Friday Five

I’m loving these Friday Five posts because it’s a chance for me to kind of be all over the place with things I want to share.

First things first, something kind of exciting happened this week and it makes it so much easier to shop online if shopping from your Instagram feed is your jam. No more need for emails— now there’s a app, and when you download it, you get all of your likes and screenshots ready to shop in the app. Yes, I said screenshots. More details about how to use the app are below, but it’s a game-changer. So much easier than waiting for emails or going to someone’s page— everything you like and screenshot (even on snapchat!) is shoppable right from the app. You can download it here.
Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 8.09.26 PM

I made it to the gym four days again this week (and may go once over the weekend) and though I’m not really seeing a ton of results yet physically, I’m much stronger than when I started, can lift heavier weights and I feel better overall. Feeling sore from a great workout is the best!

So— here’s where I need your help! I want to purchase this FitBit and I’m sure many of you have one— what do you think? I want to track my workouts and sleep. My husband suggested I get an Apple watch, but I’m thinking that’s way more than I need. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

By the way, I’ve been wearing my new shoes for my workouts and they’re great. I sized half a size up than my usual and they’re a perfect fit.

 T H R E E
Our new headboard is set to arrive sometime in April and I can’t wait! We chose the Suzanne Kasler “linen blanc” fabric so I’m eager to see it come together. I also ordered these pillows recently and they should arrive soon.headboard
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Speaking of home decor, we’re replacing our dining room chairs and the new ones should arrive next week. I love our upholstered dining chairs, but after we hung our new mirror, I was experimenting with our bamboo armchairs and I loved how they “opened-up” the space. The upholstered chairs are quite tall and opaque, so they take up a lot of visual space in the room. I think the open-back design of the bamboo chairs, which are also lighter in color and shorter, will make the space feel airy. I ordered the armless chairs since we already have the two bamboo armchairs to use as end caps if needed.

I’m planning to start trying to eat dinner at our dining table. We always eat at our kitchen island, but it’s not conducive to family bonding and discussion since we aren’t facing one another. I was always so worried about “ruining our table” because it’s unfinished wood, but it already has flaws since the wood is reclaimed and I’ll use place mats and hope for the best. Lincoln will still use a high chair but because the height is adjustable, we can pull it right up to the table.

Do you have family dinners at your table? I would love to hear about your family dinner traditions!dining roomF I V E
I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately about living with intention, balancing life as a working mother, and more (The Lively Show is excellent for these). I’ve always enjoyed sharing posts about working motherhood (y’all know I’m very passionate about my work) and since the topic is fresh on my mind, I decided to share some thoughts today. I’m sure many of you have heard of or read Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In.” I haven’t read it, so I can’t comment on its full range of content, but one of the reasons I haven’t read it is because, to be honest, I don’t want to lean in.

But I have to preface all of this by saying I agree with many things in the book— there are still too few women in leadership roles, men should be equal partners, etc. (you can read a discussion guide for the book, here to get a general sense of what is covered in each chapter). I also think Sandberg wants to encourage more women to strive for leadership positions to make it better for our daughters and their daughters, which is critical. So, this is not a critique of the book, this is more of a reflection about our overworked society that celebrates people for coming in early and staying late, when really, I can’t imagine anyone would choose to live that way if those expectations and pressures did not exist.

I worked hard to be promoted and I’m happy with where I am in my career, doing work I enjoy and find valuable and fulfilling. I don’t want to “lean in” if that means waking up really early to answer emails (instead of exercising), being at work all day, and then coming home to work some more after the kids are asleep. Quite frankly, that sounds awful to me. Granted, I do work on my blog some evenings, but it doesn’t feel like work because it’s fun and if I don’t feel like doing it— I simply don’t.

America glorifies being busy and our culture supports (and sometimes, expects) people to be addicted to their work. How often do you find yourself responding “keeping busy!” when someone asks how you’re doing? Probably more than you think, and it’s because we are taught that busy= success. Busy= what we should strive for. Busy= productive. But at what cost?

If we ever want anything to change — and that includes people being happier and more productive at work, then we need to give people time to spend with their families, take care of themselves, pursue their interests, etc. People who work constantly eventually burn out, stop thinking creatively and critically and lose passion for what they do— and that’s not the kind of life I want. Of course there are occasionally times where I have a late meeting or have to attend to a work matter over the weekend— but that is the exception, not the norm, and I want it that way. Sometimes it seems like it’s not okay to want balance. That you don’t “care enough” if you want to work your 8 hours and leave to be with your kids. I’m fortunate to work in an environment where many people are in my same position (with families), but that doesn’t mean you never feel any pressure, whether it’s self-imposed or not.

This year, one focus of mine is to be unapologetic about my desire for balance. To never feel guilty for leaving at 8 hours on the dot. Instead, I’ll focus on how much I accomplish being a mother of two, a wife, working full-time and running this blog. I’ll focus on how every year, I exceed the results expected of me on my work evaluation, and remind myself of this regularly. I’ll focus on how much happier I feel when I release myself of the guilt I sometimes feel for not wanting to lean in. Isn’t it OK to be happy as we are?

Below are some links to articles I’ve found to be good reads on this topic. The first, from The Guardian, is about Americans being addicted to work. An excerpt:

“Ladies, it’s not sustainable. We have interpreted the call to take our place at the table as a call to office addiction. Worse than that, we’ve dressed this addiction up as female empowerment and equality. Now I know that isn’t Sandberg’s, or anyone else’s intention. I often preach that women need to put themselves forward for more opportunities but the message has been confused. It’s not “do more, do more and then do some more”. It’s not a call for long hours over having a life.”

The second, from The Washington Post, suggests we recline instead of leaning in. An excerpt:

“Here’s the thing: We’ve created a world in which ubiquity is valued above all. If you’re not at your desk every night until nine, your commitment to the job is questioned. If you’re not checking email 24/7, you’re not a reliable colleague.”

Another must-read is this piece, from The Atlantic, titled “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” It’s a really lengthy piece, but very much worth the read.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

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  • Reply
    Friday, March 10, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    Hi! I toyed between the Fitbit and Apple Watch too. Today I got the Fitbit one. I like that it is not worn on the wrist, but clips on. I have mine clipped to my bra. I don’t love the wrist ones.

    As far as dinner and the gorgeous table. Yes, eat dinner together starting now. Use the table – marks are memories. What do we all ” save” our stuff for? Dinners around our table are the most talked about among our three grown children. How much they enjoyed it. Maybe not at the time, but it’s a fond memory. We used our “good” table. Yes, it’s seen wear, and I fondly remember each scratch & dent. That table was our foundation all these years. The secrets & stories, the laughter & tears – good times & bad – that table has seen it all. I’m trying to stop saving my things and use them. Okay the crystal may break, but why have it if you don’t use it.

    • Reply
      Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 7:03 am

      I love your comment about family dinners- that’s exactly why I want to do them! Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    Friday, March 10, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    Have you considered having glass cut to fit over your table so you can still see it clearly, but it’s protected from stains?

    • Reply
      Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 7:02 am

      that’s a good suggestion but i would sooner buy a different table than pay to have custom glass made. I think it will be okay since the table has a ton of flaws already anyway 🙂

      • Reply
        Monday, March 20, 2017 at 12:45 pm

        Yep eat at the table and use the good plates. Your kids will remember for sure! If you do get a new table might I suggest a round one. That space is screaming for a round table.

        • Reply
          Monday, March 20, 2017 at 1:09 pm

          I agree! I really want a rount table, but I love the one we have too, and I would hate to sell it since it would work so well if we ever have a home with a formal dining room. Maybe one day… )

  • Reply
    Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 8:20 am

    I totally agree with your thoughts on not wanting to “lean in.” I am currently staying at home with my three children after teaching for six years. The last two years I had just had my son, and struggled with just wanting to leave work and be with him right as the bell rang, but feeling guilty about not sticking around for after school activities, etc. Many of my coworkers were unmarried with no children, so they had no problem committing several more hours to after school things. I just didn’t want to!!! My heart was at home. I plan to go back to work in 2 years (because I do LOVE teaching) but I am committed to being “on” at my job during the school day-and then leaving the first minute I am able! It’s not healthy (in my opinion) to not take time for yourself and put your family behind career. We only have them at home for 18 years and I strongly believe we need to be available to them during that time as much as possible. (And this goes for dads too!) my husband is fine right now with not climbing the ladder because he values his time with his children at home, and I love that he feels this way too. You are doing great Veronika! I love reading your posts about balancing work with motherhood because that is #reallife. LOL!

    • Reply
      Monday, March 13, 2017 at 8:05 am

      Emily— I’m so glad this resonated with you. I was the same before I had kids— staying late, coming early, not minding answering emails at any time of day or night. It was easy because although I had other interests, was a homeowner, etc, I had the flexibility that I simply don’t have now.

      I think you and I are totally on the same page— career matters— I love mine, which is why I continued to wokr— but it should never come before family. I give enough of myself to my job, so my family deserves time too. As I mentioned, there are days I work early or late, but it’s not everyday, so it’s manageable. But consistent time with family is what I strive for.

  • Reply
    Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 9:22 am

    Very interesting point about leaning in! It’s all up to the individual and their unique family circumstance. The US is the only developed country without mandated paid vacation and mandated paid maternity/paternity leave. We’re definitely out of balance and live in a culture of always being connected and available for work. It’s not healthy, and I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with prioritizing your children, especially while they’re young. You’ll never get this time back!

    • Reply
      Monday, March 13, 2017 at 7:59 am

      The US is very backwards when it comes to women and work— not healthy at all! That’s why I’m not leaning in. I have a job I love, I do it with pride— but then it’s time to go home and be with my family, my #1 priority. I don’t want crazy hours and emails morning and night. It’s OK to be happy with where you are and I hope some women reading start to feel the same way!

  • Reply
    Rachel @ Better LIVIN
    Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 9:39 am

    This is such a great conversation you’ve started because I know some stressed out moms trying to “do it all.” And here’s the thing, you may not be ready to lean in now because you have babies at home, but maybe in 10-15 years when they’re older and more self sufficient you’ll be ready to push it more (or not).

    One problem with women pushing it at the workplace for is that there is rarely equality at home. Working mothers still do the majority of child care, food preparation, and house cleaning. So with such a heavy load at home, how can they take on more at work?

    I currently don’t have children but I do intend to work when I do so I enjoy following mothers like you and seeing your strategies for balance.

    • Reply
      Monday, March 13, 2017 at 7:57 am

      Rachel- You make some excellent comments, thank you!

      I have actually heard it’s even more important to be present for your kids in middle and high school. If you think about it, it makes sense— that is when things like bullying happen and when they’re experimenting and enduring a lot of social pressures— so being present and avaialble and knowing where they are, who their friends are etc, is so critical during this time.

      I also agree that many men are not equal partners. I also think it’s up to women to expect and demand this of their partners. I am fortunate to have a partner who does just as much as I do and some days more. He supports our family and me and helps a lot so that I can also support our family in my work and the work I do on this blog. It’s something I recognize is not the norm and I’m grateful. You’re right though— how can women take on more? But also— should they want to? If a woman is happy where she is, should she continue to climb when it means sacrificing more than she wants? All good questions.

      Have a great week!

  • Reply
    Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    I would get the Apple Watch. I think you will like it way better. The fitbit is great for a little bit but I found I got tired over it quickly. The Apple Watch could sync with your phone and has more uses.

    Lean in – totally agree with you!!!! At this season in my life I don’t have a desire to work a ton and miss out on my son life. He is more important than getting promoted.

    • Reply
      Monday, March 13, 2017 at 7:51 am

      Hi Becky! Thanks for your comment about the Apple watch. I think I hesistate because it’s larger and I want to be able to sleep in it and I think it would bother me? I do think the apple watch has way more uses, but I really only want to track sleep and workouts.

      I’m glad the leaning in comments resonated with you. I agree— when I look back, I want to think I did all I could to see my children as much as possible while still being a working mom. I want to work— I just don’t want to work until I’m driven into the ground. I’m sure a lot of people don’t want that, but there is societal pressure to do more. I think humans and families would be happier and more productive if we actually worked less, but worked harder in a shorter amount of time.

  • Reply
    Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    Oooh that headboard is so pretty! And I can’t wait to see the dining room all put together! We don’t have kiddos yet but my husband and I eat dinner at our dining table every night and it’s my favorite time of day. No phones, no tv, just the two of us chatting and catching up! Hope you have lots of wonderful meals around your table!

  • Reply
    Sunday, March 12, 2017 at 7:15 am

    I love this blog post! First about family dinners- yes start having dinner at your dining room table. We eat at our table 6 days a week. On Friday we do pizza and movies with the kids where we get to sit together in the living room to eat- and it’s a treat. I still remember my childhood family dinners and they are so special- a great place to recap the day 🙂

    Your leaning in thoughts come at such the perfect time. I have two children 5 and 7 and I work in public relations for the City I live in (literally PR for the municipality). And it’s an amazing, demanding, high stress yet fulfilling career. The position I am in now pays well, but it allows me to be home on time after work to pick up my kids from their after school program, be with them to help with homework and take them to their after school extra curricular events. Recently the position of manager opened up, and I am qualified to apply and have been asked to apply. But it comes at a price. The manager is on-call 24/7 for emergencies, has to attend Council meetings twice a month (which means not getting home until after 9pm every second Tuesday), working late during the weekdays and answering emails at night and on weekends. Eventually, when my kids are older (say in 5-8 years) maybe I’ll want to do this, but right now it would mean sacrificing the time I have with my children. My husband owns his own business and he works a little later on weeknights so he doesn’t get home until after 6:30 most nights. But I am ok with this. My job as a mom is just as important- if not more important than my day job. And I am not will so sacrifice my time with them, also I am not willing to sacrifice the little free time I have to myself as well. Early morning gym visits, and being able to enjoy a cup of tea and a good tv show after the kids go to bed. My husband would totally support me applying for this position, and I know he would pick up any slack needed if I were to move ahead in my career, but quite frankly I don’t want to. My kids will get older and they will need me less- and that’s fine, and by then maybe I’ll want to focus on my growing my career. But until then, I am perfectly happy not being in a leadership position.

    • Reply
      Monday, March 13, 2017 at 7:45 am

      Hi Shelley! Thank you for sharing your dinner traditions with me— I’m hoping this will be a great way for us to connect as a family.

      I totally relate to you on the career side of things. I am on call once a month and my job is also very much 24/7, but thankfully crisis situations or issues don’t arise so often that I feel it’s interfering with family time, so I’m thankful for that. What you said “it comes at a price” is exactly the way to put it. I feel like women are encouraged to lean in…but at what price? I think it’s great when women want to lean in if they feel that’s the best decision and doable for their lives…but I also think it’s OK to be happy with where you are. It seems sometimes like it’s not enough to be a working mom— now we’re expected to climb the ladder and do more and work more…I don’t want that— not at this point in my life! Thanks for your comment.

  • Reply
    Monday, March 13, 2017 at 7:26 am

    I have a apple watch and a Fit bit but they aren’t the same to me at ll. I think it depends on what you want to track. For fitness i greatly prefer the Fit Bit b/c its durable, I can wear it when I sleep, I can track my sleep and its fitness oriented. This are things that I think the apple watch lacks. I do love my apple watch, but I prefer the other functions ( having my phone on my wrist basically).

    • Reply
      Monday, March 13, 2017 at 8:07 am

      Alicia— thank you— this is great insight. I ONLY want to track sleep and workouts, so I think the FitBit is a great choice for me. My husband has an apple watch and I can’t see myself wearing it daily even though it’s cool and has a lot of functionality.

  • Reply
    30-Day Sugar Detox Week 2: Confronting Unexpected Challenges
    Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    […] as having an anti-busy mentality. For goodness sakes, a few weeks ago I was advocating for “leaning out” in the workplace. I truly believe people need to take more time for themselves to relax and […]

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