Woman to Woman

Picture this, you have a friend that opens a new boutique. You think it will be fun to go to the grand opening and you genuinely feel happy for her. But let’s take it a bit further, do you shop at her store? Do you support her in other ways, like telling others about her boutique? Why is it so hard to support each other, why do individuals feel like they get more support from strangers than their friends and family?

Do you know if you would support a friend’s business like you support big brands, you are helping your friend accomplish their dream. How rewarding is that!! You are helping someone you know and love accomplish their dream. Now let’s think about this, why don’t you support them? Are their prices too high, quality of the product isn’t what you expect? If these are some of the reasons or the reason – let’s call this feedback. Let your friend know what’s keeping you from supporting them. This could help them in the long run. Guess what, if you give them feedback and your friend makes a few changes you are still helping them accomplish their dream!

I read a quote the other day, “if your friend has a business that you haven’t supported yet then stop saying that’s your friend” PERIODT!! This is so true, again if there is something hindering you from supporting them provide that feedback. Believe me your friend doesn’t know what they don’t know because they are busy trying to keep their business afloat. Then there is the deeper side of this quote. Maybe this isn’t your friend and you should evaluate that. But we are not going to go down that rabbit hole today.

There are several ways you can support your friends business and a lot of them are free.


Social media is the best way to help promote your friend’s business.

  • Send a message out on your page and make sure to include the website.
  • Pictures are worth a thousand words, if you have a nice picture of you and your friend add that to your post. You know we are nosy so this will get our attention (where they at, what they doing??).
  • Write a review on the business social media page and/or website.
  • Interact with the business on social media. If there is a post on the page and you agree, write a comment and like the post. The more interactions the page receives the higher the page will become on a search engine.
  • Share your experiences, everyone is looking for a good experience these days.

Focus Groups

We all love a get-together. Host a small party (serve some apps and wine LOL) and invite the business owner. Ask the invitees questions about the business and the product. Things like what do you want to see in a company like this? What would the end product look like in a perfect world? Remember to have someone take notes and at the end of the party, provide the information to your business owner friend :). Real time feedback that will be beneficial to the business owner.

PeaceI’m Out

In the end, small businesses run the world. If you follow what consumers want today, it is a unique and individual experience. You can definitely accomplish this by spending more dollars at a small business. If you have a friend that has taken the leap of faith and opened a business, help them with their dream by showing some support. Entrepreneurs gotta eat too……

Athleisure Wear in the Workplace – Ahh Push It!

Does your workplace have a dress code. I tell ya what I have a dress code at my job. It’s a cute tri-fold document and there is an electronic version with cartoons showing what is appropriate versus what is not appropriate for work. First let’s talk about jeans. The dress code at my job states denim and jeans. Denim is only allowed on designated days (usually Fridays). The code states no denim shirts, denim skirts, denim jackets or jeans. Yep you read it correctly, leave your cute denim jacket at home!

Here’s another one, no worn, wrinkled, torn, frayed or dirty clothing. Do you ever stop and wonder, what had to happen in order for HR to put these rules in the handbook. I mean who came to work with dirty torn clothes on? I guess I wouldn’t have too much of a problem with wrinkled clothes (I’m guessing worn has a definition as well). Okay now I am cracking up, no coordinated sweatsuits, sweatpants, sweatshirts. This takes me back to the late 80’s and early 90’s. Do you remember the silky sweatsuits with the gold ropes. If not take a look below. Yep, there was a woman who wore them every causal day in the office. Her name was Sally. I miss her.

Moving on, no shorts, beach wear (REALLY why do we have to put this in, again what happened!!). No spandex or Lycra such as biker shorts, tank tops, tube tops, or spaghetti/thin straps, off-the shoulder tops, open backs, exposed undergarments and bare midriffs, hats, caps, clothing too short, too tight or transparent, flip-flops, rubberized mules or similar. Last but not least, no workout clothes or athletic wear.

Now with this workout or athletic wear, there are certain brands that have really cute workout clothes that I would wear to work and to meetings. I have a few pair of leggings that I wear with long tunics throughout the year. In the winter I usually pair this combo with booties or tall boots. In the warmer months I pair this combo with sandals or flats. In regards to pants, I have a few pair of dance studio pants that I wear and joggers. If the joggers are made out of a nicer material, they are going to show up in my fashion line up for work and more than likely not on casual day. Examples of how to wear leggings and joggers are below. I have the both pair of joggers pictured. See how you can style them differently? With a pair of walking shoes, you look more athletic. But throw on a pair of heels and you are ready for the office. Super cute and extremely comfortable.

You can have everything you want in life if you dress for it..

Edith Head

Don’t get me wrong, people abuse clothes on a regular basis and make it hard for the rest of us. Hence the reason we have dress codes. I was joking when I stated above, what happened to make HR write these rules. We all know that one person in the office that should never wear leggings. Or the person that comes to work with their belly showing. So this is a safe place, when I said we know the person that should not wear leggings, the first thing you thought of was someone overweight. Tell the truth. Well that’s normally not the issue, it’s the picture below. “These are cute, I can wear these to work, I don’t look bad.” WRONG ANSWER!! Same with the second outfit. Super cute, but not appropriate for the workplace.

All in all, I do believe that work attire has gotten a little lazy. But I am not against wearing pieces that are transitional. Again athleisure wear, if worn correctly you wouldn’t even know someone was wearing their gym pants to work. Layers are a great way to incorporate athleisure wear into the workplace. Don’t get me started on a blazer and a nice pair of heels.

How do you feel about athleisure wear in the workplace and/or leggings? Share your comments and let’s begin the discussion.

It Was All a Dream

Or at least a vision. There are so many ways to keep track of your goals, visions, dreams, and tasks. What method do you use? So I am pretty sure I have ADHD, I use several methods, it all depends on the topic and what I am trying to keep track of. The system sounds flawed but it works for me. Let’s dig in.


When it comes to thinking about my future self, I tend to go with a vision board. I take old magazines and cut out pictures that remind me of things I want to achieve (notice I did not say accomplish) some time in the future. An example is traveling to Mount Rushmore. On my board I found a picture of Mount Rushmore and stuck it on the board. Did I mention that my vision board is made of cork and I use push pins? I said this (or maybe I’m just mentioning this) because my visions are forever changing and some are getting completed. To be clear I don’t have multiple vision boards, hence the push pins. I use one and take a peak at it every once and a while to see if I am headed in the right direction or if I need to change course. This really works for me and seeing it is a creative reminder of what I want to try and accomplish (at that moment in time).

The Goal

So lets talk about goals. When it comes to my goals I like to make lists. Don’t get me started on crossing things off the list. I feel so accomplished and when I look back at a list and see several items crossed off, BOOM MIKE DROP!!. Now to be clear in my mind and on my blog, goals are things that I want to accomplish in a relatively short time frame. For instance, give the dog a bath, get groceries, or organize the closet. Short, sweet and need to get done soon. Because of my definition of a goal, this is the reason why I choose to use lists instead of some of the other methods. For work, I use lined Post-It notes, for personal goals, I use my calendar on my phone. I set reminders and deadlines for my goals as well. This keeps me accountable, I hate it when I get a reminder on my phone that I have 30 minutes to go to the grocery store for supplies for a dinner party. Now I will be honest, some days I move that appointment to give me a few more hours but at least I was reminded. In the appointment notes, I write down all the tasks that need to be completed to accomplish the goal. For instance, organize the closet is the appointment subject. In the note section I have make sure the recycle bin isn’t full, make sure my car trunk is empty, get out a large trash bag, open a bottle of wine, select a happy playlist. Now I may not do all of these tasks but it helps me get in the right frame of mind to complete the goal. Are you seeing a pattern yet? Goals in my mind have many tasks associated in order to achieve the goal. Another good tip with this method, it allows you to take baby steps (if needed) in order to complete the goal. This way I don’t feel overwhelmed and don’t wind up on the couch just drinking the wine. Sad, but it happens.


I am a firm believer in dreams become goals that become reality. Let’s break this down. I am a daydreamer. When I take walks I begin to dream of the future, where do I want to be, what do I want to do, how do I want to live. Most days it’s just that a daydream. But sometimes, stuff gets real and I begin talking and recording my thoughts in the notes app on my phone. When I get home I organize those thoughts into an action plan. From there, the goals are created along with tasks and deadlines. And sometimes all of that becomes reality – You’re cooking with gas now LOL. All of this begins with a dream and a little motivation. Now the funny thing is sometimes these dreams end up on my vision board as a reminder. But then there are times when it becomes a reality, like my blog.

What do you do with your dreams, goals, and/or visions? Do you have “to-do’ lists everywhere? Have you ever created a vision board? If so, how often do you look at it? What would happen if you stopped overthinking things and began doing things? I dare you!!

C.R.E.A.M. Get the Money

So everyone wants a side hustle (said the girl that is definitely in search of one). If you are like me, you sit there and think, do I really want a part-time job? Can I really leave the main job and go to a retail store for four hours? NOOOOO!! This is not for me, let me be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with working in retail (that’s how I started) but it is not for me at this time in my life. My next thought, what do I like to do and how can I get paid for drinking vodka or chardonnay (JK)? Now I have my brainstorm pad out and I am writing down things that I like to do that could potentially turn into a paycheck. I check my emails and see that I have an email from one of those cute organizer shops stating that I could join the team for $1 and this offer will end at the end of the month. I really like the products and have a few items, should I join? I mean, I like throwing parties and entertaining, throw in shopping and cocktails and I’m now getting paid to drink vodka or chardonnay! It’s on and popping! But wait, is this a realistic goal? I look into joining and I see a red flag, I have to be connected to a consultant, why I don’t know. Is this a pyramid scheme? What’s the difference? Know I’m thinking about LulaRoe and what happened to them. Here comes the research.

When I started looking into the individual companies, I found that there are several different models out there. Direct sales, multi-level marketing, and the age ole pyramid scheme. Now, in regards to direct sale companies they make money by having individuals sale their products. I’m pretty sure you know the big ones, Mary Kay, Avon, and Amway are all examples. These companies make a lot of money annually. Now don’t get me wrong there are tons of advantages in working for a direct sale company. You work at your own pace and you work remotely just to name a couple that I am interested in. Most direct sale companies have you purchase a starter kit which can range from $25 up to $200 depending upon the products being sold. Direct sale companies usually don’t have a brick and mortar location and each person is treated as an independent contractor. Again, most of the independent contractors work out of their homes.

Game changer, the only difference between a direct sale company and a multi-level marketing (MLM) company is that in the MLM model the independent contractor makes money from their sales and from recruiting others to work under them. For instance, if I recruited you to work for the company, I would get money from my sales and from your sales because you are one of my recruits. Some of the great companies like Avon and Thirty-One use the MLM model. There’s nothing wrong with the model and most independent contractors that recruit others become a company mentor, help newcomers get started, train them on the products, and how to sale. Just think about it, if I train you and you become a #1 seller, I benefit as well. Not a bad model.

Now let’s talk about the pyramid schemes. These are not legal in the United States or Canada. You’re probably wondering what’s the difference between a direct sale company, MLM company and a pyramid scheme. Well let me tell you, pyramid schemes take your cash, have you recruit others to take their cash and the focus is not selling products it’s all about the Benjamins. Here are a few red flags you should watch out for and will help you to determine if the MLM company is legit.

  • Are you required to put in large amounts of cash upfront? Yes – RUN!
  • If you have to purchase your own products (starter kits) will the company buy any unused products back? If not, this could be a problem.
  • Is the company interested in the market you live in? If not, they probably just want to you purchase the starter kit.
  • Is the main goal recruiting other contractors or is the main goal the sale of products? If the answer is recruiting, you should think again.
  • Is the ROI designed around recruiting new members, meaning you get more money if you recruit over selling products? If yes, this is a major red flag and usually a good indication that the company is using the pyramid scheme model.
  • Is there commission on recruiting new members? Again another red flag that the company is nothing but a pyramid scheme and someone is going to jail – RUN!!!

Now let’s be realistic, if you want to make sales your permanent job it all depends on how much you put into it and I’m not talking about cash. I’m talking about your motivation to sale the products. I remember seeing the famous pink Cadillac that the top sellers of Mary Kay receive, but do you know how much you have to sale in order to get the car? Research that….. Just kidding I did. In order to get the pink Cadillac you have to be a ‘grand achiever’ level of sales, each independent contractor must build a sales team of 12 or more members (recruits) and net a minimum of $18,000 in product orders within 4 months and can only contribute $4,000 of their own money toward the $18,000 requirement. Oh and by the way, this is a lease with option to buy. At the end of the lease you can sell the car back to the dealership or purchase. Sounds good on paper but are you that motivated (if something like a car is your goal).

Now to sum it up, I have decided that being an independent contractor for a direct sale or multi-level marketing company won’t be a good payoff for me. Especially since I have a full-time job and to make money as an independent contractor, I believe you will have to dedicate most of your time. Now like I stated earlier, there are advantages to being an independent contractor for a multi-level company or a direct sales company. A few are listed below. I will say, I do love the idea of getting a really good discount on products that I love.


  • There is a low risk to starting the business and no penalty if you fail.
  • You work for yourself and you don’t have staff to monitor.
  • You can generate as much income as you want and no pressure if you don’t want to generate income at all. You set your own pace.
  • Low operating costs, no office rent, no staff, low investment (starter kits if needed).
  • Freedom and flexibility. You can come and go as please and work when you want to.
  • Extremely portable. With social media, web pages, etc. you may not have to go door-to-door to sale your products and don’t get me started on the money apps.
  • My favorite, you can purchase the products at a huge discount when you are an independent contractor for one of the companies.

Okay, let’s be honest, I might I have to try one in the name of research LOL.

What About Your Friends

There are so many different names for a group of friends. My tribe, my crew, my girls, my sista girlfriends, the spice girls. I mean you name it and I have probably referenced them as such. I have developed relationships with several different people over the years and I hold the good ones close to my heart. There are people that I have known for years, co-workers that have grown to be a part of my tribe, and a few family members.

I have encountered women in the past that do not have the privilege of having a tribe. I really wonder how do they get through things without this network? If you have a group of really good friends you are saving a ton of money. My crew is cheaper than going to therapy. I kid, therapy is a really good method to get through life but talking with my crew usually cost a bottle of wine. Do you have a crew? Think about how often you rely on them to help you get through something, celebrate, vent, or just have fun?

There are many benefits of having good friends in your circle. One obvious benefit is having fun. Good friends will make you smile and laugh until your stomach hurts. This alone will brighten your mood and reduce stress levels. A good one (benefit) that I really love is being yourself and not worrying about being judged. Friends allow you to let your hair down and turn off the filters. Conferences, meetings, interviews, networking, constantly being “on”, it feels really good to go to your safe place and let go. A woman once told me a story about her commute to and from work. Her commute time is one hour to and one hour from work. During this time she talks to her best friend and they have their one on one time to discuss every thing and it is uninterrupted. After hearing her story I thought how beautiful that is. I know personally because I can stay on the phone with my friend for hours and call the very next day and start up again. It’s refreshing and helps to unpack the day or dissect the trashy reality show that we watch (maybe that’s just me).

I don’t know about your friends but my friends always tell me the truth. This is important, how can you grow as a person if you have a group of “yes men” around you. I need people that will call me on my stuff and knock me back into reality. Good friends know your strengths and weakness and have the ability to get you back on track or point you in the right direction to achieve your goal. I read an article by the Mayo Clinic and it stated, “friends play a significant role in promoting overall health and adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression and high blood pressure and studies have found that older adults with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections”.

Here’s another one, “People with social support have fewer cardiovascular problems and immune problems, and lower levels of cortisol — a stress hormone,” says Tasha R. Howe, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Humboldt State University. So a lot of smart people are letting us know that our friends are very healthy for us. If you don’t have a tribe or a good friend, I challenge you to put yourself out there and make a connection and build that relationship. Your life depends on it JK.

I Will Survive

I know everyone has heard the stat of public speaking being the second known fear right behind death. Those five minutes before I have to present, my body begins to shake, my throat gets dry, I lose my train of thought and then I hear my name. It’s go time. The weird thing for me is standing behind a podium. I don’t know what it is but I hate it. I would rather have a mic and walk around. Maybe it’s knowing everyone is watching me. If I am sitting on a stage or on a panel, your girl will kill it. But that podium, not for me. Now that I have a ton of speaking engagements under my belt, I am confident enough to change the stage set up so that I am comfortable. How do you feel about public speaking?

I believe there are several different formats of public speaking. For instance, standing in front of a room of people and presenting on a certain topic; presenting along with a PowerPoint presentation; speaking during a meeting; participating in a panel discussion; being interviewed for a radio spot; and being interviewed for television. The list goes on and on. There are tons of tips out there to get you prepared for your speaking engagement. To keep it simple (even though there is nothing simple about public speaking) remember you were asked to speak because you are the subject matter expert of the topic. Having said that, if you are not the expert of the topic, decline the invitation. But let’s dive deeper into this preparation.

First things first, know your audience. Here’s an example. If the topic you are speaking about is software, find out from the event contact if the audience will include users, developers, a mix, potential clients and then cater your remarks to those individuals. A developer doesn’t want to hear why they should use the software. They want to know best practices for implementing the software and any technical information needed. A user would want to know best practices for using the software and how it can make their lives easier. Does that make sense?

Know the environment. This statement covers a few things in regards to speaking. Are you in a large room with horrible acoustics? Are you on a stage? Will you be speaking on a topic that will make the audience uncomfortable, like discussing potential downsizing? Will you have a mic? Is this a formal discussion or an informal discussion? Knowing everything about the room, AV, the venue will make you more at ease and eliminate any issues prior to your presentation or during your presentation.

You should arrive at the venue at least 30 minutes before your scheduled time. You may be presenting after someone and they could finish early and your time is moved up. Or vice versa, the speaker before is running over. You should also use this time to test all of the AV in the room. If you have a presentation, make sure you know how to use the remote to advance the slides. If you have sound for a video, make sure the speakers are working. Test the mic to make sure you don’t have any feedback while speaking or walking around. Everyone hates that loud screeching noise mics make when you get to close to (fill in the blank) in the room. Do a run through of your walk to the spot you will be speaking. If you are speaking on a stage, check to see if there are stairs and take a walk up and down the stairs. Good tip, watch for cords.

Yes you should practice your presentation days before your scheduled date. I love doing my presentation at home in front of a mirror. If you are anything like me, you are the worst critic of yourself and believe me the things you screw up on at home in front of the mirror, you will do it while you are presenting in front of an audience. I usually screw up on the pronunciation of words, while I am practicing if this happens I change the word to something that flows better. Depending on the number of people you will be speaking in front of, you should practice and prepare for distractions. Cell phones may ring, a person may get up and leave out, the door may slam, people may begin to raise their hands for questions. All of these things can trip up a presenter but the more you prepare for distractions the better you will handle them. If you are being interviewed for radio or television, you should have three stories prepared to tell related to the topic of discussion. This is the time to control the narrative and keep the facts that you want to promote front and center.

This next tip I always hated to hear. The best way to get over your anxiety of public speaking is to do it more. Someone would tell me that and I would instantly think, “are you freaking crazy, I’m about to die and you want me to get in front of the gun again”. Now I will say the more I did presentations the less anxiety I had. Don’t get me wrong, I still freak out a little before I have to present but I no longer freeze up. Yes I have stood in front of a crowd and said nothing at all. Think of Cindy Brady when the camera came on and she focused on the red light and didn’t say a word. That was me. Wow, those were good times.

In the end find a style that works best for you. Remember you were asked to speak because you are the expert on the topic. This is your time to provide the audience with information so you own the room. Take your time, slow down, slow down, slow down and get your point across. You’ve got this and you will survive.

Take Your Time Do it Right

I’M BACK!! Did you do it? Are you wondering what I’m talking about? Well let me tell you. Last week I talked about taking time for yourself. I challenged everyone to take the day or start with baby steps and take a few hours and pamper yourself. Did you do it? Don’t worry, if you didn’t read last week’s post here it is, Real Love.

So here’s my story. I took the baby steps route. Friday I left work a few hours early and went to the mall to do some window shopping. I didn’t need anything and I used the time to get my steps in. I had my earbuds in listening to my happy music playlist. It was relaxing, I felt like I had my own theme music as I walked the lonely halls of the mall. Leisurely going in and out of different stores, no rush, and no fuss. As I’m writing this I realized this was pathetic. I can do better than this. So when I got home I remembered what I did in the past to relax and get away from it all. Now I am going to expose myself and tell my dirty little secret.

Once a month, I would add an appointment on my work calendar, a full day of “doctor’s appointments”. On that scheduled day I would get up in the morning, get dressed and leave the house as if I were going to work. Hence the reason for the quotes above, I did not go to work that day and of course did not have any actual doctor’s appointments. Not telling my child and/or my boyfriend (wow that is a weird title when you get to a certain age, should I call him my man-friend or life partner okay I digress) that I was playing hooky. I would schedule a mani/pedi and a 60 minute massage (different locations). I mean technically couldn’t the nail tech and the masseuse be considered healthcare professionals? I’m just saying. A day of pampering and the excitement of playing hooky made it an adventure. Because of course, I couldn’t do this in the town that I live in and risk seeing a co-worker or a family member. I would travel to a town not to far away and not worry about anyone recognizing me. Between appointments I would go somewhere that I have never been before to have a nice quiet lunch, take my Kindle and read a book while enjoying my meal. Now that I am in reminiscence mode, I remember having this amazing salad with prosciutto, pears, walnuts, spinach, and a champagne vinaigrette. The little cafe had a fireplace that I set next too while reading my book. What a day. Sidebar, I could probably recreate that salad at home.

This can be done on a budget as well. My favorite place to find discounts for a day of pampering is Groupon. This site always has discounts for spas and you may luck up on a few discounts for restaurants. So here we are another weekend, a long one for some of us. Get out there and take care of your mental state. Don’t forget, I will be asking.

Real Love

The life of a business woman is hectic. The struggle is totally real. Taking time away from their family, spending long hours in the office to accomplish their goals and finish projects. Constantly being “on”. Meaning putting the customer first; always having a positive attitude; sitting in meetings; participating in conference calls; networking lunches; people dropping by your office without an appointment; and the list goes on.

Some of us feel guilty because we are missing out on family time because we have to travel or stay at the office late. Or feeling guilty when we take time off. Let’s try this together, let’s put ourselves first. Here we are, it’s the weekend. Are you resting? Or are you running around your house trying to complete all of the housework that has been missed all week? Or are you running your kids around to their sporting events or dance recitals? Let’s do it! Tomorrow, wake up and clear your mind. Put the “to do” list down and take the day to pamper yourself. Lay in bed and read that book you have been dying to read. Go to the coffee shop by yourself and just enjoy a drink and a snack. Binge watch your favorite show. Just put yourself first for one day. Live in that moment.

Now be truthful, when you were reading that how many things did you think about that went towards not being able to put yourself first? Did you say to yourself “wishful thinking”? Here’s the thing, if you keep giving yourself to everyone else, what are you going to have left? Like the flight attendant says, “put your mask on first before helping someone else”. We have to get better at putting ourselves first and loving ourselves enough to do it. Baby steps, start with a few hours one day. When you are done, check to see if things were fine while you were gone. This doesn’t mean you’re not needed. It means that everyone will be okay until you return. Love yourself and take care of your mental state. Your family and the workplace will thank you in the long run.

Ice Ice Baby

Being a woman in the workplace has its challenges. Women are paid less than men, looked over for promotions, sometimes not heard, but women continue to shine. There are several books written to help women maneuver in the workplace. Lean In, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, The Memo, Secrets of Six-Figure Women and the list goes on and on. I mean really what is the problem with females having a career? Now I can take this discussion several different places on this topic, but I am going to talk about something that women discuss with each other and struggle with when starting a career – starting a family…..

Have you ever been sitting at your desk thinking about starting a family and then the fear of losing your job takes over and consumes your thoughts? Now you’re worried about the looks, being treated differently, not being taken seriously, and losing your job. I have had friends go on maternity leave and people begin to say things like, “I wonder if she’s coming back? How long is she going to be gone? Who’s taking on her responsibilities?” REALLY SHE JUST HAD A BABY! All of these things go through a woman’s mind and causes a lot of stress.

Let’s fast forward, you (or one of your friends don’t freak out) just confirmed that you are pregnant. You are so excited and ready for the next chapter. Now you go to the office and begin working on the calendar of events. Doctor appointments, sick leave, business trips, the birth of your child, etc. Here comes the bomb, your organization only allows two weeks for maternity leave. Sidebar: I know the laws so let’s just say in this scenario you work for a private company with less than 50 employees. Now you are concerned about caring for your child, possibly looking for another job (try that while pregnant), maybe become a stay at home mom (in some instances this is the only option because don’t get me started on the cost of daycare). My goodness what have you gotten yourself into?

Did you know that 25% of US women return to work in less than two weeks after giving birth? Emphasis on US!! Three countries do not guarantee paid maternity leave (yep you guessed it the US is on that very short list). Okay last one, there are only 13% of private sector workers that have access to paid family leave for family emergencies or a new child. This is unbelievable I mean we are supposed to the the home of the free and the land of the brave – but you better not get pregnant LOL. Okay I kid (no pun intended), but this is BS. Now if you happen to work for a large corporation with full-time employees or the public sector and have worked there for at least a year, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) applies. This is a great law but let’s talk about this for a minute.

Under FMLA an employee is guaranteed up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year with no threat of losing their job. If your employer offers health benefits, they have to continue providing them as if you were working. Did you catch that I said unpaid? Insert side eye now! This is a federal law, but each state may have different laws about paid family leave. For instance, in 2016 New York passed a 12 week paid family leave program which will also protect the employee’s job. Seven states and Washington DC have passed paid family leave programs as well. But like I stated earlier, each state is different.

There are a few proposals floating around on the federal level in regards to paid family leave. Trump’s FY2018 budget proposes six weeks of paid leave to mothers and fathers, which White House officials project would cost $25 billion over 10 years. This program would be run through the Unemployment Insurance (UI) system, paid for via reforms to the UI system, and would require states to build up and run paid leave programs through their own UI systems.

Here’s another one, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act has been proposed in the House and Senate to establish 60 days of paid leave at a wage replacement rate of 66%, using a 0.2% payroll tax on employees and employers.

Last one, an alternative House proposal to paid leave would allow employees to make contributions to tax-free savings accounts, which could then be used when the employee takes parental leave. Similar legislation was also proposed in Oregon and Minnesota.

Well guess what’s going on in Canada? Depending on the length of employment history and the hours worked, new mothers can take up to 63 weeks (there are 52 weeks in a year) of leave from their jobs. Oh and the employee’s job is protected. But wait there’s more, on top of the mandatory leave, a pregnant employee or new mother can take a paid maternity leave of up to 15 weeks. Either the mother or father can take 35 weeks of parental leave after the baby is born or adopted. The parents can share the leave however they choose. This is being run through Canada’s employment insurance plan. REALLY, this gives a whole new meaning to THE NORTH (Game of Thrones geek here).

Needless to say, women have a lot to think about in regards to having a career. When are we ever going to make changes to the culture in the US? Seriously is 12 weeks enough time, this would mean your child is going to daycare and they are only three months young. I’m pretty sure there are scientific studies that prove the baby needs more time with the mother. Don’t get me started on the mental side of things for the mother that doesn’t have a choice. SMH we can do better. I’m done!

I Want it All

When I sit back and think about my life, I often wonder am I doing enough. Am I achieving my goals? Then I begin to think about success. What does that mean? So here comes the check list. I own a house, I own a car, I have a career, good salary, a child that is on her own, I travel, I have friends. But does this mean success? Does this mean I have accomplished everything? What is success?

Here’s what I have found. Success means something different to each person. Who are we to judge someone else’s success? If you judge someone else’s success aren’t you putting your personal goals on them? I found a definition that really helped me think about success differently.

Achievement of an action within a specified period of time or within a specified parameter. Success can also mean completing an objective or reaching a goal. Success can be expanded to encompass an entire project or be restricted to a single component of a project or task. It can be achieved within the workplace, or in an individual’s personal life. For example, if an individual’s personal goal is to be accepted in a new career, success would occur after the individual has been officially accepted into his or her new place of employment. I found this definition on the Business Dictionary web page. This definition is basically saying that success can have a different definition in every aspect of your life. Weight loss, career, family, financial stability can all have different success definitions. I realized that thinking about success as one be all end all thing was the reason why I was having such an issue with defining it. In order to keep myself from getting overwhelmed, I needed to break everything down into categories and give each category a success definition. Now I can analyze these categories and begin to see my progress or the lack there of. I also have to remember, these are my goals and pathway to success. I can tell you my thought process but you should develop your own.

What is your definition of success? Do you have a pathway?

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