Tag Archives: lessons

Lessons from Mom

When I was young, my mother wore red as often as possible. She had a red car and a red front door. Red was her favorite color. Now as a mother myself, I realize there was much more to her color choice.

My mother was a single mother of three who worked as a teacher and spent most of her time around children. She balanced work and family long before there were modern conveniences like online shopping and virtual assistants.

I knew other mothers stayed home, but even though my mother worked, she was always there to pick me up from school or a dance and take me to weekend activities. If I was sick and couldn't go to school, I stayed home alone. If I wanted my clothes clean for school, I washed them. If I wanted lunch, I packed it. She made the working mother thing seem easy.

From growing up with a single, working mother, I learned a few lessons that serve me well today.

  1. Make your kids help. I make my kids do dishes, help with cooking, make their beds…all the things my mom made me do. It teaches them responsibility and takes some of the household chores off my plate.
  2. Be organized. My mother, a teacher, shopped during the summer for Christmas, birthdays, and emergencies. She had gifts in her closet at all times so we were never caught off guard should an invitation come our way.
  3. Savor Sunday night. Sunday nights were quiet time in our house. My mother paid the bills and planned dinners for the week. We did homework, read books and went to bed early. It helped to start the week from a place of peace.
  4. Insist on family dinners. We had all kinds of activities during the week but we knew to be home for dinner. Today, I credit that family time with how close I am with my siblings.
  5. Consider school as important as work. As my mother headed to her workplace, she told us our jobs were to go to school and do well. We took that responsibility seriously and today I tell my children the same thing.
  6. Only spend what you have. My mother only had a Sears credit card. That’s it. Everywhere else she paid cash. Money was tight but mom would not let us buy a thing unless we had the cash to pay for it. Otherwise, we would do without. I try to abide by the same rule and have stayed out of debt.
  7. Don't feel guilty for "me time". On Saturday night, my mother would go out and we would have a sitter until my older sister could babysit. It was my mother's time to do whatever she wanted as a woman, rather than a mom. Taking time for herself was how my mom kept her sanity and how I now keep mine.

While my mom still loves the color red, she doesn’t wear it as often today. She no longer needs to convince herself that she has power and determination to survive as a single mom. She has done her job well as a mother, grandmother and role model.

Happy Mother's Day to my mother and all of the other moms out there. You rock!

 

IMG_0633 (1)

My mother and stepfather both in red

 

 

 

The Work/Life Balancing Act

Work Life Lessons from The Office

 

Office

I'm a HUGE fan of The Office television series and was really sad to see it end last week. I think most of us could find something about the inner workings of Dunder Mifflin that we can relate to: an awkward co-worker, inappropriate interoffice relationships, hurt feelings over promotions.

I think the biggest work life takeaway from the show centers on how pivotal co-workers became in each others lives. While many of us strive for work life balance, a giant part of our day is spent with co-workers. It really makes a difference when you like the people you work with. In the end, the folks in The Office were a big family — even as people came and left. Isn't that the atmosphere every workplace would want to create? I don't know about you, but my life feels more balanced when I enjoy going into work.

I want to share a link from Glamour Magazine called 13 Things The Office Gave Us. What are the work life lessons you took away from the show?

 

 

The Work/Life Balancing Act

Teens plan to rely on parents: Fitting money lessons into your work life balance

Money

 

Have you ever been so busy and distracted that your teen asks you for money and you hand over a few bucks just to get them out of your hair?

I'm 100 percent guilty of this.

But that's about to change. I just saw a statistic that startled me: Nearly 60 percent of teens said they don't expect to be ready to financially support themselves by age 24 — a far cry from the same survey by Junior Achievement two years ago, when 75 percent of teens felt the same.

Am I one of those parents who hasn't been making enough time to teach my kids to be financially responsible? Are you?

 

"Parents continue to be the No.1 influence on teens when it comes to money, so helping their teens set financial goals and take steps to meet them should pay off financially for both teens and their parents," said Don Civgin, president and chief executive officer of Allstate Financial.

AOL poses this question: Whose job is it to teach kids how to manage money — teachers or parents?

 
For a while now, I've been on a rampage, arguing that high schools should require a mandatory class on personal finance. It may be the most important skill a teen learns and I can't understand why schools aren't teaching it. But the reality is, they aren't teaching it and even if they did, it likely will take both teachers and parents to put budgeting and managing money on our teens radars. 
 
April is financial literacy month and it is a good time for you and me to make time for money lessons. 
Here are the five financial lessons experts suggest we take the time to teach our teens before they head off into the world on their own. 

 

 

1. Credit. Teens need to know what it is, what responsibilities come with it, and how credit can increase cash flow but has to be paid back … with interest. (click here for more on how to teach your children about credit)

2. Credit Score. You will need to explain what it is and how the car you drive, the house you live in and the job  you have can all be affected by your credit score

3.  Loans. Explain good versus bad credit by pointing out important entries that have helped you establish a financial identity, such as your  mortgage or car loan.

4. Spending habits. Your kids “are going to be learning by watching you,”  says Sarah, founder of RaisingCEOKids.com and co-author of “The Parents’ Guide to Raising CEO Kids. Use teachable moments to explain why you make certain spending decisions and the consequences of your spending mistakes.

5. Savings. Now that your child is a teenager, you will want to show them how to open a savings account. While your teen may be enthused about earning money from work, you also have to teach him or her not to spend it all, an important lesson in financial management. This will take a bank visit together. You will need to consider fees and requirements, location of the bank, and amount of interest paid on a savings account.

 

I often hear parents say it's  hard to choose between financial security and a decent work life balance. If we teach our kids good money management at an early age, I'm hoping some of those choices we parents confront will be less of an issue for our kids in the future.   

Readers, do you think parents are taking enough time to teach our kids about personal finance? If not, do you think the schools should step in and do it?

The Work/Life Balancing Act

Father’s Day lessons: Do working fathers get enough respect?

Jameson
(Above: Jameson Mercier and his two daughters)

Do dads get short shrift at work? When it comes to scooting out early to pick a kid up from summer camp or day care, are moms more likely to get accommodated? And, what about at-home dads…are they given the respect they deserve.

Over the weekend, I watched Kramer vs. Kramer. It has been a long time since I've seen the movie in which a just divorced man must learn to care for his son on his own, and then must fight in court to keep custody of him. Mr. Kramer loses his high paying job when child care issues pop up over and over. His boss doesn't think he's committed to his job. The movie, starring Dustin Hoffman and made in 1979, made me think about whether much has changed for dads.

Do dedicated dads balancing work and family get treated fairly in 2012?

That depends on who you work for but I would say we've seen improvement. For the most part, I think bosses understand work life conflict, and they're understanding — to a point.

I read some fascinating articles this weekend on dads pegged to Father's Day. Some of my favorites were about single dads, including one in the Augusta Chronicle which applauded those who are trying their best to be the best. I especially admire Miami Heat basketball star Dwyane Wade, who was profiled in a front page piece in The Miami Herald. Wade has a book coming out in September on his experiences with fatherhood after winning custody of his two boys from his ex-wife.

Even 30 years after Kramer vs. Kramer, I think its fair to say men are struggling as much as women to balance work and family. Technology has helped. Some employers are a tad more understanding than Mr. Kramer's boss when a dad may need to leave the office at 5 p.m. to take his kid to soccer practice but is willing to put in a few more hours after his kid goes to bed.

What I found fascinating was a piece in Working Mother, which devoted its June edition to dads. It says dads believe taking time off with the kids is a given. "Dads just matter of factly take the time they need and make sure they get their work done," said Brad Harrington, executive director of the Boston College Center for Work & Family who spearheaded The New Dad, a study of 900 working fathers. Career coach Caroline Ceniza Levine agrees "If dads need to be out of the office for a school event, they don't feel guilty or defend their choice: they're just out for an appointment."

Many Father's Day articles centered around the new trend toward at-home dads. A study from Harrington's center, called The New Dad: Right at Home,  shows married couples are making pragmatic decisions about who should stay home with the kids and sometimes, it's mom who commands the higher salary and greater earning potential so dad becomes the at-home parent.

I found examples of this in South Florida and wrote about it in The Miami Herald over the weekend. Fox News also reported on the trend with a headline that read: Mr. Mom Era: Stay-at-home
dads doubled over last decade.  

I was extremely touched by a piece in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on fathers who struggle with their child's autism diagnosis but found ways to embrace special needs parenting.

Clearly, the conversation about work life balance and family friendly employers has focused more on the working mother than the working father.  I think that's changing but we still have lots of room for improvement. Watch the clip below on Mr. Mom and you tell me if you think times have changed.

 

 

The Work/Life Balancing Act