Monday, October 9, 2017

Why moms love Laura Joffe Numeroff stories so much

Mom life: if you give a mom a reminder to take her vitamin, she'll realize she needs a drink to take it. So she'll get her cup and see her plate that needs to be washed. So she washes her plate and finds other cups that need to be washed, and washes them. Then she sees that the counters are gross and wipes them clean. She swept crumbs to the floor so that means she has to sweep the floor. She goes to empty the dustpan, and finds the trash is full. She pulls the trash bag and takes it outside to the collection bin. She returns to put a new bag in the kitchen trash can. Then she sees the splats the kids left behind and mops the floor (swiffer wet jet, really). Then she remembers she came to the kitchen to take her vitamins before bed and finally takes them 20 minutes later.

Moms love Numeroff stories so much because moms can freaking RELATE. Well played, Laura, well played.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

So, we did a thing....

As many of you may recall, we had a pregnancy loss in 2015 that knocked us for a big loop. It was a winding and arduous journey to healing enough to function on the most basic level. We grew our family unintentionally as it were, and out of it has come great adventure. Imagine some of our surprise, when a year and a half later, that we learned that we were expecting another little person!
Because of our loss, we waited with bated breath for labs and scans to confirm it was in fact a potentially viable pregnancy. I didn't trust my body to do things the same way at 40 as it did even at 37. We were too scared to announce anything outside of precious few who we trusted with the news, and knew would be supportive of what ever came of the pregnancy. Add to it, the family size comments we garnered previously, and there was just little room for dealing with the kind of garbage that comes from negative opinions. Every pregnancy has been darkened by something, and our hearts just didn't have the capacity for more of it. The decision was made that we'd keep it off social media and basically keep it quiet till we couldn't. We told the kids at Christmas, and were met with a variety of reactions from them. As the pregnancy progressed, I kept a photo journal of weekly bump pictures. And by Easter, there was pretty much NO more hiding it at all. If anyone asked, I wasn't going to deny it, but I still wasn't going about intentionally announcing it either. And for once, aside from the keeping it quiet, we were able to enjoy this pregnancy. We didn't have to deal with the barrage of comments fraught with other people's opinions. And that has become part of our healing. We didn't even tell family members outside of our kids and my husband's parents.

Digital card

Then I was gifted an opportunity to model for a photographer, and the session was on my due date. I have not ever been able to do something like this, and fully expecting that this really *is* our last baby, I was excited for the chance to document it with something better than bathroom selfies and pictures taken by my kids.

Image may contain: 1 person, ocean, sky, outdoor and water

And here I am now, typing this from the hospital with a freshly hatched mini human beside me who is our Rainbow Baby. She was born on Friday the 14th, and we are embarking on this new leg of our family's journey. She's an opinionated little stinker and getting her here was its own adventure. We're hooked up to phototherapy lights at the moment due to some elevated bilirubin.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Of the offense and the rebuke

We have this Bible verse in play lately:
15But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother.

It seems  that I have this penchant for pissing off people in some way or another in the past many months. I've either said or done something that has offended someone somewhere. It was not intentional, but it stinks knowing you've upset someone - especially a friend. I am generally not a people pleaser, so it's not related to that aspect of things. Nor am I just guns blazing give no craps who gets upset with me either. 
But I've long been aware that I am at risk for hurting someone's feelings or offending their sensibilities. I do try to keep it in check, but sometimes, it happens anyway. And most of the time, my friends know they can just tell me that I've done as much and we can work through the situation. However, there are times someone who doesn't know me that well (or maybe at all) finds something I've said or done offending to them, and they won't say anything. I can't say if it's a fear of causing an uproar, an attempt to remain civil/polite, or they don't have the fortitude and courage to just confront me about the situation. 
The problem becomes then that they're harboring a resentment toward me, and I'm clueless to it. I can't own my mistake and attempt to rectify it if that person doesn't own their upset with me and tell me it happened. I have a relative who hated me for years based on the word of their mother, who was unhappy with me. Neither addressed their grievance directly with me, and still have not. Those 2 people absolutely do own their problem with me until they make it my problem. I can't fix it without their involvement. I don't know if they are still upset with me or not, and it's been about 23 years since it all started. When they decide to talk to me about it, we can do something. But until they do, it is still their ball bouncing in their court. 
Most recently, I posted something on Facebook, and told of someone else's situation, and a reflection of things. It was an emotionally charged thing in my realm. However this other person took it as making their situation about me. Instead of directly confronting me, there was a vaguebook post made about it, and the ire demonstrated there. I privately apologized, explaining that I would not ever seek to usurp their situation as my own. This person said they'd been bothered by my relating their story on previous occasions and asked that I not do that anymore. 
Oh good gravy, if this person had just told me the FIRST time they were uncomfortable with me telling of their story, I would have never done it again. Instead, this person harbored resentment and lashed out about it. Well, what was already a charged thing for me became more so because the hurt I thought I'd caused originally was no where near what the cause of hurt actually was. Now we've got other things at play. In addition to remorse for offending someone, there's now annoyance because they opted not to address it immediately and privately, ignored me completely when I attempted to make contact along the way which left me believing that they had something else going on, and then it blew up loudly. What would have only been briefly awkward, may be such permanently now.  
So, if you have a grievance, there really is merit to addressing it in a timely manner, and directly to the person who has committed it upon you. If you need moral support, then utilize it as needed. But don't let it fester and brew for so long that it becomes this severing explosion. And if anyone truly knows me, then they surely know they can come to me to express a problem exists. I'm not such a hardass that I can't see where I have made a mistake, and I'm not so callous that I can't or won't attempt to make amends. And even if we aren't good friends, that still stands. My skin is not so thin that someone saying I've done something to upset them is going to cause me to behave badly. Yes, I might be upset at first and my kneejerk reaction may not be initially what either of us expect. But I am willing and capable of working through my reactions, sorting through where the offended is coming from with their problem with me, and attempting to make amends or politely parting ways as the situation merits. 
Just don't sit there and be offended and tell everyone else about it, BUT the person who needs to hear it first and foremost.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Trickling down, around, forward, abound

My husband used to work at Home Depot. He impressed the store manager so much that 9 months after he got there, he was promoted to manager. You need to know that my husband has always been a leader, it's one of those natural born traits he has. A few of our kids have that gift as well. But before he could officially promote, this store manager required that every new promotee read Cmdr Michael Abrashoff's book It's Your Ship first. That was how they were to run their departments because that was how she wanted the store run. Apparently he was so good that every time she transferred him to a different department, she got minimum 15 requests from people around the store to transfer to that department. They wanted to work for him. Seriously, it was crazy and the managers who were there before him and operating on different mindsets couldn't handle it.

He took his Marine Corps training, his natural leadership skills, and his DILLIGAF of what anyone thought about him, blended with this approach, and it was golden. He rarely had to write up anyone after a single corrective conversation. He had people seeking him out for various things. Customers would drive an hour just to find out if he was there and turn around if he wasn't because they didn't want to talk to anyone else. Employees begged to work in his department. I've rarely seen anything like it, but if more people operated like that, the world would be a more productive and happier place to work.

He got moved to garden center during peak season, not having much knowledge of actual gardening. He mowed the grass too short every time and did things that made me crazy. Our yard left a lot to be desired, and that's all I'm going to say about it. But he's always been willing to learn and try, so he did. He had a part time associate working for him who was there to fill a job gap and make some extra money. They were working together one day, and the other guy was spotting for my husband on a forklift, making sure customers kept clear of the area and that my husband was warned of problems and safety issues. My husband asked the other guy if he wanted to learn how to operate it. The guy said "nah, I'm an admin kind of dude." My husband told him he couldn't screw up anything on it and that it was easy enough, almost like a video game joystick. He taught this associate how to operate the machine, and helped him gain the company's required certifications to operate the machines. That was around 2008 or 2009.

Fast forward to the past year, where my husband was able to secure a job that has been a bit of a dream for us. He was working on something, and recognized a guy in the vicinity and kept wondering where he knew him. Meanwhile this other guy was wondering the same about my husband. Finally someone said something. And they reconnected. My husband is easy to remember, hard to forget.

They got to talking and the other guy told my husband that he left working with a relative because things were not going well and now owns a forklift rental company. And it all started because my husband took the time to share knowledge, and he handled customer service differently, and led by example in a way that other managers didn't. My husband would explain the why and how behind a company decision and the results it would have when associates followed those instructions. He taught them how to read reports and understand the operational side of the store beyond just getting product in the customers' hands. The other guy even said that when he's talking to people about how to do things within his business, he uses my husband's name saying "He knows how to take care of customers AND coworkers."

It absolutely made my husband's day, and it made my day to hear about it. One simple action, one small gesture, one shift in behavior is all it takes to be different. And you do different well enough, you influence others to be different too. And when you empower your employees, they want to work for you. When you keep your employees happy, they can keep the customers happy. Small influences have big impact. If my husband had not been willing to share his knowledge, this young man would have never thought he could have the option to own forklifts and rent them out to people. He would have continued thinking "nah, I'm just an admin guy" and kept looking for desk jobs. Instead, he took his "admin guy" experiences, his customer service experiences at Home Depot, the business knowledge he probably learned from my husband, and he put it together in his own business.

Know that every choice you make not only impacts you, but it impacts others. Every action you take yields a result you'll never see or know. Occasionally, you get really blessed and someone shares how your influence impacted them. And it's ridonkulously cool when they tell you that because of your influence, they have had some amazing experiences. The trickle is there, all you have to do is listen for it and let it flow.