clearly, they are a success in their own right.  They have big careers and they strive to be the best, including the best in the morning. Me? Yep. I am sooo on that right now because really, I’m just like them. Aren’t you?

Let’s compare….

Superfood Stacey 
She rises at 4:45 butt crack o’clock, then eats hot quinoa and does  an hour “or so” of ashtanga yoga. What. In. Sam. Hell. is ashtanga yoga? Even on those mornings I can’t friggin sleep anyway choose to get up early and run before the kids get up, it is ugly. Ugly, as in, I am swearing while I am lacing up my shoes, I swear while tripping over legos on my way to kitchen, I swear while preparing my hot quinoa coffee, I swear all the way down the damn road. Peaceful yoga? I wish. Stacey then serves her kiddos green milk (don’t ask, but it involves steamed baby spinach and coconuts) while she gets dressed. My kids wolf down breakfast in 47 seconds, hence forcing me to get dressed in the same amount of time- so really, I just don’t.  Good thing black yoga pants double as pajamas, day wear, afternoon wear, and easily transition back into evening wear pajamas again. Forget the 24 hour bra, let’s thank the 24 hour pant that will never, ever, actually see a yoga mat. 

Meet Leslie, the “CFO.” 
God bless Leslie, who wakes up and immediately expresses in prayer how thankful she is to have woken up that day. Ok, I can’t fault her for that. And shame on me for not having the same exact thoughtful feeling every morning, but I just don’t. Mostly, my eyes pop open and my first thought is, “NO WAY it is morning. I felt like I slept five minutes,” followed with “Holy crap they are up. And they are hungry.” During her morning routine, Leslie writes two "networking notes, a follow up note, and a new connection note."  Hey me too! I write a note to the high school begging them to please give my kids lunch today, even though I am $50 in the hole with their lunch accounts (note to self, add $) then I network and make connections with, you guessed it, the meat manager at the grocery store, my UPS man, and friends on Facebook who I have not seen in person for 20 years. I am a networking ninja. 

Nell, the name dropper. 
Our next super successful morning ass kicker is a TV writer, currently working on the film adaptation of the book “Lean In.”  You heard that right, now let it marinate.  So Nell rolls out of bed and slides on some “John Eshaya" sweatpants. I had to Google those, to see why someone would refer to sweatpants by their designer name, and got a quick fashionista education in all things fleece. Turns out, when you pay $116 for sweats, I guess you feel you gotta let everyone know. Nell then makes herself some “fair trade” coffee and eats a “Zen Bakery” muffin. It’s vegan, just in case you were wondering. On Thursday mornings,  she makes homemade crepes and customizes them for each family member, with fresh toasted pecans. Fresh. Toasted. Pecans. Then it is on to the exercise machine, which is the "only place" she watches TV. (Oh hell no Nell, not the treadmill TV! Can't you just lay down for three days straight and binge watch Pretty Little Liars with me, please?) After maybe 80 minutes of cardio TV, it's off to a coffee shop to write. How lovely. (I am currently hiding in the bathroom, sitting on the toilet seat writing this.) 

Claudia, has no kids. And this would explain why her morning routine includes deep meditation, and writing down in detail all that she will accomplish that day, as well as “miracles to expect,” and the “attitude I will lead with.” Oh sweetie pie, my dear Claudia, brace yourself for babies hunny, when the only miracle you will expect for the day is not having poop shoot out the back of a diaper, and the attitude you will lead with will be the '360 degree head turning screaming mama, veins popping out of her unwashed head, shoving everyone out the door in the morning' mama.  No worries, you won't need a life coach to get you to that head spinning point.  I promise, like crap up and out the back of a diaper, it will all come out naturally. 

In all seriousness, cheers to these working women kicking ass at the start of their day. I mean honestly, kudos to you if you can embrace your morning like this. Women who work full time and have children are insanely strong, there is no denying that. But for me, the problem with the Forbes article is all in its tone. It glamorizes and sanitizes the day to day morning routines we all struggle with. If I worked full time and read this article, I would be beyond annoyed and disappointed with myself. But working or staying home,  this is not how things go everyday. This may be how some days are, but honestly, this is not how I would want all my mornings to be. Maybe it’s just my family,  but we thrive in the chaos. Sure, it gets me down, it is mind numbingly exhausting, but I am doing the best I can with the day that God lays before me. Our family morning routine may include moments with plenty of bickering, nothing in the pantry to eat for breakfast, no amazing workouts, meditative reflections, or spiritual journal writing and task listing.  But we try to laugh a lot, and amidst the hectic minutes, I try to breath and process that this too shall pass. I may not get to drink hot coffee today, but dammit, according to every Grandma I have ever met, when the kids all leave the nest, I will be drinking all the hot coffee I want, then crying that I am alone. (Still don’t believe this, but I’m trying.) So when you see me in the morning, in my 24 hour yoga pants, and I see you wearing the same, I am gonna give you the “My morning sucked too” head nod, and then we are gonna go our separate ways, hoping we do it better tomorrow morning. And if not, whatever,  the pants can do 48 hours. Trust me. I’ve done it.

5 Ways to Support St. Jude Children's Research Hospital This Holiday Season

In the heart of Memphis, TN, in a seemingly industrial pocket of town, rises a beacon of hope for thousand of families and their children fighting the battle of their life. Standing tall and ready to help win this battle, is the campus of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital®. It is here, where families from around the globe arrive in the darkest days of their parenting, are met with the promise of hope. St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children.  Consistent with the vision of its Founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion, or a family's ability to pay. All of a family's medical treatment, travel, housing, and food are all covered.  In simple terms, they never see a bill. Ever.  This holiday season, as you gather around your healthy children amidst the hustle and bustle of celebrations and traditions, consider supporting the mission to help ensure a beacon of hope remains for families fighting catastrophic illnesses in their children.  Make that mission St. Jude. 

Here are five ways to support St. Jude this holiday season.

 1. Walk (or run) for St. Jude

On Saturday, November 22, supporters in more than 65 communities across the country will participate in the St. Jude Give thanks. Walk. This exciting, family-friendly event helps raise funds to support the lifesaving mission of St. Jude. You can join an existing team, or start your own and set up a personalized fundraising website. Running events include next month's 13th annual St. Jude Memphis Half and Full Marathon held on December 6, and the The St. Jude Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon to be held April 2015.  Raise money, lace up your shoes, and become a family's hero. 

2. Eat Out

The season lends itself to rushed days and jam packed calendars, making home cooked meals often hard to come by. By choosing to support  restaurants that partner with St. Jude, like Dominoes, Chili's and the Melting Pot, you can eat out and know that your purchase directly supports the mission. These restaurants, as well as many others,  are also partners in the Thanks and Giving® campaign, where monetary donations that go directly to St. Jude are easily added onto your dining bill. Look for the bright green Thanks and Giving® signs. And while I am talking about Thanks and Giving®...

3. Go Out Shopping


You have to holiday shop, so do it with a much deeper and possibly life saving purpose. On November 24, St. Jude will kick off their annual Thanks and Giving® Campaign. In 2004, Marlo, Terre and Tony Thomas created Thanks and Giving®, a national campaign that encourages holiday shoppers to "Give thanks for the healthy kids in your life, and give to those who are not."  During the St. Jude Thanks and Giving® campaign, many of America's most respected companies partner with St. Jude, and  want to make it easy for their customers to give thanks this holiday season, by making donations quickly and easily right at the register.  Then head over to Thanks and Giving® to print out your St. Jude Give Thanks sign, tell the world what you are thankful for this holiday season, then share on social media. Use the hashtag #StJudeGiveThanks. Together, let's get gratitude to go viral. 

4. Stay Home and Shop

It's cold out. You're already in your pajamas. The mall is crazy. Enter the Home Shopping Network This is the 10th year HSN has supported St. Jude, and with your help, they hope to reach $10 million in donations this season. Bedazzle your Christmas tree this year with the HSN Cares heART Designer Ornament Collection.  100% of the profits, no less than 30% of the purchase price of each ornament,  will be donated to St. Jude. The special sale runs through January 31, 2015. Shop on Amazon? No problem. Through Amazon's Smile program, choose St. Jude as your charity of choice at Amazon, and a portion of your purchase goes directly to St. Jude. Several other participating online retailers will offer a St. Jude donation link on their check out pages. 

5. Trim the virtual St. Jude tree and purchase a St. Jude ornament

Grab your kids and head over to the St. Jude Holiday Cheer Tree where they can design and personalize an ornament to be hung on the St. Jude virtual tree. Choose design, color, and then add your family's personal message to be shared with the children of St. Jude. There are also a variety of Christmas gifts, ornaments,  and holiday greeting cards featuring patient inspired art at the St. Jude Gift Shop. 100% of sales go directly to St. Jude.

This holiday season, commit yourself to giving to the moms, dads, and children at St. Jude. Whether you choose to shop with your heart, dine out with your heart, walk with your heart, or simply give with your heart, just GIVE. St. Jude doctors, researchers, parents, and the most precious of all, its patients, all thank you.