Sunday, November 8, 2015

I Am Crazy Enough to Get Up With My Baby

Hello. My name is Chrissie and I foster a trained night nurser.

That's right. My youngest child is 10 months old, yet I am still getting up in the middle of the night as though she is 10 weeks. I question my sanity on a regular basis because I allow this to happen, but there is a part of me that feels I don't have a choice.

Some of my reasons may resonate with other parents and others may not, but the one thing we all have in common is that we have coffee on an IV drip and a short temper when the previous night was particularly bad.

1. My kids share a room

This isn't actually my family.
Yes, my kids ages 5, 3, and 10 months all share a room. I will admit I enjoy breaking this news to people because I am often met with an expression of utter disbelief. These days it seems every kid has his or her own room, which is crazy when I think about it. Back in the day, I daydreamed about my own room and -- when the day finally happened -- it was monumental. I also had to share a room with a piano in order for it to happen, but I made the sacrifice.

Dare I say my kids enjoy sharing a room with one another, especially since they have known no different. I am confident my 3-year-old son would be terrified in a room alone. The problem with the three of them together, though, is that the baby has a set of lungs that carry across town.

You know what I'm talking about. Those children (or people) who are loud when they are whispering? That is our baby. So even when she's whimpering in the middle of the night, her voice is ear-piercing. This isn't as big of a deal for my oldest, who sleeps like the dead (like me), but my son is a lighter sleeper. I have actually walked into the room to take care of the baby to find that my son had turned on the white noise machine to try and drown out the noise. Poor guy.

2. We tried cry it out one unfortunate weekend

When I had to sleep train my second child, he was 7 months old. My oldest was barely 2 and, with that gauntlet of toddler and infant care I had just gone through with 2 under 2, I had zero tolerance for this whole get-up-at-night thing. My solution was to wait until my husband was traveling for work and allow my daughter to sleep in bed with me. It took two nights to get him trained and the result was heavenly.

Fast forward to child No. 3 and we had a very different experience. First of all, my husband wasn't traveling for work this time, so he had to find somewhere else to sleep. Being 6-foot-3 with a large build, this wasn't easy. He tried to sleep on our air mattress downstairs, but the attempt was futile. I actually received a text message from two floors down around midnight: "The air mattress has a hole in it. This sucks." I admit I laughed in spite of his pain. He ended up sleeping on the couch and -- with the combination of our cats who enjoy batting and nuzzling those that sleep in their territory -- got about 4 hours of broken sleep.

I struggled to sleep as well. I was sharing our king sized bed with our older kids, who seem to be magnets for human beings when they sleep. I posted on Facebook the following morning that my son sleeps like the letter 'E'. I was kicked and poked all night. Hearing the baby scream down the hall was the least of my concerns.

The worst of the weekend, though, wasn't the sleep deprivation of my husband and I ... it was the older kids. Even though they destroyed my sleep with their sleep positioning and appeared to sleep soundly through the night, they were devil's spawn for the entire weekend. They clearly didn't get enough sleep and we spent the 48 hours of the weekend dealing with whining, screaming, and endless amounts of, "He touched me!" and "She's teasing me!"

As I shoved the two of them across school lines that Monday morning, I swore I didn't care if the baby woke up every night until she was 18 years old. I was never experiencing that again.

3. I changed my mind

It's been a few months since that awful weekend and -- as I struggle to focus on my work each day through sleep deprivation -- I have changed my mind about that whole getting-up-forever thing. I'm going to give it another go because, frankly, I'm losing my mind and coffee isn't making the same dent it once did. I'm also hoping to shed my parent title of, Mom Who Is Always Late at my kids' school.

The plan is to wait until my husband is in the Bahamas for work (yeah, I know, I know) and bring the older kids into bed with me. My top priority is going to be to get them good sleep. In other words, I won't have any emotion to give about the baby crying. She's just going to have to figure it out.

That, my fellow sleep-deprived parents, is what I believe to be the solution. You get to the edge of insanity and have no other choice than to break your child of his or her infant-waking habit.

If this attempt doesn't work, though, I may have to resort to bringing the baby into my room in a bassinet and really regress. Just kidding. I think. I hope.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Convenient Argument by the Almost-Birthday Girl

My kids are finishing their bath.

My daughter turns 5 tomorrow. She says to me:

"Mommy? I was telling Jack that whoever's almost birthday it is, or whoever's birthday is the closest or whoever's birthday is tomorrow gets to pick out the book. Am I right?"

Convenient, child. Convenient.

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Friday, October 2, 2015

How His Brain Works is Beyond Me

I have to thank my son's teachers for providing material while he's at school. There are a number of Jackisms we wouldn't otherwise be privy to!

Thank you, Sam, for this one.

Jack: "Ms, Sam do you have a baby at your house?"

Sam: "Nope, bud, just baby turtles."

Jack: "Well, why not?"

Sam: "I just didn't have a baby yet. One day I will."

Jack: "Oh okay, you left your baby at the dentist?"

Truly baffling.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Throw Away Your Own Fruit Snacks Wrapper

I know children are self-centered at their core and it is our role as parents to teach them to understand empathy.

I grasp this with my logical mind.

But, despite considering myself a rational adult, there are many moments day-to-day that leave me questioning my own sanity because these miniature human beings are so focused on what they want.

It really is good thing they’re cute.

1. “Can you hold this?”

Photo credit:
It never ceases to amaze me that my children can look at me holding two backpacks, two lunch boxes, a car seat, my purse, a blanket, three french hens, two turtledoves, and a partridge in a pear tree, and still attempt to hand me an empty fruit snacks wrapper.

Child: “Mommy, can you hold this?”

Me (in disbelief): “What do you think?”

Child (smirking): “… yeah?”

It is in this moment that I look over at my sauntering, empty-handed preschooler and offer a death glare that ultimately misses its mark because she is already throwing said-fruit snacks wrapper on the ground.

Now we must address the issue of littering.

2. “It’s too much work.”

I doubt I’m alone in the fact that I have two school-aged children who are fantastic at following rules for their teachers and awful at following those exact same rules in my home. Cleaning up their toys is a prime example.

It really is a simple rule, right? The child gets something out to play with, so the same child should put that something away when he or she is finished. It is so simple in theory.

Instead of compliant children, however, I am met with (a pathetic, whiny version of), “It’s too much work.”

It is at this point I have to throw out a threat to either tell his or her teacher about this violation of rules (yes, that actually works) or make an empty threat of taking away all toys he or she doesn’t put away.

Let me clarify that the threat of taking away all toys is not an empty threat because I refuse to do it, it’s an empty threat because there are so many damn toys in the house, my kids don’t even miss the ones I take away.

I tested this theory once with my son. Instead of remembering why he had his toys taken away, he shrugged and moved on to something else. Parenting win.

3. “Do you want to hurt me?”

Asking rhetorical questions to a preschooler is never a good idea. They don’t get it. They try to actually answer the question, and the answer is typically one you do not want to hear.

My son is a typical boy who uses his body as a weapon of love. You know what I mean … instead of giving a nice, sweet hug, he chooses to bull rush unsuspecting parties with his head at crotch length. It’s a real treat.

On a number of occasions, he has “loved” me in this way and I have asked him, “Do you want to hurt me?”

He often stops, looking like a deer in headlights, and says, “… yes …”

I know the answer is that he doesn’t, in fact, want to hurt me, but the rhetoric is lost on him and I end up more frustrated than when I started.

Moving on.

4. “No, that’s mine!”

Having young children will magically regress you to a place of having tantrums. Now, you may be someone who has tantrums anyway. If that is the case, I’m not here to judge. Tantrum away.

What I’m talking about, though, is the day you find yourself arguing with your small child over the ownership of an iPad that undoubtedly belongs to you. Why? Because your small child believes everything in the universe belongs to him or her, of course.

Child: “Where’s my iPad?”

Me (in the tone of a pre-pubescent teen): “Um, that’s my iPad.”

Child: “No, it’s my iPad!”

Me: “Did you buy it?”

Child: “Yes.”

See, this is where they get you. You think you have your child cornered with this black-and-white question, but your child really believes they own said iPad.

Unfortunately, there are only three ways to get out of this, and none of them are great. You can grumble something inaudible and hand your child the iPad, attempt to get into a conversation about hard work and ownership of property and watch your child’s eyes glaze over, or say no out of spite and watch a small earthquake erupt in your living room.

Please choose one of these and report back your results. Of course, you’ll have to wait until you get your iPad back first.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Why Mufasa "Got Dead" and Subsequent Lion King Conversations with My Kids

Mufasa. Doomed.
I arrived at my parents' house to pick up my kids this evening and found them watching "The Lion King."

My first thought took me back to 1994 when I saw the movie in the theater and clung to every word spoken by a pre-pubescent Jonathan Taylor Thomas as Simba (and, yes, I cursed Matthew Broderick for taking over when Simba grew up, but I digress).

My second thought was that my kids were going to freak out over the death of Mufasa, something I, personally, have freaked out about plenty of times in my life.

When you really think about it, children's movies have softened over the years. Today I watched cartoon Simba nuzzle himself under the arm of his dead father ... nuzzle under the arm of his dead father!

Nowadays, we see a tortured ship at sea and then a mourning Anna and Elsa in a Frozen castle, left to wonder what the heck happened. The entire thing completely sails over the heads of kids (see what I did there?) because they only had one scene to recognize Anna and Elsa had parents in the first place.

Back to the present and preparing my kids for the death of Mufasa. My mom wanted them to see "Hakuna Matata," and I wanted to give the kids the opportunity to see the tragic scene if they wanted to. I told Abby the dad dies and she confirmed she wanted to see the scene. Jack -- eyes fixed on the television -- nodded yes as well.

Hakuna Matata.
I essentially did a play-by-play of the scene to keep them from getting too sucked in and, let's face it, to keep myself from crying. He nuzzled under the arm of his dead father, for Pete's sake!

Once the scene was over and I had wiped my eyes, the recapping began. There were far too many conversations to reference, but I will provide a fun overview.

Conversation 1: Who Died?

Abby: "Jack! Did you see what happened? All the animals were running and bumped into the king and then he got dead."

Jack: "Yeah!"

Abby: "And then the king killed him."

Me: "No, the king died."

Abby: "Yeah, Mufasa killed him."

Me: "No, Scar killed him."

Abby: "Yeah. Why?"

Me: "Because he was mean and he wanted to be king."

Jack: "Yeah ... and then the animals were running and there were rocks and then he was the king."

Me: "..."

Conversation 2: Cactus Butt

Abby: "And then the black ... and white ..."

Me: "The hyenas."

Abby: "The hyenas ... said ... 'I don't want to look like you, Cactus Butt!'"

Jack: "Yeah ... and then he ran away and they said, 'I'll kill you!'"

Me: "They said if he came back they'd kill him."

Abby: "Yeah! Because the king died ... because the animals were running and bumped into the king and then he got dead."

Refer to Conversation 1.

Conversation 3: Enough Baby Talk!

Abby (referring to the scene in which Simba grows up): "And then they move like this (swinging her head back and forth) and he gets a little hair and then he gets a lot of hair and he's growed up!"

Jack: "Why did he get hair?"

Me: "Because lions get hair when they get older."

Abby: "Why?"

Me: "Because it happens. Just like babies. Like Evie who doesn't have any hair."

Abby: "Evie has hair!"

Me: "Yes, but not a lot. And some babies are born bald."

Abby: "Yeah! Like ... I have some baby dolls that I don't play with anymore that just have one little curl of hair and nothing else."

Jack: "We're not talking about babies! We're talking about lions!"

Me: "Okay, okay. Yes, boy lions get manes when they get older."

Abby: "Just like babies --"

Jack: "No more babies! We're talking about lions!"

Conversation 4: Who's Your Daddy?

Abby: "Do you have a mommy?"

Me: "Yes."

Abby: "Who?"

Me (still in disbelief she does not retain this information): "Grandma is my mommy."

Abby: "Oh."

Me: "Do you know who my daddy is?"

Abby: "No."

Me: "Guess."

Abby: "Papa?"

Me: "Yes. Do you know who daddy's mommy is?"

Abby: "You?"

Honestly, how does she not retain this?

Getting Dead

I'm glad we got through our first movie in which a character "gets dead" in front of the audience. I have to say, though, the minds of children fascinate me. I had to explain to Abby that Mufasa wasn't a real being ... even though he's a cartoon. How can she not tell a cartoon isn't an actual animal? I'm not sure, but apparently she can't. I had to tell her that Mufasa was an illustration and that someone spoke for him. So now I've probably helped her through her first character death and managed to ruin the Easter Bunny in the process somehow.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Why Caillou isn't THAT Bad ... and Three Shows I Think are Worse

Please do not throw things at me ... hear me out. I do not think Caillou is that bad. Yes, he's irritating. Yes, he's whiny. But on a scale of 1-10 -- one being the least annoying kids' TV show I have to endure and 10 being the most annoying -- I give him a five.

Perhaps it's because my own kids have mastered whining on a global level, so Caillou's game is pretty weak as far as I'm concerned. Or maybe it's because Caillou was the only thing that would get my then-two-year-old daughter to give me a break while I was caring for her infant brother that I became immune to Caillou's less-endearing qualities.

Regardless of the reason, I can, in fact, look past Caillou's no-name parents (in one episode, a restaurant host actually refers to them as "Caillou and Rosie's mommy and daddy"), the fact that they also have no tempers, and the fact that his teacher wears a red jumper every single day. I have no issue allowing my kids to watch Caillou.

There are other shows, however, that I absolutely mind them watching.

Dinosaur Train

I hate Dinosaur Train because it is illogical. Yes, I understand the message it is sending and I give it credit for that. A couple of pteranodons have four eggs -- three hatch as pteranodons, but one unexpectedly hatches a tyrannosaurus rex. Whoa, what happened?

To the credit of this loving family, Mr. and Mrs. Pteranodon adopt the T-Rex ("Buddy") as their own, and the family of six enjoys adventures in prehistoric times. There are a few problems, though.

First off, this would not happen. And before you tell me that it is a kids' TV show, know that I understand that. But you are mixing carnivores and herbivores and pretending it would be no problem at all! Even in the movie "Madagascar," Alex the Lion had to fight urges to eat Marty the Zebra when they were stranded without food.

Second, this is prehistoric times with a train. A train! Why is there a working train on this show? Yes, I get that the dinosaurs also speak English, which is unrealistic in and of itself, but c'mon.

Finally, I just find them annoying. Simple as that.

Daniel Tiger

It is somewhat ironic that I find Daniel Tiger irritating because I loved Mister Rogers Neighborhood as a kid. Ironic both because I should, therefore, like Daniel Tiger and also because the same character in Mister Rogers Neighborhood injected "meow meow" in between every third word, yet I still manage to find him adorable.

It isn't the character himself that I dislike in the new version, it's the fact that each show has it's own jingle that is repeated over and over and over and over ad nauseam. 

One episode I tolerated was about potty training because, well, I was willing to try just about anything to get my kid potty trained. The episode stresses the importance of stopping to go, regardless of wanting to stay and play. This is an awesome message, but every other line in the show is interrupted by one of the characters singing this little jingle: If you have to go potty stop! and go right away ... flush and wash and be on your way!

By the end of one 25-minute episode, I'm singing the damn song, my kids are singing the damn song, and no one altered their potty methods!

Curious George

This is another show that drives me insane because it is so improbable and ridiculous. Yes, I understand that this story predates my birth, but why is there a man who looks like an oil tycoon for Bananaland housing a monkey in his apartment? And why does he take this monkey to human doctors, restaurants, and schools? And how can he talk to this monkey?

If the show is ever on (and, thank God, it never is), I find myself getting riled up over the fact that a monkey can walk into a store and have a chat with the owner by making a bunch of monkey noises and pointing ... and that no one finds it strange. At all. Then you throw in a dog that also can apparently communicate and this man with the yellow hat whose only friend in life is a monkey.

We have a handful of the books, one of which I read to the kids the other night. In it, George gets a job washing windows, but gets in trouble after he breaks into one of the apartments to paint a jungle scene on the walls and furniture. He nearly escapes, but breaks his leg in a fall and is sent to the hospital (not a vet, a hospital). 

The man with the yellow hat sees the story in the newspaper and rushes to the hospital to claim George so he can hire him as an actor to portray himself in a movie about his life as a curious monkey. Totally plausible.

The reason I'm recounting this story is because the final scene of the book has the man with the yellow hat smoking a cigar. Seeing him smoking a cigar gave him some credibility for me. Clearly anti-smoking laws have emasculated the man with the yellow hat.

In conclusion, as I look back over this blog, it appears the one thing you should take from my ramblings is to avoid PBS at all costs. As someone who loves Sesame Street, I don't recommend you avoid the network completely, but the evidence speaks for itself. There are some hokey and annoying shows on public television.

This is why your kids probably love the network and why you probably loved the network as a child. And with that, I'll provide a walk down PBS memory lane:

There's this guy, who did odd things in the name of books.
This guy, who had a second home so he could change into sweaters,
feed his fish, and play with trains.
These people, who were obsessed with dots.
And, finally, not a kids show, but let's end with Bob Ross
and his happy little trees!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Nature vs. Nurture: My Perspective Post-Kids

I have always been interested in psychology. I fell just two classes short of a psych minor in college because I took so many classes out of a pure desire to learn. So it isn't a surprise that, prior to having kids of my own, I assumed the majority of a child's personality is formed from parental and cultural influence.

Now that I have an almost-five-year-old daughter, three-year-old son and seven-month-old daughter, however, I have changed my tune.

Allow me to explain.

Being Beautiful

Abby's future plans include butterfly mascara.
Any young girl knows the societal pressures of being beautiful. The last thing I want for either of my daughters is to be consumed with physical appearances to the point of ignoring the awesome young ladies they become. I am cognizant that I am not only telling Abby she is beautiful inside and out, but that she is smart and funny, too. That didn't stop her from discovering the beauty gene, however.

I wasn't sure Abby would be a "girlie girl" considering she wore Toy Story t-shirts for her entire third year of life, but she is evolving. Now she's taken it to another level. 

  1. She started wearing her play high heels around the house and wanted to wear them to school, so I bought her Mary Jane's.
  2. She threw an epic tantrum because we wanted her to wear bicycle shorts under her dress for a park visit. She insisted that her dress "wouldn't be beautiful" if she wore shorts under it. It was at this point that Tom and I realized something had shifted in the Abby matrix.
  3. Most recently, we were sitting in the living room watching TV as a family and a make-up commercial came on. We were half paying attention to it, but Abby chimes in once it's over and -- with total seriousness -- asks, "Dad? When I grow up, can I get butterfly mascara?"

A Love for the Ladies

Jack has taught me that attraction is ingrained at birth. He has also taught me that he is a boob guy.

Beginning at the tender age of two, Jack has shown his love for this particular feature. He has also shown that he is 100-percent willing to cross any social barriers and make himself welcome on a woman's lap.

  1. Over the holidays, Jack -- who stopped taking naps awhile back -- perched himself on a family friend's lap and rested his head on her chest. He then proceeded to fall asleep in the midst of a crowded party. I guess he was in his happy place.
  2. At a Rodan+Fields party I hosted in April, I hosted a handful of women who were "blessed" in this area. Jack welcomed each lady as she entered the party, immediately offered a hug and then followed each to her seat where he sat on her lap. He moved on to welcome each new woman as she arrived, not discriminating.
  3. At a Tigers game in early July, Jack spotted my cousin's daughter two rows up. He was already smitten with her after a graduation party a couple weeks prior, and quickly moved to her lap. What blew me away was when the crowd volume rose to a deafening roar and he just sat there, gazing at Marisa. Jack is so sensitive to sound that I purchased hunting earphones for him to block out noise at the dinosaur exhibit at the zoo. Well. Apparently the right woman can neutralize his senses.
I truly wonder if this fearlessness will carry over into adolescence and adulthood. If it does, this child -- incredibly charming -- will have no shortage of female suiters. Tom and I also predict that his sisters will avoid bringing friends to the house.

Social Butterfly

It's difficult to tell much about the baby at this point, but I will say that she is our most social child. At just seven months, she has made it clear that she is a people person. If she has the attention of others, she's happy. If she doesn't, she's mad. Not sad, but mad

I predict she will be the most extroverted of the three. Lord help us.

This whole nature vs. nurture thing is fascinating. There are traits my kids were born with, but they are also sponges. There are things I know I never told them, but they manage to pick them up. Butterfly mascara, Abby? Really? I don't wear make-up (aside from Rodan+Fields peptides, of course), so why does she care about make-up so much?

I (clearly) sell Rodan+Fields and talk to Abby about it, but not Jack. So imagine my surprise (and delight) when he said to one of his teachers last week as she was putting on his sunscreen, "This isn't my sunscreen, it's my 'fine line potion.'" 

Moral of the story: don't discredit advertising. It clearly works.

Did I mention I sell Rodan+Fields?

Friday, July 10, 2015

My Big Friday Accomplishments

Sometimes it's the little things.

Today, I had a few minor accomplishments that seemed monumental in my own mind. Let's begin with the first one of my day.

1. Extra coffee goes a long way

Ain't that the truth?
Okay, hear me out. I know this sounds obvious.

Every morning, my amazing husband makes me coffee that I take with me on my drive to the kids' school. Recently, that drive has been excruciating. No matter how fast I gulp down the coffee, I am yawning and feel like the dead for the entire 25-minute drive.

This morning, I decided to change my strategy and I started drinking my coffee while getting ready to leave. By the time I walked out the door, I had made myself a second coffee for the car. It worked. I was alert (or at least not yawning the entire time) for the car ride!

Yes, this should have been figured out a long time ago, but let's just focus on the fact that I did figure it out. I'm so excited that I'm going to stay up extra late tonight.

2. I found the perfect (cheap) gift for Abby

It's one thing to find an awesome item for your child. It's another thing to find an awesome item that costs less than $10. When you find a cheap item that your child loves, you know it's because you found the perfect thing and not because you bought an expensive toy.

Abby has been in a beauty phase. She wants to wear non-character dresses, heels, and make-up. I have no idea where she got it from, but we are all girl all the time. When I was in Target yesterday (God help me), I saw a $5 Barbie lip gloss palette made to look like an iPhone. Each button was a different lip gloss and it came with a brush for application.

I gave it to her and this girl has carried it with her for the past 36 hours. She's giving anyone and everyone lip gloss.

Two lessons: it doesn't take a lot of money to please your child, and, I'm awesome.

3. My exercise is paying off ... sort of

"C'mon Chrissie," said Tony.
"Work out with me."
My second daughter is six-and-a-half months old and I've been fighting my body to regain my svelte figure. It's a battle. Between stress, exhaustion, and love of food and beer, I'm yo-yoing in a painful way.

This past week I decided enough was enough and I cut out the beer and have exercised every day. I've continued running, did a few P90X workouts, and wove in some Pilates DVDs. My muscles are sore.

I received a few compliments today that I look great and am getting rid of that baby weight. I'm flattered and excited. Only problem is that the scale isn't budging. I'm guessing it's because of muscle fatigue and water retention and all that good stuff.

Here's hoping.

These small accomplishments aren't much, I know, but I found myself beaming. It may be lame, but it's the little things with me right now. Hopefully I can one-up my "major" achievements tomorrow.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Must You Interrupt My Major Life Lesson?

I was reading an article online today about parents teaching their children to respect differences. We should not only teach our kids to see beyond physical differences, it said, but we should make sure they ask questions behind closed doors out of respect. I logged this bit of information and went about my day.

Fast forward to bedtime and I was reading Abby a book entitled, "What Mommies/Daddies Do Best." It's a book that has identical text for both mommies and daddies. "Mommies can teach you how to ride a bicycle; have a picnic with you, etc." Then, "Daddies can teach you how to ride a bicycle; have a picnic with you, etc." Each mommy, daddy, and child is depicted by an animal. There are hippos riding bikes, porcupines going through a bedtime routine, blah blah.

Anyway, we have read this book a few times over the past week and, each time, Abby points to the (very large) hippo mommy on a bicycle on the first page and says, "That doesn't look like a mommy." Earlier in the week, I just brushed this off and didn't respond. Tonight, however, I was armed with having read that blog earlier in the day.

It was time to teach a life lesson.

When Abby pointed to the hippo and stated, "That doesn't look like a mommy," I replied, "Sure it does. Mommies all look different right?"

I was so proud of myself. I mean, I'm passing along major life lessons here. I'm being the mom I'm supposed to be. The next time we see someone in public who looks different, I think, Abby will know that it's okay to look different.

My inflated mommy ego was short-lived, however, when she looked at Evie and started stroking her Pebbles-esque ponytail and said, "Evie's hair is soft!"

Maybe she didn't hear me. There was a lot going on in the room at the time. I wanted to make absolute sure she heard me, though, because this was a big-time life lesson. I needed her to understand that she shouldn't believe mommies to look all one way -- they all look different.

So I reiterated, "Mommies come in all different shapes and sizes, right? Not all mommies look the same."

What does she do next? Points to that same hippo on that same bike and says, "That doesn't look like a mommy."

I sigh heavily and say -- knowing she would have no idea what I was talking about -- "way to buy into the stereotype."

Moving along to the daddy side of the book, she pointed out yet another animal and declared that it "didn't look like a daddy." At this point, I'm completely beyond attempting to teach anything. Clearly she is not in the right state of mind to learn how the world works. I blow off her comment.

We got to the end of the book and there was another picture of the same daddy/child pair, but in a different position. She says, "Now it looks like a daddy." I asked why. "Look at his shirt!"

I quit. Consider me destined to be embarrassed in public when my kid points out that someone doesn't look right.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Forbes: Living The Dream, Self-Made Women Edition

I read Lean In. I loved it. It's a subtle yet forceful message that women need to do a better job of standing up for themselves because if they don't, nothing is going to change.

Mentioning Sheryl Sandburg, I also need to mention that I am heartbroken for her following the recent loss of her husband. I can't imagine the pain she is experiencing right now. She is a phenomenal woman who has stood up for those who are not using their voices loud enough and she's encouraging women to do more in the business world.

I am a new entrepreneur who is currently looking for a part-time job to provide for my family as I continue along the path toward my dreams. Women like Sheryl encourage me to continue on, and articles like the one Forbes published today encourage me even more.

Sex Sells

This is a culture in which sex sells, and there are a lot of women who use that to their advantage. Yes, it's playing the game, but it's an insecure path to take. I love that strong, intelligent women are moving to the forefront and representing the path of most resistance.

I may be a pain in the ass who talks too much and creates too many waves, but I haven't let anyone change me. I am going to succeed, damn it. And I'm going to do it my way.

Aligning with the Right People

As I work my PR business with my best friend, Tara, I love the fact that my side business, Rodan+Fields, is the baby of two other strong women, Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields. They have a business opportunity video in which they introduce each other as best friends and business partners.

Not only is this company I'm representing headed up by amazing businesswomen, they, too, are best friends. I must be on the right path.

Funny Ladies

Throughout history, there are the funny women who are legitimately talented in the world of show business and have the ability to be self-deprecating in the most amazing ways. Back in the day it was Lucille Ball and Betty White, who is still going strong.

Now it's Melissa McCarthy, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, Amy Schumer, Patricia Arquette. I absolutely love this skit from Amy Schumer's show!

Warning, the 'F' word is used a lot!

So, while I would love to keep writing about this topic of strong women, I currently have a future strong woman on my lap. She's five months old today and is not about to be left in a baby swing.

Per Sheryl Sandburg, I will continue managing my business and being a mom as I plan to take over the world and set the best possible example for my two daughters and -- even more importantly -- my son.

It's Friday. Do a Little Something for Yourself

It's Friday. You're ready for the weekend. You're supposed to be working, but instead you're browsing Facebook, hopping from one person's post to the next. Before you know it, you're looking at photos of a high school classmate from three Christmases ago and stalking someone you haven't spoken to in years to see if he's found another girlfriend.

Don't lie.

Since you're more than likely engrossed in a state of being unproductive, I'm going to pounce on your inner desire to pamper yourself.

Enter my world of Rodan+Fields ...


Let's just get this out of the way now. You don't want to buy because it's expensive. I get it. It is expensive. But there is a huge difference between buying something expensive that gives you zero benefit and buying something expensive that does what it says it's going to do.

Read on.

You may decide to take the plunge and purchase something from me. Let's say you're part of the less than 1-percent that wants to return your product for one reason or another. The great thing is, you can return it. You can use every drop of every bit of product in every bottle and get all of your money back within 60 days. These kick ass doctors believe in their product that much. So you're really not risking anything.

What Have You Done for Yourself Lately?

It's a matter of luxury, not necessity. You're not buying something you need you're buying something you want. My job is to convince you that you want it. And you want it. Trust me.

The same way you want a beautiful, expensive purse, or a nice pair of shoes, you want Rodan+Fields skincare ... and it will leave your skin feeling beautiful and light.

There's No Quick Fix ... But Maybe There is ...

If someone was selling you a product that would give you the body you've always wanted in 60 days or less, you'd pounce on it.

For that same reason, if you're an adult who has struggled with acne or red skin forever and nothing has worked, try this. You have nothing to lose. And it's worked for people!

Here is a photo of my aunt who has struggled with Rosacea throughout her life. Nothing worked ... until this.

In Conclusion ...

So, the moral of the story is: it may be a little on the pricey side, but there's no risk, you deserve it, and it may be the answer you've been looking for.

Your skin is like your sex life: if it's great, it ain't no thang. You don't even think about it. If it sucks, it consumes you. You hate it. It's all you think about.

 So give in to that temptation and do a little something for yourself why don't ya?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Name that Parent: Who Do Our Kids Take After?

First comes love, then comes marriage, then come the babies and the two of you spend the rest of your lives debating who they take after.

Husbands and wives love to say, "she gets that from me," or, "he's your son." I'm never sure if we do that out of pride -- good or bad traits -- or fear.

So, let's take a look at my kids and their awesome traits and see who Tom and I think they take after. Tom is actually in the room, so I'm going to poll him LIVE.

Hold on to your butts (name the movie).

The Tyrant

Pretty much.
Abby is a tad ... bossy. And I know I'm not supposed to use the word bossy because feminism and equal opportunity workplace yada yada. But. She is.

We went to my best friend's house for Memorial Day. She has a three-year-old daughter who is also, shall I say, headstrong. The two of them could not play together. They were offending each other left and right. It was like one of those chess matches where the two players are so good no one makes a move because they are anticipating each others moves.

Where does she get that quality?

I say: Me. Yes, it's true. This is the reason I am not someone everyone loves. I want to be in control and that offends more people than I probably realize. I'm going to try and help Abby not offend as many people as I do on a daily basis.

Tom: You. Because you're a thick-headed numbskull.

The Sensy

Jack has been described as "all boy," which essentially means he is more than happy injuring himself and others. I'm not sure what it means beyond that.

On the flip side, he is also incredibly sensitive to sound (hates horns), touch (hates pants), and Abby (does whatever she wants).

Where does he get that quality?

I say: Neither. I think Jack is a unique bird. His sensitivity comes from Tom. Although, his willingness to do what Abby wants in order to keep her from going nuts may also come from Tom. And I respect that.

Tom: Has no answer because he is engrossed in watching The Bachelor. And apparently me bossing him around to get an answer is not effective.

The Thoughtful One

On to the attractive qualities. Abby is incredibly thoughtful. As much as she can be a huge pain (and I say that with love), she truly loves to see others happy. If we need something, she will help us. Though, there are times we will ask, "Can you do me a favor?" and she'll say, "No. I don't want to."

Where does she get her thoughtful quality?

I say: She gets it from both sides. The fact that she likes to mother her siblings comes from me without a doubt. Thinking of others in terms of special gifts comes from Tom. In other words, we're both incredible.

Tom: Both of us. Because we both offer different qualities that we learn from.

And just like that ... WE WOULD WIN THE NEWLYWED GAME.

The Entertainer

Jack is hysterical. He's strange, I will admit. But he's beyond funny. If you would like some examples, visit the things my kids say page.

Where does that sense of humor come from?

I say: Me. Because I'm hilarious. Duh.

Tom: I don't know. He's his own. I think we allow him to establish who he is.

And now I'm petty. Oh, well.

I will admit, he is a brand all his own. And I love how he rocks it. Both of our "big kids" are pretty kick ass.

Not actually my kid.
That brings me to ... the baby.

Who does she remind us of to date?

I say: Me. Because she conveys her opinion with her eyebrows.

Tom: I don't know. I can't wait to find out. I think she's going to be her own soul. The fact that she just smiles at everything from the jump.

And once again. I'm petty. Do we see why Tom married me? Clearly I'm quite a catch.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Yep. I won the wallet.

It's amazing what a little swag can do for your self esteem.

I am so unbelievably excited to earn this damn wallet. Yes, a wallet. It's really nothing overly fancy, but it's something I did all by myself. By selling. Me. A salesperson.

I didn't really think I would be cut out for sales, but it turns out I could sell sand in a desert. All it takes, for me, is truly believing in something. Then look out, world.

I started this blog because I wanted to tell stories about my kids. I still want to tell stories about my kids, but I'm finding now that I also want to tell stories about my life and about my business. I ventured out on my own over a year ago and am still wading through the murky waters of entrepreneurism. I am enjoying working with companies and professional athletes, but I have also found hope in a jar (or a tube?) in the form of Rodan+Fields.

This business is something I am absolutely loving, which was completely unexpected. But it's social media marketing and sales -- something I went to school for.

It's also fun to hear my daughter ask if I'm having a "skincare party" and to see her show off the products to my guests. It's becoming a family business in which my kids know the lingo, and that's actually quite satisfying.

Yes, kiddos, your mama hustles lotion. But it's paying the bills.

I DID IT! I have earned this Kate Spade wallet through my Rodan+Fields sales! I am SO EXCITED about this, you have no...
Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Friday, April 24, 2015

I've Committed the Cardinal Sin of Blogging

I've been MIA for awhile.

I doubt anyone would blame me, considering the chaos that is my life. I will say that I'm enjoying it more now that my family has settled into having three kids instead of two ... and no longer being pregnant means I can survive on much less sleep.

So, here are my updates in all areas of my life:

Network Marketing Niche

I remain on my quest to become a top earner with Rodan+Fields, though my strategy has changed to better fit my own personality and style. I'm definitely enjoying all of the success stories from customers as I'm embracing my inner saleswoman.

Body After Baby: Update

I'm still working on getting back into shape after having my third baby in five years. It's not as easy as I would have hoped. I tried the Dr. Phil 20/20 diet, but my milk supply tanked on the first day and I had to go back to eating regularly. The key for me is exercise, but I'm having a tough time motivating myself to do so every single night.

There is something about sitting on the couch and drinking wine with my husband that has a magnetic pull each and every night. I'm getting better, but I'm definitely not to where I need to be.

Kids: Two is Company, Three's a Crowd

I feel like Abby went through the hellion stage after Evie was born, incredibly clingy with me and throwing tantrums at every turn. Now it's as though she's passed the baton to Jack, who has taken up the role as resident jealous child.

Jack is an impressive tantrum-thrower, I must say. While Abby has the determination of a bull, Jack can throw a fit over the most random of things. One day while I was dropping him off at school, he fell to the floor in a fit of tears because Buzz Lightyear's arm wasn't in the proper position. If anything, I suppose he'll be the model student when "stop, drop, and roll" is the topic of the day.

He also has zero control over his body, which can effectively be used as a weapon. Because he feels the need to jump around every single second of the day, it isn't uncommon in our house to hear me or my husband sudden scream, "Ow! Jack, don't kick me in the face!"

Then, because of what I label as a need to showcase her status as the model child, Abby will emerge on the scene asking (loudly), "What happened? What did Jack do?" You can actually see the halo over her head while she's asking these questions. She might as ask, "What is it now that my heathen of a brother has gotten himself into?"

But, really, they all love each other. Moving on.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Full House is creating a spinoff where DJ is a widowed mother of two with another baby on the way. This has the potential to be awesome. It also has the potential to be incredibly painful. Either way, I'm enjoying all of the Mary Kate and Ashley jokes that have emerged this week.
  • Grey's Anatomy has killed off another main character. Many on Facebook are revolting after the difficult episode. I, personally, just can't believe that show is still on. I haven't watched it since Meredith had a near-death experience. It has taken on a soap opera type quality where everything that could ever go wrong to a person has gone wrong. If you've made it this far with the show, I'm not sure if I should congratulate you or dish out condolences. Then again, I'm excited for a Full House reunion.
  • I will be participating in the Michigan Softball Academy for the second straight year next Thursday. Anyone who wants to donate can do so here. We are trying to raise the most money, specifically looking to take down the WTKA team. I am hoping I do much better than last year. While I'm a pretty good fielder, my hitting skills leave much to be desired. I can actually sense the looks of pity on me as a whiff swing after swing. Here's hoping I can make contact more often than not.

Business Chic: Trusting My Own Instincts

I am a classic Type A personality. I want to achieve. I want to thrive. I want to be right.

These attributes are both a blessing and a curse. While I am more determined than most (and stubborn as a bull), I sometimes set off on the wrong direction. Because my personality is how it is, however, I usually sprint in the wrong direction. That leaves me much further off course than the average person once I recognize I need to reroute.

This has happened to me with Rodan+Fields.

Rising Goals

I entered Rodan+Fields excited about making some extra money. Income is sporadic with my PR business because it is event-based and not month-to-month, so I was looking for some stability. My goals were reasonable: be able to pay my monthly bills. My lofty goal? Sending my baby to daycare in the fall.

I set out on my journey only to meet one of the power players in the business. She hosted my launch party and she inspired me. Her personality reminded me of my own and she was impressed with me. All of the sudden, I believed I could do it, too.

Following the Rules

My beautiful upline sponsor, Heidi.
I attended a Leslie Zann conference with my team, having just come off signing an insane number of regular customers up for products. After listening to Leslie, I was immediately inspired to push myself to greatness. She stressed the importance of balance: push products, but also push the business. Okay, I thought. I can do that.

So I did. I began reaching out to prospects I believed would do a great job selling. I found some interested folks, but nothing panned out. I started to get discouraged that I couldn't sign anyone to be part of my team. After all, I wasn't going to succeed unless I built my business and built it fast. That was what was being preached.

Through that discouragement, however, I continued to sell products. I held my second and third parties and got better and better at talking about the products. Because, the truth is, I love the products. They work and -- more importantly to me -- they help people.

One Step Too Far

I was met with an eye-opening experience with one of my prospects that changed my entire outlook on this business. Without getting into detail, this prospect perceived me as pushing too hard for her to sign on.

I then took a step back and looked at what I had been doing. The behavior wasn't me. Granted, I am admittedly an extremely pushy person. Extremely. But I'm pushy when I believe in something for someone. I'm not pushy in a way of trying to force something on someone. There is a difference.

In my first two months within the business, I haven't had enough experience to get to the point where I can believe in something for someone. I have, however, had enough experience with the products to where I believe in them for others, and I've sold a lot of them as a result. And the more I sell, the more stories I get back from happy customers. I love it.

But from a business standpoint, I can't talk the talk until I've walked the walk. It unfortunately took a tough situation for me to recognize that, but I've recognized it nonetheless. Now it's time to reroute.

Perfect Timing

I have a very black-and-white way of thinking, so I started believing that I couldn't do this business if I wasn't willing to be the pushy person I was being told to be. Then I talked to my awesome upline leader, though, and she expressed to me that she may not have had the fastest start, but she's stayed trust to herself.

I'm recognizing that I can still enjoy this business simply by being myself and selling products. If others want to join me along the way, I will happily welcome them, but I'm not going to push anyone into doing something they aren't ready or willing to do. No more.

As though the Rodan+Fields gods wanted to reinforce this way of thinking, I received an unexpected package in the mail yesterday. It consisted of thank you cards and a R+F pen -- my first reward for reaching a milestone with the company. That small token made me feel so much a part of the business and fueled my excitement for continuing along the path I'm on.

I'm now looking to achieve the second milestone with the company through selling these amazing products I believe in 100 percent. I truly can't wait for my first business partner to come along -- I know she will -- but I'm done trying to force it. Instead, I'm going to control what I can control, and kick ass doing it.
A photo posted by Chrissie Wywrot PR & Social (@thebusinesschic) on

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Where is the Easter Bunny From?

Getting ready to walk out the kids' room tonight and I reminded them that tomorrow is Easter. I know that the primary thing is the Easter Bunny ... because ... I have no idea.

So I made sure I said, "Do you know what Easter is for? Jesus rose from the dead."

And, yes, I picked Jon Stewart on purpose.

I went on to explain, "Yes, Easter has the bunny ... not sure where that came from, but Easter is when Jesus rose from the dead."

That's when Abby injected a profound statement.

"Maybe the Easter Bunny is from Africa."

Hmm. Sure. Perhaps. I'll ask Ziggy Ansah if he's heard of this theory.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Insanity is Contagious ... and I Have It

My husband and I are moving into the keep-your-sanity-at-all-costs parenting phase. Long gone are the days of merely providing physiological needs for our children. Instead we are combating insanity which, I am finding, is both contagious and transferable.

Unfortunately for me, I currently have a bad case of insanity. This is evidenced by a number of symptoms.

I Am Making Up Rules

I was feeding Evie (13 weeks) and Abby (4 1/2) came into the room, looking to irritate me. My husband thinks I'm being harsh when I think this way, but it's SO OBVIOUS.

She picks up one of the hoses from my breast pump and starts flipping it around like a jump rope.

Me: "Stop that."

Abby: "Why?"

Me: "Um, because I said! When I tell you something, you don't ask why, you just do it!"

Holy s*%$.  I am my parents.

I Am Turning into an Adolescent Child

Dig into this story you're sure to love.

I was home alone with all three kids, putting them through their bedtime routine. I threw a pile of clean laundry on the floor in their room. I asked Abby to start sorting it. She refused.

"No, I don't want to."

"I don't care if you want to. I told you to do it, so you need to do it."

Right. She began mocking me in her mind. Or at least that's what I envisioned. Instead of sorting the clothes, she started jumping into them as though they made up a pile of leaves. My blood started to boil as she continued to disregard my instruction.

Finally, I decided to put into practice a tactic I have been using to force my kids to acknowledge the instructions I give. I told Abby, "repeat what I told you to do."

Her reply?

"Repeat what I told you to do."

Me: "Excuse me?"

Abby: "Excuse me?"

Okay. At this point, just consider me a 10-year old. I'm pissed. This four-year old is NOT going to get the better of me. I take her Lego set that she got that day and I put it on the bookshelf out of her reach. She starts going crazy. That's it. I showed her.

I go back to getting the kids ready for bed. Jack is completely nude after a bath. I told him to put on his Pull-Up, but I don't know why I even gave the instruction. I know he won't do this on his own. I then turn around and see that Abby has pulled up a stool to retrieve her Legos from the shelf.

Um. NO.

I lose it. Like ... lose it. I put the Legos on the tippity top shelf and start to say things to Abby that there is no way she's going to comprehend.

"This is about respect! You need to listen to me when I tell you something!"

She is giggling. I'm so far gone. No hope for me now.

It Only Gets Worse

These things just compile on top of one another to the point that the dumbest, smallest thing turns me into a raving lunatic. Fast forward to bath time and the kids were putting their teacups on the ledge of the tub so that overflowing water was spilling onto the floor. I swear, one drop hit the tile and I turned into the Hulk. I may have actually turned green.

Tom laughs at me and wonders how I can let these things get to me. I, personally, think he just underestimates the emotional intelligence of our kids. Either way, the bottom line is that I will win.

I will win.

I will.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Story of Thy Scatterbrained Self

I feel like I should have more to contribute. I'm sitting here in my dining room, watching the baby stir (she's probably waking from an amazing fantasy that involves eating) and knowing my time is short. I need to write a blog. What should I write about?

How about the chaos that is married life with three kids under five, two businesses, and a freelance writing career? I will take them one-by-one.

Married Life with Three Kids Under Five

Photo via Flickr by
No, I don't put together impressive spreads such as this.
Yes, it sounds daunting, but it's not so much because of the children themselves. If you asked me what it was that makes three kids under five so difficult, I would tell you it's the fact that they eat. If I never had to actually feed my children, parenting would be so much easier. Hear me out.

First off, my two older kids are beyond picky when it comes to food, and they are picky in opposite directions.

While my daughter will eat vegetables, I don't think my son has ever eaten anything that has ever grown out of the ground. At least on purpose. My son isn't a crazy snacker and he doesn't care much for sweets. My daughter is asking for something every 2.5 seconds and lives for dessert.

As someone who needs silence to feel centered, being asked for food 5,214 times a day and being met with, "NOOOO!" whenever I serve something is enough to drive me to drink. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I digress.

Then there is the baby, who obviously needs to eat regularly and, when she does, needs to be fed by me. This results in contorting and balancing as I try to get other things done while feeding the baby. Ironically, the ability to nurse my baby makes things more convenient in many ways, but having to feed a baby in general throws a wrench into things.

The bottom line is that kids do, in fact, have to eat. So this reality won't be changing anytime soon.

Not One -- But Two -- Businesses

Evie's future. Image via Flickr by GYLo
Now that pregnancy is over, having my own business has an entirely different set of challenges, though I obviously prefer the baby over pregnancy.

Especially since Tara and I were somewhat of a waddling sideshow when we would meet with clients. It's one thing to have one pregnant PR person, but two? Our prize is that we now have two teeny-tiny mascots.

What this baby has forced me to do is learn how to manage my time. I have to squeeze every bit of productivity out of every minute I have, which isn't really a strength of mine.

I am someone who wants to get everything done all the time. Getting anything done is impossible when you're thinking about all the things you aren't getting done while trying to get something done. Right? I'm sure you followed that.

The teaching element is a good one for me, though. I have to learn how to do one thing at a time and take breaks when I need to. I usually get tunnel vision and lash out at anything breaking my concentration. As a woman with three kids, this method isn't going to work.

I'm also selling Rodan+Fields, which I initially didn't think of as my own business. Now that I've been in it a month, have gone to an awesome seminar, and have seen some of the impressive women who have made a lot of money for themselves, I recognize it as my second business. The great thing is that it is exactly what I do well: marketing. What it's doing, though, is drawing my attention away from everything else because I'm so excited about it I want to do it all the time.

Freelance Writing

In addition to my family and my two businesses, I've taken a freelance job with CopyPress. The entertaining part about this job is that it throws extremely random assignments at me with a two- or three-day turnaround. Looking at my planner, one would find, "Finish story on Lobster" next to "Write press release for Wicked Awesome Wishes." I'm learning about a lot of random topics, I'll admit.

This is my scattered self right now, with humorous kid lines mixed in, of course.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Why I'm Suddenly Selling Rodan+Fields

It all started in a 5,000 Watt radio station in Fresno, California ...

(If you can tell me where that quote comes from, I'll send you a free lip balm ... NO CHEATING [aka NO GOOGLE]! Bonus if you're under the age of 40.)

As a brand new Rodan+Fields consultant, I have been told to come up with my "why," meaning the reason I chose to sell skincare. The idea is to get to the root and connect with others over what drove me to direct sales.

When I sat down and thought about it, my "why" really does take me way back, though it's not to a 5,000 Watt radio station in Fresno, it's to a Major League Baseball stadium in Detroit. In a twist of fate, the beginning of my story actually begins in 1999 in the place I met my current Rodan+Fields partner, Heidi. In fact, I don't think we've seen each other in person since the end of that season that marked the end of the Tiger Stadium era.

I was actually 17 years old in 1999 with a passion for baseball. I desperately wanted a career in sports, so -- being the insane go-getter I am -- I called the front office looking to job shadow someone in the field as part of a high school college prep course. I met Mary Lenhert, who so graciously gave me a tour of Tiger Stadium. My strength and passion was writing, but I didn't want to be an antagonist of the team, I wanted to be part of the team, so my mindset was to find a field in which I could do both.

Me and Heidi, circa 1999, at Tiger Stadium.
When I saw the colorful desks of the PR department, I decided that was for me. From that point on, I would be a public relations major with an eye toward working in Major League Baseball. I was also given a job in the guest services department, which was awesome considering it was the final season at Michigan and Trumbull.

Despite being chronically-angry and somewhat naive senior in high school, I had a blast that season. Heidi in particular was wonderful. She was so genuine despite the fact that I was probably an incredibly irritating individual and, come to find out 15 years later, she is still that way. I'm sure that played a huge part in edging me toward taking this plunge, but I digress.

I still remember my high school teacher asking me to come to the front of the class after our job shadowing assignments were handed back. She said, "You know, if anyone out there can succeed, it's you." I never forgot that. It really is incredible how small statements can be so impacting. We never know whether what we're saying will stick with someone forever.

College and Beyond

I had decided I was going to be a public relations major and that's what I did. I continued to work in guest services for the Detroit Tigers while I went to school, constantly pestering the Human Resources director (sorry, Lara) for an internship. My persistence probably solidified the fact that I wasn't going to get it, or maybe it was the attitude that has ultimately made me a great entrepreneur and leader, but that often rubs certain personalities the wrong way.

To say I don't have a problem with authority is true, but with authority must come respect. Those who allow themselves to see my strong and genuine personality for what it is tend to love me. Those who don't tend to think I'm a huge pain in the ass. I can't really fault them, I'm pretty polarizing. You either love me or you hate me -- there doesn't tend to be an in between. But in reading this lovely banter, can you even fathom how anyone would hate me? Seriously, I'm a delight.

I had a lot of fun with this job and got to do
some pretty amazing things. Here, I'm interviewing
Matthew Stafford the day after we drafted him
No. 1 overall in 2009.
While I didn't get my big break into professional sports through an internship with the Tigers, I did get it through a friend I made while working with the Tigers. My friend Robb chose to take a job with the Detroit Lions when they moved to Ford Field in Detroit and gave a glowing recommendation to the digital media department (then called "new media") of me for an internship.

To make a long story short, I got the internship and then a full-time job one year later. I was the New Media department.

I did everything for the website, which was a blessing and a curse. Having completely responsibility for something so vast means I was able to learn and grow and make it my own. I wrote nearly all of the content, took the majority of the photos (many players thought I was the team photographer), facilitated site development, and worked with the League office. Life was good.

Approximately three years into my job, I hit my stride. I had developed professional confidence in terms of conducting interviews, football knowledge, writing, and editing. My genuine personality allowed me to connect with players and coaches and I took great pride in writing quality football content.

It's what I do.

To break down my entire almost-decade-long career with the Lions would take awhile, but by the time I left, I had integrated all social media, created my own public persona to engage the fans, and was overseeing two writers -- one full time and one (legendary) freelancer. But, alas, it was time to go.

My New Endeavor

I ultimately chose to leave because I had hit my ceiling with the team and, to be honest, my passion wasn't necessarily digital media. Yes, I love so many things about digital media (I have a Type A brain that loves coding), but my true passions remained writing and relationships.

Packing Thanksgiving meals with
P Sam Martin and LB Tahir Whitehead.
I decided to start a public relations company (Apprize PR) that would work with professional athletes and their charitable initiatives, post-football networking, and media opportunities. My best friend and partner in crime, Tara, opted to join me. We should really create superhero personas.

Our first year was all about networking. We signed linebacker Tahir Whitehead who became a starter after Stephen Tulloch suffered an injury. We loved working with him, forging relationships with the Detroit Public School League (Tahir is fantastic with young people and is passionate about education), the Downtown Boxing Club Youth Organization, and Lady Jane's Haircuts For Men, another client of ours.

We also had the pleasure of working with Herman Moore, his wife Angela -- a personal trainer -- and Gavin Smith, the Lions team photographer.

Looking at our business in its current form is so exciting. We are on the cusp of a lot of great things, hoping to sign on more players and continue working with our current clients. Life is good.

The Crux of My "Why"

Yes, life is good. In addition to good business, I am a wife and mother to three wonderful children, ages four, almost three and nine weeks. The problem is, however, that being in business for myself doesn't necessarily bring in a consistent monetary flow. Droughts will happen followed by a big boom. Unfortunately for me, my family demands require me to have money coming in steadily. What to do?

That's when I saw Heidi's posts on Facebook. She would talk about having four kids and having the ability to stay home with them because of this work with Rodan+Fields. So here I was, not wanting to give up on my dream of working with professional athletes, but still needing to bring in a steady income. Maybe this would be the answer.

As of right now, I'm at the very beginning of my journey with the company, but -- as you can probably tell by reading this -- I embrace challenges. When I'm passionate about something, I preach it, and I've become passionate about these products. Just as I preach DDPYoga, which has allowed me to get into amazing shape and will help me get back into amazing shape, I will preach Rodan+Fields.

Signing on to be a regular customer or a partner of mine will not only help you get great skin or earn some extra money, it will help me continue pursuit of my own PR company. I plan on being a huge success, so contributing to my efforts will allow you to boast that you helped me get to the top.

So, there is my "why." I hope you've enjoyed the story and, if you want to become a partner or a regular customer of mine to contribute to my PR dreams, I hope you'll ask me for more information in the comments or email!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Business After Baby: What CAN'T I do?

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a tad insane ... in a good way.

I've never been one to quit on anything. I see things through to the end and expect to succeed. If I don't succeed, I then ravage myself to the point of self loathing.

Not really.

Maybe a little.

I embarked on a new journey almost one year ago to date when I left the comfort of my long-time Detroit Lions position to pursue self-employment. My dream? To be a marketing representative for professional athletes. We (Tara and me) have made strides toward that dream. It's been a year of networking and we've developed some outstanding relationships. We are, however, still a start-up.

So, when we hit our one-year mark, I really had to make an effort to bring in steady income since the self-employed life can pay well in chunks. I have worked the freelance writing life for the past few weeks and am proud to report that I have reported on travel and tourism in Seattle, Las Vegas, and Rome, and weighed in on the rise of technology in schools. If anything, this job will certainly help me to become well-rounded.

My Rodan+Fields career has gotten off to a good start as well. I've made a few sales and had quite a few leads. Since it is such a quality product, I'm seeing that it will actually sell itself and can be the start-up support I've been looking for. Feel free to hit me up for a new regimen! ::wink, wink::

I Spy with Preschool-Aged Kids

Yes, a rousing game of "I Spy" can really get me going in the morning (that's what she said), especially when it includes my four-year old and almost-three-year old, who don't quite understand the concept of the game.

Aside from giving "hints" that include the actual answer, the banter back and forth between the two of them is outstanding.

This morning, in the midst of driving in a sea of white thanks to the awesome Michigan weather, we got a game going.

To set the scene, Jack is in the second row of the van holding his Tyrannosaurus Rex that he got at the store last weekend. He is currently obsessed with dinosaurs. Abby is in the very back with her Rainbow Dash Equestria Girl.

Begin scene:
Jack: "I spy with my little eye something that is ... green ... and like the trees."
Me: "The trees?"
Jack: "NO the BUSH. It's LIKE the trees."
Me: "Oh. So. The bush?"
Jack: "(As though I'm brilliant) Yeah!"
As you can see, it doesn't take much to feel like a rock star while playing I Spy with these two.
Abby: "I spy with my little eye something that is ... blue ... with rainbow hair ... and a cutie mark on her cheek ... with boots."
Jack: "Umm ... (thinking hard) Rainbow Dash?"
Abby: "Yeah!"

Jack: "I spy with my little eye something that is ... like sharp teeth and pointy."
Me: "Your dinosaur's sharp teeth?"
Jack: "Yeah!"

Abby: "Okay, my turn! I spy with my little eye something that is ... red on her lips with hair that is blue and orange and yellow and skin that is blue."
Jack: "Rainbow Dash?"
Abby: "Well ... YES, but, Jack, it is actually the red on her lips so you have to say, 'Rainbow Dash lips.'"
Jack: "Rainbow Dash lips?"
Abby: "Yeah!"
So, if you're in the market for feeling good about yourself, come on over for a rousing game of I Spy -- you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Target Tantrum: A First for Me

I will make a confession. Until last week, I had never experienced a public tantrum in my 4-plus years as a parent. My oldest seems to be of the misbehaving-behind-closed-doors variety. She will give it to us in the privacy of our own home and then act an angel in public. This is all well and good, but it also frames me as a total jerk when I roll my eyes and tell a story of her craziness. The receiver of my story will give me a look as if to say, "We could never see that angel acting a fool! You must be an awful mother!"

I suppose that kind of behavior is better than public insanity, but it's all relative. I, personally, do not allow myself to feel any sort of shame or embarrassment when it comes to my kids going nuts in public. I equate my mentality to that of Billy Chapel in the movie, For Love of the Game. When he's on the mound, he hones in on the catcher's mitt and thinks, "Clear the mechanism." Then all the noise and outside distraction goes away.

This is what happens with me. I am focused on one thing: survival. Get the child. Get child into the car safely. Do not lose wallet in the heat of the battle. Anyway, on to my story.

The tantrum was performed by one, Jack, in the toy aisle of Target. It was a classic Jack moment. I was open to getting them each one thing. He zeroed in on Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon. Then he didn't want that, he wanted Spiderman. Then he wanted something from Planes. Whatever. As long as the cost was low, I didn't care. Problem was, the mere asking him what he wanted threw him into a tailspin. This is typical of him. Ask, "Which one do you want?" Then his response is something horror movies are made of.

I don't get it. I really don't. He ended up lying on the floor of the Target aisle (gross) in a glass case of emotion. At that point, my only concern was that he not pee his pants. Frankly, I didn't want to deal with the mess. I had all three children in tow (I had already declared myself Mother of the Year for that one ... perhaps that was my first problem), so toting a pee-soaked almost-three-year-old out of Target was not on my list of fun things to do for the day.

So, I cleared the mechanism and managed to strap him back into the cart. In his efforts to make things difficult, he straightened his body stiff as a board, which looked particularly uncomfortable. Whatever. His choice.

Now, I know the suggested disciplinary action in response to this kind of behavior is to drop all things and leave the store immediately. I, for one, do not agree with this. I'll be damned if I'm going to waste my hard effort of fetching groceries while carting around three children under five. I was going to finish my shopping trip. I collected the couple items I needed and headed for the checkout. Jack was still screaming. Abby had her hands over her ears. Evie was sleeping soundly. We're training her to be a bang-up third child.

In the heat of getting myself and my kids out of the store, I successfully ignored anyone staring at me, but I did not have the luxury of avoiding Target employees. The guy ringing up my groceries seemed like a nice enough person, but I'll go ahead and wager he didn't have children. Why do you ask? Well, the first thing he asked upon me pulling up to the register with a screaming child is, "Ma'am, would your children like a sticker?"

I'm not sure if he thought a sticker would pop Jack right out of his rage, but I suppose it was a sweet gesture anyway. Abby gladly took the sticker. When he handed her the sticker, he said, "You're pretty! You're going to be a really pretty lady when you grow up!" Really, dude? I didn't even have the ability to glare at him because I had to handle my crazy child.

I (impressively) managed to pay for everything and get to the front of the store. Now came the challenging part. Getting all three out the door, with groceries, alive. I had been navigating the store using one of those giant cart contraptions that allowed for two kids to sit facing the cart. I had Evie in the car seat in the back because I didn't have a sling to tote her around in.

I also had my stroller wedged between the kids' seats and the cart because, apparently, I couldn't leave it at the guest service counter because they didn't want to be responsible for someone stealing it. I think when the girl told me this, I stared at her blankly in disbelief. Really, lady? You think anyone is going to go behind the guest service counter to steal my crappy travel system stroller I've had since 2010? Thanks. Thanks for nothing.

My idea was to transfer all of my bags and Jack into a regular cart, put the baby in the travel system stroller (or have Abby push it) and walk out. I thought this was a reasonable goal. First step: put baby in the stroller. Check. Second step: transfer groceries. Check. Third step: put Jack's coat on. No dice. When I attempted to put his jacket on, he did that dead-weight thing where he just dropped to the ground (ew). At this point, my annoyances peaked and I just dropped him and turned to putting Abby's coat on.

I ended up putting Jack into the cart sans coat (your loss, dude) and heading out of the store. I pushed the Target cart while pulling the baby stroller and made sure Abby was walking between me and the row of parked cars so she wouldn't get hit by traffic (solid parenting right there). When I was about halfway to the car, a woman behind me asked if I'd like some help. Not one to turn down help when I really need it, I told her she could push the baby. I was just revering this woman as a wonderful do-gooder in my mind when she felt the need to comment, "He's really worked up, there!"

Thank you, Captain Obvious. I really appreciate you pointing that out to me. I hadn't noticed.

With the help of the captain, I got all three, my groceries and myself into the car. Abby was smug over being the angelic, behaved child ("Mommy, I didn't cry!") and poor Jack was still sniffling. Evie still asleep. Again. Great third child.

So, I am officially part of the Moms Surviving Public Tantrums Club. Do I get a sticker?