Insanity of Motherhood

Motherhood, marriage, and midlife.


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I Totally Get It Rene

Last week I was scrolling through a news site on my computer when a story caught my eye.  It wasn’t news about Ebola or the bombing of ISIS in Iraq.  It was a celebrity story about actress Rene Zellweger.  Rene Zellweger is an academy award-winning actress best known for her work in the films Bridget Jones Diary and Jerry Maguire.  She has always been considered a talented actress and one of Hollywood’s beautiful leading ladies.

For the last few years Rene has not been in the spotlight or in any feature films.  No one knows for sure why, but many suspect she needed a break from the pressure of Hollywood and fame.  Recently, Rene made a rare public appearance during a social event.  At the event she looked different.  She looked so different that some speculated she had plastic surgery to alter her looks.

I came across an article featured on The Atlantic titled, “Questions for Rene Zellweger“, by Megan Garber.   In the article Ms. Garber lists several questions she has for Rene.  She wonders about Rene’s appearance and why she looks different.  The article was supposed to emphasize Ms. Garber’s concern for Rene, as she is obviously a fan of hers, however her personal questions came off intrusive and judgmental.

Years ago I was one of those people who would have judged others for having age reversal procedures done such as Botox and plastic surgery.  I told myself I would only grow old the natural way and would never resort to doing things that would alter my appearance.  However, that was when I was younger.

Aging is not an easy process to go through. We are all grateful for the gift of growing older, but it is still hard to accept how much our bodies change over time.  It must be even more difficult for people who live their lives in the public eye who are expected to look a certain way.  I don’t know Rene Zellweger , nor do I know if she has recently had some sort of plastic surgery to alter her looks, but I would totally get it if she did.

I have heavy-lidded, small almond-shaped eyes like Rene.  I have contemplated many times having surgery to remove some of the skin on my upper lids.  Having surgery would not only make me look younger, but would allow my eyes to seem more open and alert especially in photos.

The reason I will not have the surgery isn’t because I think I should age naturally, but frankly because I don’t think I could go through the public scrutiny of having surgery and dealing with other people’s judgment for doing so.  Changing the shape of my eyes would make me look very different.   Knowing people were analyzing my reasons for the surgery would be too uncomfortable.  So as a result my eyes will stay the same.

Imagine going to a social function and having your face being analyzed by millions of people instead of hearing that people are glad you’re back to making movies.  Plastic surgery has a place in our society and so do all the products designed to make us look more attractive and younger.

I know several women who have had plastic surgery everything from a brow lift, eye lid lift, breast reduction, breast enhancement, chemical peel, nose job, and full face lift.  Do I think less of them for having surgery?  No.  Each person made a decision that felt right for them.  Do I wish we lived in a society that didn’t make women feel the pressure to look different than they already do?  Yes.  Women of all ages feel the pressure to be thin, dress stylishly, and look young and frankly sometimes if would be nice not to worry about how you look all the time.

Why does it matter if Rene has had surgery to make her eyes seem more open?  Why do we care if she had Botox to smooth her forehead?  How does judging a person’s choice for how they want to look make a positive difference in my life?  The answer is simple…it doesn’t.

I must finally be a grown up because now I believe decisions made that have no impact on other people are frankly none of my business.

Leave Rene alone, folks.  Stop talking about her face.  Let her get back to work and doing what she is good at…making movies.

Rene

 


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20 Questions

I love fashion magazines.  My favorite fashion magazine is Marie Claire.  My oldest sister has subscribed me to the magazine for years.  Marie Claire is a high fashion magazine. It shares ideas for how to put together a fabulous outfit, as well as what the make up trends are, and usually features a high-profile celebrity on the cover.

One of my favorite sections of the magazine is in the very back.  On the last page there is always a section titled, 20 Questions.  It features an interview with a celebrity consisting of 20 questions.  The way the celebs answer the questions always cracks me up.  The answers are so prepared.  No one I know answers questions the way celebrities do.

Today I thought I would answer the March issues’ 20 Question section myself.  You could pick up a copy of the magazine and read Sarah Jessica Parker’s responses, but you already know everything about her.  My answers will be the real deal.  No pre-preparing ahead of time.

20 Questions

What brings you the greatest joy?

My husband.  I would have said my children, but they make me nuts sometimes. Besides my husband is the one who helped me create my kids.

What are your vices?

Wine and lipstick.  They go together.  You drink wine and the lipstick stays on the glass, so you have to reapply.

What is on your nightstand?

I don’t have one.  I have my husband’s dresser that is covered with books I never have time to read.

What is your greatest indulgence?

Eating out.  I love eating out. I would be happy to never eat a meal cooked by me again.

What should every woman try at least once in her life?

A Brazilian wax.  Just kidding.  No one should ever try that.  I think every woman should travel out of their country.

What makes me laugh?

My kids.  My boys are funny guys.  They make me laugh almost as much as they make me yell.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

If I could do a career do over I would be involved in the theater. I was a theater minor in college and loved it.

What is on your bucket list?

I have so many things on my list, but the top of the list would be travel to Chile and be a grandmother.

What is on your feet right now?

Boots and yellow socks.

How did you make your first dollar?

I sold Burpee seeds to neighbors as a kid.  I walked door to door selling seeds.  I did pretty well too.  I made three bucks.

What superstition to do you believe in?

If you throw away a good photo of someone you love, something bad will happen to them.

What items in your closet do you wear the most?

Jeans.  I have over 10 pairs of jeans.  I love denim in an unusual way.

What is the best gift you have ever received?

My boys.  I love them so, so much.  They have brought me more joy than any material item I have every owned.

What is on your liquor shelf?

Nothing.  I don’t have a liquor shelf.

What is on your kitchen counter?

Dirty dishes from breakfast.  I decided to write a blog instead of clean the kitchen today.

What would you never leave home without?

Lipstick or lip gloss.  I can’t function without color or moisture on my lips.

What movie has the greatest ending?

Shawshank Redemption.  This movie is one of my all time favorites.  The ending is perfect.

Who is on your guest list for dinner?

My siblings and their spouses, in-laws, my father and his wife, the boys godparents, former neighbors, parents of the boys’ friends from school, former roommate and his girlfriend, childhood friend and her family, my boys, and Bette Midler.   Bette would be the entertainment.

What is the one thing you wish you had known when you were younger?

Stop holding onto anger and move on.  I wasted too much time in my youth being upset with people.


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Seven Day Preparation for the New Year

Yesterday I read something that inspired me.  It was a post from a friend on Facebook reminding people to prepare for the new upcoming year.

I don’t usually treat the new year with much fanfare, but this year I decided to try something different.  I created a way to prepare myself, so I can really get things off to a great start.

Seven Day Preparation for the New Year

Day 1:  Remove material excess.  Donate.

After celebrating Christmas the first thing I do is clear out unused items.  I don’t like how commercial Christmas has become and my way counteracting materialism is to get rid of stuff.

My husband and I used to hold an annual January garage sale, but found donating our unused items to be better.  I always tell my boys, “If you aren’t using something (clothes, books, toys, etc.) someone else will”. When unused items are out of the house we appreciate the our new gifts more and know we are helping someone is need.

Day 2:  Review Finances

I hate getting the finances in order.  However, once I do I feel more confident and ready for the new year.  For the first three months of the new year I will track what the family expenses are.  I will create a budget based on our spending and visions for the new year.

Day 3:  Revive Eating/Exercise Habits

I don’t do diets.  I never have.  However, I have gained weight and would like to lose it.  Reviewing my eating/exercise habits helps to remind me what I need to do.  I won’t do anything drastic.  I’ll just improve in areas that need some focus.

Day 4:  Review Professional Goals

My first year back to work has challenged me, but I have managed to get a lot accomplished.  The new year will be a good time to visualize new goals.  In order to make things happen, I’ll write and create a plan of action.

Day 5:  Reconnect with my Spirituality

I don’t attend church, but consider myself a spiritual person.  I have neglected my spiritual needs and realize I need to reconnect with my spiritual self.  I plan to continue my studies in Buddhism and reevaluate my Christian faith.  I am on a journey spiritually and realize I need to pay attention to it.

Day 6:  Reflect on Personal Relationships

Last year several personal relationships suffered.  Adjusting to work, after a long absence, proved difficult at times.  I haven’t had energy to devote to relationships outside of my immediate family.  Some personal relationships have not fared well to the change.  I need to look at each one and evaluate what I can to make improvements or let it go.

Day 7:  Remember the Blessings

The most important thing about starting a new year will be to remember the blessings from the previous one.  2013 has reminded me how quickly things can change and how each moment must be savored.  Things like family, friends, good health, financial security, and employment are all things to be grateful for.

I have already completed day 1 and working on day 2.  So far, so good.

Happy New Year preparation to you.


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How to Ace a Job Interview

Today’s blog may seem a bit strange coming from a mom blogger who has been out of the workforce for 17 years, but stay with me. Over last few weeks I have been in the process of hiring staff for my new job. So far I have hired six new staff and need to hire at least four more. It has been many years since I conducted interviews and hired people, but luckily the skills came back quickly.

Each time I conduct an interview I am reminded how little people know about ‘how’ to interview. It isn’t complicated stuff.  I have always been good at interviews. I know I sound like I am bragging, but it’s true. Years ago on an interview someone said to me, “That was the best interview I have ever had with someone.” Am I a natural-born interviewee?  No.  I just have been well-trained on the do’s and don’ts of interviewing.

My mother taught me the skills of interviewing. She worked for the Job Training Partnership Act as a job counselor when I was young. It was her job to help people who were unemployed get back to work. She showed me the in and outs of how to apply for a job and when you get an interview how to act.

The hardest part of getting a job is getting the interview. Nowadays everything is computerized and unless you meet all the job requirements your résumé may be deleted before you have a chance to interview. If you do happen to get an interview don’t blow it.

Here we go.

How to Ace a Job Interview

Show up for the interview.

This sound ridiculous, right? However, you would be surprised how many people don’t bother to show up for interviews. They don’t call or even email to say they won’t be arriving. It is the ultimate in rudeness. If you have an interview scheduled, but have changed your mind for what ever the reason make a phone call. It may be uncomfortable for a moment or two, but the company will think highly of you for acting professionally. Being a professional means handling things directly not wimping out.

Be on time.

Hiring someone who is dependable and reliable is always top on my list of requirements.  If someone arrives late to an interview it’s a bad sign. Sure people get confused about directions occasionally, but for an interview you must always be on time.  Be sure to arrive at least 10 to 15 minutes early.  Don’t arrive more than 15 minutes early because the interviewer may be conducting other interviews and does not want to feel rushed with someone waiting for them.

Look nice.

It’s not necessary to wear a suit to every interview, but you should look nice. Clean, pressed clothes are a must and please no jeans. When I phoned to schedule a person for an interview she asked, “Should I dress nice or dress for how I would look on the job?” I couldn’t believe she would even ask such a question.   I told her to dress like someone who would represent the company. The point of an interview is to impress and there is no better way that to dress nicely.

Use a firm handshake.

When the interviewer extends their hand to shake with you, shake their hand firmly.  Many women try to be ladylike with their handshake, but being ladylike is not what’s needed during an interview.  A firm handshake indicates confidence. That is just what you want the interviewer to think about you…that you are confident.  Shaking a hand that feels like a limp lasagna noodle is very unappealing.

Listen to the questions asked and ask for clarification if needed.

When I asked questions during recent interviews I noticed some people weren’t sure what I was asking.  It could be because they are unfamiliar to a topic I am discussing or didn’t hear what the question was.  No one will be insulted if you ask for clarification.  For goodness sake please don’t answer a question you don’t know the answer for.  Simply tell the interviewer, “I am not familiar with that topic, but it sounds interesting.”

Don’t brag.

In an interview it is important to seem confident.  Telling the interviewer your talents and skills is a must, but be mindful of how you come across.  I conducted one interview with someone very experienced.  Instead of telling me her accomplishments politely she felt the need to ‘boast and brag’ about herself.  She dominated the conversation by going on and on about how fabulous she was.  If someone is truly fabulous they don’t need to brag and tell the world.  The world will already knows.

Read about the company prior to coming to the interview.

Almost every company has a website to find information about them.  During my recent interview process I was stunned how many of my interviewees knew nothing about the place they were interviewing for a job at.  It is your responsibility to know all you can about the job you are interviewing for.  I spent far too much time during interviews explaining my organization to people who didn’t bother to research the information ahead of time.

Smile, laugh and have a good time.

I am a goofy person by nature.  During an interview I become much more serious.  I try to seem professional.  However, an interview is the time to showcase your personality.  No one can be serious all the time and it’s important to show the interviewer you would be someone who is enjoyable to be around.  Smile and relax as much as possible.  You may be feeling desperate to get the job, but your interviewer should never see that on your face. Be yourself, but your most comfortable self.

Turn your cell phone off and put it away.

Years ago when I conducted interviews most people didn’t have cell phones.  Now everyone does.  Bringing your cell phone to an interview is fine, but it should not be on or visible.  During one of my interviews a young woman placed her cell phone on the table and it vibrated every three minutes throughout the interview.  After the fourth buzzing sound I had to ask her to put it away.  Cell phones are distracting to conversations.  Keep them out of sight.

Bring extra copies of your résumé and references to the interview.

During an interview I always bring copies of cover letters and resumes. Occasionally I would forget a résumé and appreciated when an interviewee had an extra copy available. for me.  References are always to be brought to an interview. Bring a list of three professional and at least two personal references.  It is very difficult to get a hold of references, so the more people you list the better.

Follow up the interview with an email to thank the interviewer.

Sadly, I did not get many of emails thanking me for the opportunity to interview. For those who did thank me I was always impressed.  In one case where I had to make a decision between to closely skilled people, the interview thank you letter was the deciding fact for who to choose.  If someone takes time out of their day to see if you are a good choice to work at their company, be polite and thank them.

There you go.  You probably know this stuff already, but it doesn’t hurt to have a reminder.

Good luck on your job interview and remember leave the chewing gum at home.


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Backhanded

Lately, I have had a difficulty knowing when someone is giving me a compliment or not.  I thrive on positive feedback since I receive so little from my children.  When a person says something complimentary it makes me feel good.

However, sometimes it’s really hard to know if a person is giving a compliment or an insult.  Let me give some examples of recent compliments that leave me scratching my head.  It seems as if the compliments I often receive are backhanded.

You looked beautiful with long hair. 

A friend of mine was looking through a baby album and came across a photo of me with long hair.  It was pregnancy/nursing hair.  My hair was full, shiny and long.  I loved my hair when it was like that.  Sadly, once the baby stopped nursing the fabulous hair disappeared and my baby fine hair returned.  I wear my hair shorter now because growing it long will only make me look like a Afghan dog.  I guess my friend was trying to say how she wished my pregnancy/nursing hair was my real hair too.

You have street smarts.

This compliment was given to me when I complained to a friend how I didn’t feel as educated as I would like.  She claimed I had a different type of intelligence, ‘street smarts”.  I have never lived on the streets nor have I been in a rumble.  I think she was trying to say I have good common sense.  Common sense doesn’t seem quite as glamorous as being well-educated.

Your husband is clean and well-groomed.

When I introduced my husband to a new friend of mine she mentioned afterwards how ‘clean and well-groomed’ he was.  No mention of his baby blue eyes, warm smile or friendly personality just how groomed his appearance was.  Perhaps if this compliment was given to one of my boys I would have felt better, but hearing it about my husband left me feeling they thought he was obsessed with being Mr. Clean.

Your home is cozy.

I’m not sure why this compliment bothered me, but it did.  I see my home as a comfortable place to live, but cozy seemed like a big fluffy pillow.  I have decorated our new home in a modern style, so I guess I was hoping for a compliment about the modern look not how easily it would be to fall asleep in my home.

Whoa.

At a family gathering, a relative gave me this compliment.  Earlier in the day I was relaxing and had not bothered to do my hair, makeup or put my contacts in.  When we were ready to head out to lunch I got myself ready and apparently it was quite a transformation.  The ‘whoa’ response was followed by “I hardly recognized you.”  Nice huh?  I guess that tells you how bad I can look when I don’t do some basic grooming.

You remind me of my mother.

This compliment can be interpreted many ways.  I received it from the grocery bagger at my local food store.  I am old enough to be his mother, but being reminded of that fact didn’t seem like such a good thing.

I enjoy reading your blog more often than not.

This complement was given to me about my blog from a friend.  I was glad to hear my friend enjoyed reading my blog, but wasn’t too thrilled to hear about the times she didn’t.  I assumed that everyone always loved my blog.

See what I mean?  I guess I should be grateful for any feedback.  At least people are making an effort to pay attention to me.

That’s what is important, right?  Right?

Sometimes silence can be a good thing.


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I’m So Glad I’m Not Married to You

The other day my husband and I discussed a situation a married couple we know were dealing with. My husband mentioned, “I”m glad I didn’t marry her.”  I told him, “You know the Bacon Brothers have a song that says the same thing.” I pulled out my Bacon Brothers CD and played the song for him.

I thought I would play it for you today because frankly I am surprised how many people are married or in relationships with dorks and because I’m very glad I’m married to my husband.

I’m sure there are a lot of people who would dedicate this song to me, but luckily my husband isn’t one of them.

Note: I have not created this video. It is owned by YouTube user Unsteady Freddie

I’m So Glad I’m Not Married to You Written by Kevin Bacon

There’s a line around the block, and it stretches a mile
They’re gonna pay good money to see your dazzlin’ smile
You got a come-hither look in your babydoll eyes
And you got the kind of body make a man tell lies
And when you’re standing next to me, you do the little things you do

I say, I’m so glad I’m not married, so glad I’m not married
I’m so glad I’m not married, to you

You’re the center of attention everywhere you go
Sittin’ on the boys’ laps puttin’ on a show
You get your clothes and your shoes and your drugs for free
And God knows you’ve got a lot more money than me
When you’re bendin’ over just to give us all a better view

I say, I’m so glad I’m not married, so glad I’m not married
I’m so glad I’m not married, to you

You introduce me to your guy and you say your love is true
Well he’s a better man than I, ’cause he’s got to live with you
In the movie of your life, he is just an extra in it
But baby, if you were my wife
To have and hold, the truth be told
I couldn’t take it for a New York minute

Now you’re crying ’cause the paper printed something rude
You say you never, ever, ever, ever touched that dude
Well, it’s the National Enquirer it can’t be true
But I’m not so sure they got it wrong about you
You’re feeling kind of tragic and your eyes get misty-blue (boo-hoo!)

I say, I’m so glad I’m not married, so glad I’m not married
I’m so glad I’m not married, to you

Happy Monday!