Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Benefits of Therapy

I've been working with an incredible leadership coach for about a year and a half. She has helped me immensely with how to stop myself from filling up my life with work. Before I started working with her, I was routinely working up until 10pm or 10:30pm at night. I was exhausted and utterly impatient with my husband and children. She helped me learn how to put self-care habits in place but also how to better prioritize what I take on in my work and life, so I have more time and space to focus on those things. 

From my work with her, I knew that I also wanted to start therapy. I had several different fits and starts, including working with an Internal Family Systems therapist, which was such an interesting concept and did help me in a profound way. 

It wasn't clear to me, however, exactly what I was trying to do in therapy. A friend of mine recommended that I try Therapeutic Assessment. Therapeutic Assessment is a time-bound type of therapy where you go in with a set of questions you are seeking to get answers to. The therapist then selects a battery of tests that align with the questions you are asking. The hope is that going over the results of the assessment together helps you deepen your understanding of yourself and the questions you seek to answer. 

Through my Therapeutic Assessment process, I learned that my experiences as a child were truly traumatic, and that I developed a couple of defense mechanisms to help me cope with the trauma. However, my defense mechanisms can serve to re-traumatize me, which has been happening for the past five years during the crazy start-up phase of both my family and my non-profit organization. 

The ultimate recommendation is that I need about a year of therapy to fully process my childhood trauma and the trauma from the past five years. 

I get the irony of going to therapy to hear that you need therapy, but it was actually a really eye-opening and clarifying process. I see how the coping mechanisms I developed as a child bring both negative and positive things into my life. I see how going deep and fully processing the trauma will help those coping mechanisms function more positively than negatively. I'm excited for the year ahead! 

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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Most Destructive Pattern of Behavior of Our Time

This quote/concept by Dhakshy Sooriyakumaran hits right in the gut and is such a powerful lens through which I need to analyze my actions and choices. 

I strive to learn as much as I can about race, gender, class, and oppression, and yet it's much, much harder to then translate those ideas into giving up space, power, platform, reputation, or position. 

We are urgently working to bring more diverse voices around the table within our organization, which I think is at least a step in the right direction toward addressing this pattern. 

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Monday, September 24, 2018

Our Children Are Watching

"Our kids are going to ask us, ‘When you had the chance to do something in 2018 when they were talking about walls and Muslim bans and the press is the enemy of the people, what did you guys do?’ And we’re going to tell them that we and the 28 million of Texas helped this country get back on track and in the right direction." -Beto O'Rourke
It feels so, so good to have concrete actions within my control to help undo the madness Trump has caused to descend upon our country. The Beto campaign makes it really easy to volunteer. This past Friday we hosted a debate watch party at our house. It was invigorating to open our home to [mostly] strangers so that we could gather and cheer on Beto together. (In the photo above, the boys were taping invitations to the doors of neighbors who had Beto signs in their yards).

I made this Mexican beans and rice recipe in the Instant Pot and paired it with queso and tortillas from a local restaurant. I then added additional optional sides like chopped tomatoes, cilantro, limes, shredded cheese, sour cream and guacamole. It was easy and relatively inexpensive for a big group!

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Beto O'Rourke Quotes

My excitement for Beto O'Rourke continues. And he can actually win! I'm going to volunteer as much as I can in the final 50 days before November 6 to help mobilize voters to get to the polls. 

I signed up to manage a "Pop Up Office," where volunteers will gather to go block walking and phone banking. I also volunteered our house to be used as a Pop Up Office every day from 8am-3pm. 

When I went to the training, the facilitator suggested that we put a motivational quote on the walls. I decide to find some Beto quotes to post. However, my search didn't yield much, which is crazy because he's such an articulate public speaker! 

So here's my contribution to the inter webs: Beto Quotes

“We can get into name-calling and talk about why the other person is such an awful guy, or we can focus on the big things we want to do for the future of our country, for the generations that will succeed us...We can focus on the small, mean, petty stuff, or we can be big, bold, courageous, and confident.”—Beto O’Rourke on CNN

“Texas is one of the most gerrymandered states in the Union. It is also a non-voting state, and those two things are connected...There are some people who are not supposed to vote. There are some people’s voices that are not supposed to be heard. It’s on us to run a campaign that brings in everyone from every community—every community within every community—into this campaign to make sure that they are actually heard.”—Beto O’Rourke on Real Time with Bill Maher

“Everything that they care about—everything that they’ve told their kids about—is on the line...Our kids are going to ask us, ‘When you had the chance to do something in 2018 when they were talking about walls and Muslin bans and the press is the enemy of the people, what did you guys do?’ And we’re going to tell them that we and the 28 million of Texas helped this country get back on track and in the right direction.”—Beto O’Rourke on Real Time with Bill Maher

“Folks will never have to wonder who it is I represent or who I’m voting for; it’s going to be the people of Texas every single time.”—Beto O’Rourke on Real Time with Bill Maher

“I hope, if nothing else, we’re able to give the people of Texas our honesty and have the courage of our convictions on the issues that matter most.”—Beto O’Rourke on Ellen

This moment will define us—I feel—forever. That’s what’s so thrilling about this moment. We will decide the future right now.”—Beto O’Rourke on Ellen

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Things I Need to Work on as a Parent

This transcript of a Janet Lansbury podcast resonated deeply with me about the importance of not disciplining with shame. 

It's been a hard five years for my parenting. Trying to launch a non-profit organization with a newborn and a two year-old stretched me in ways that made me unrecognizable to myself at times. There were so many compounding factors: Henry's struggle with self-regulation due to an MTHFR genetic mutation, unfathomable levels of work stress, my own sense of struggle and failure in my work. 

I've been too quick to get frustrated with my children's behavior. Here are the lines that resonated with me the most:
He’s in a defensive mode. He feels attacked. He feels judged. He feels misunderstood. And he probably has some shame inside, because that’s the result of feeling blamed and not understood.
Do this with confident momentum. Do this with acceptance of him, being on his side and being protective, caring about him, not angry with him.
This also comes from understanding that children don’t want to be doing this. They don’t want to be the bad kid doing bad things. We need to help save him from himself and not let him go there. And shaming him out of it will not work. It just creates more discomfort and, therefore, more uncomfortable behavior.
And then from his mom, she says she admits she loses her cool and she doesn’t respond with love and empathy. So those are the messages he’s gotten, You’re bad. There’s something wrong with you. I don’t like the way you’re behaving, slam the door.
We foster empathy by modeling and having empathy. That’s the simple answer to all of this, not necessarily a lot of empathy in those moments but having an overall view guided by empathy, by wanting to understand, wanting to relate to, be close to, open up to. 
This article gives me a clear sense of the kind of parent I want to be. I want to have high expectations and boundaries, but I really do want it to feel like it comes from being on their side. And I want mistakes to be expected and normal and to feel like genuine learning opportunities, not moments of shame.

Toward that end, I have to give myself grace for the five years. I did the best that I was capable of, and now I can do better. That's all we can ask of ourselves.

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Easy DIY Baby Quilt

I love when I have the opportunity to make gifts. It hasn't happened enough in the past seven years (since my first son's birth, to be exact). 

This incredibly simple baby quilt is one of my go-tos. I made one of these for Henry and loved it. This time, I used a super thick and soft fabric for the back, since the baby will be born at the start of winter. Also, the thickness will make this blanket useful as a cushion for putting the baby on the floor in various rooms of the house. 

Here's some specific directions about how to do it (and a picture of a quilt with more strips, which I'm realizing--in retrospect--looks better! Oh, well. It's the thought that counts!)

The trick for fitting this into my already full life was to start working on it far in advance! One day I went to the fabric store. Another day I washed the fabrics. Another day I ironed the fabric. Then I cut the strips. And finally I put everything together. 

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Recommended Articles

Here's what I've been reading this week as I continue to seek to deepen my understanding of inequity and racism:

  • This article about how white parents can help advocate for racial equity in our schools. 
  • This article about how income inequality is getting worse and yet fewer and fewer people are aware of it. 
  • This article about how well-intentioned white families can perpetuate racism. 

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Coming out of Hibernation: Beto for Senate

I think I've talked a little about what a pivotal summer this was for me in terms of feeling like I'm moving out of start-up phase with Montessori For All. For the past five years, it's been such a struggle to just keep my head above water as a CEO, mother, wife, and daughter (in addition to trying to be my own self who relaxes, reflects, reads, exercises, and pursues my creative interests). The Myth of CEO Work-Life Balance talks about the struggle well. 

I feel so fortunate that my career is aligned with working toward more equitable outcomes for all because there has been so little time outside of my job for activism. 

But, finally, I feel the clouds separating and I see a little space! This weekend I got inspired to figure out how to more actively support the Beto campaign for Senate. I went to a training about how to be a Pop Up Office manager and signed up our house to serve as a Pop Up Office in the final weeks of the campaign. I'm excited! We need politicians who can represent the interests of all people. 

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Monday, September 10, 2018

Family Goals

We are more than halfway through the year!

We are doing well on our Family Goals for the year. We have already met our volunteering goals (but we will continue to volunteer throughout the rest of the year) and our goal for playing tennis. We are on track for our family vacations.

We haven't been going on day trips, so I advocated hard for one on Labor Day. We headed to San Antonio for a snack picnic at the free Japanese Tea Garden and soccer at Confluence Park. A good time was had by all--even the people who were more reluctant to go!

I'm really bad at the goal to see two performances per year. I'm not someone who gravitates toward performances for fun, but I do enjoy them when we go. I'm debating whether we should blow our entertainment budget for the month on this performance or take a trip to Wimberley for this performance, which is half the price. I'm leaning toward the latter as we tighten up our budget belt (and we could also cross off another day trip goal!).

I still need to get another camping trip scheduled.

Even though this sounds like a lot, our life actually doesn't feel too busy or over-scheduled. I'm paying close attention, since the Fall season starts to get crazy!

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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Foot Massages for Kids

Henry and I have started a little foot massage ritual with each other. Usually I give him foot massages before bed (it's the one time he truly relaxes!), but he has also started offering foot massages as a bet. For example, he bet me a foot massage that he could jump onto the raft without falling into the pool. He lost. I got a foot massage! 

I wanted to share the cream we use. I've used it for more than 15 years, ever since I took a massage class while I was living in rural Louisiana and they recommended it. Here's the magic cream! It glides really nicely and easily. 

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