Monday, November 23, 2009

Seth Godin is ScreamFree

I love me some Seth Godin. He just knows his stuff. His blog post today - as it is every day - is about online marketing...and life. It is remarkably ScreamFree and I think it's worth your time.

He is discussing the best ways to LOSE an online argument. I think his rules are pretty applicable for OFFLINE arguments as well...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

One, Small. Change

So, I'm one of those people who can easily go all day long and ingest one cup of coffee in the morning, one diet coke at lunch, and one glass of wine at night. I know, I know, it's horrible. In fact, if the house is especially quiet at night, you can hear my kidneys crying softly to themselves.

So, in an effort to be healthier and set a better example for my kids (who, regrettably are following my footsteps) I am trying to drink more water. I know it sounds like an easy thing to do. And for those of you out there who always carry a water bottle around with you and "just can't get enough" of the liquid nectar of the gods - shut up. Don't judge me. I wish I could be like you - all perky and...hydrated. But alas, I struggle. Mightily.

I've tried flavored pouches and I've tried the stupid looking milk jug size sippi cup. I've bought every single type of trendy water container known to mankind with the hopes that it would inspire me to guzzle the stuff. But they don't. The truth of the matter is that I get intimidated by the sheer amount that I'm supposed to drink. Conventional wisdom says 2 liters a day. A TWO LITER BOTTLE FILLED WITH WATER??? IN ONE DAY???? You might as well ask me to drink the contents of my bath tub. Here's a straw Jenny. Go ahead. You can do it.

It struck me the other day that many parents feel this same way about changing their way of dealing with stress. They've been yellers for so long - or conflict avoiders - or overeaters - you name it - that they feel overwhelmed by the prospect of change. I get that. I really do.

I actually made some progress this week with my new habit. I decided to but the 2 liter image out of my mind completely and focus on one small cup instead. I chose a nice little tumbler (a longhorn one of course) and filled it about halfway when I first woke from bed. Drinking that little glass of water was a breeze. Then I filled it halfway again. Every time I switched activites - from the computer to a meeting, or on my way to carpool - I drank my little glass of water. Before I knew it, I had met my quota and it was only mid afternoon. I was more thirsty that day than I can ever remember.

I know I've got a long way to go in this department, but at least it doesn't feel impossible now that I'm trying it one small change at a time.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Reason to Clean???

Let me start this post by saying this. I am not a clean freak. I do not have a cleaning schedule. You cannot eat off of my floors (well, I suppose you could, but you would be taking your life into your own hands if you did). But I will say this - when I am feeling agitated, depressed, or stressed out...there is nothing that makes me feel better than a good cleaning session.

There's something about the clean, fresh smell of a newly scrubbed kitchen that makes me feel like I can conquer the world. I think I inherited this from my mother who does what I call "scrub therapy". To this day, you can predict her mood based on the ferocity with which she attacks her kitchen counters.

At any rate, I ran across a short article in Time detailing an interesting fact related to my thoughts here that I wanted to share. As it turns out, most psychologists agree that washing is an effective way of alleviating guilt. ( consequence for the kiddos, methinks....)

A team at BYU wanted to see if this hypothesis would work in reverse. Could you regulate ethical behavior through cleanliness? They conducted experiments involving Citrus scented Windex. As it turns out, participants were much more likely to act with kindness and charity once being exposed to that smell versus (wait for it....) a room scented with "fart-spray".

So, the moral of the story? Bust out the cleaning supplies and do some scrubbing WITH your kids - and the benefits will go far beyond a squeaky clean countertop.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Willing vs. Wanting

There is a book that I love called The Energy of Money by Maria Nemeth, Ph.D. It is a fantastic read and it encompasses way more than money management. There is one section that I'm re-reading because I desperately need to do so.

It is called "Willing vs. Wanting". In it, Nemeth says, "You can be willing to do something you don't want to do. You can have all sorts of opinions and distracting thoughts and still be willing to take action when it's necessary." She claims that successful people are the ones who are willing to do the things that they sometimes don't want to do.

Well that's no fun. But it is helpful and most of us do it on a daily basis with our parenting. Most of us are willing to set consequences and enforce them even though we don't like doing so. And most of us are willing to stay up late into the night with a sick little one even though we'd rather be counting sheep. Frankly, we wouldn't even think twice about it.

So, here's the million dollar question. How is it that we can recognize the value of willing vs. wanting with our children, but we neglect it when it comes to ourselves? If I don't want to exercise, you'd better believe that I'll find plenty of reasons why I "can't". Don't have the right work out clothes. Don't want to take two showers today. Didn't make a new playlist on the old ipod. Just ate two pounds of chocolate from the halloween stash and I wouldn't want to kill a good sugar buzz.

How much happier and more fulfilled would we be if we treated ourselves to this bit of wisdom? I don't know, but I'm willing to give it a try.

Monday, November 2, 2009

What's in a Name

I ran across this little article and thought it was worth sharing. It is written by a mom of a seventh grader, so I immediately related to it. In it, she talks about the shifting monikers that our children give us. Sometimes we are mamma, mommy, mom, or my personal favorite.. "MOTHERRRRR!!!!"

Check it out for a giggle.