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.