The Effort

Effort

About four weeks ago, and a year into being a new mom, my baby still wasn’t sleeping more than 2 hours at a time. I was feeling both sad and sleep-deprived, so I made an escape plan to meet up with some girlfriends just three hours south in Dallas, Texas over the weekend.

By the time the trip rolled around I had caught up on sleep and no longer wanted to run away from my family. I almost thought about canceling last minute so I could keep my typical and easy weekend. The effort of breaking my routine for a quick road trip made me feel a little anxious. You see, I’m tethered by a short rope to my little family – the very thing that makes me want to stay is the very reason why I need to go. To be the kind of mom, boss, and person I want to be I need to be able to let go – even for just one night.

The drive alone was pretty amazing. Just me in my MINI – alone – it gave me some time to examine my thoughts. I listened to some podcasts and began to generate new ideas. And it goes without saying that hanging out with my creative pack – Chelsea, Becky, and Jane – was totally worth the short drive down I-35. I don’t take it for granted how lucky I am to have them in my tribe.

So the big takeaway of my weekend is that doing fun stuff – the stuff that builds relationships and strengthens bonds, the stuff memories are made of – it takes effort.

P.S. Jane has chickens in her backyard. It’s been a long fantasy of mine but now I feel inspired to actually make it happen.

Slowing Down

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When I was around 6 months pregnant with Fox I was asked something along the lines of “What’s the biggest risk you need to take over the next year?” I looked down at my big belly. Slowing down.

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A few months ago I got a nail in my tire. I don’t have time for this shit! Fortunately, I have super fancy tires called “run flats” which means they keep running, even when they’re flat. After a week or so of running flat I managed to find 30 minutes at the end of my work day to take my car by the shop and have my tire fixed. Slow down, eh? That thirty minutes gave me time to think about how  it is that with a packed calendar (coupled with a deep-seated sense of urgency to LIVE! LIFE!) I don’t even have time for little emergencies, much less the dreamier images that come to mind when you say the words “slow down” like I don’t know … breathing, meditating, gardening, getting a massage, laying out in the sun, or taking a nap.

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Yesterday I found myself at the doctors office with a sick baby. And apparently I had left my phone at home. It gave me time to think about what slowing down really means. It takes just as much practice and discipline to slow down as it does to get shit done. And it’s not as glamorous as you might daydream – taking a deep breath is important but slowing down is literally making space in your calendar to live life. And I’m not talking about scheduling a massage, or a workout, or even a vacation.  I’m talking about scheduling NOTHING because sometimes living life looks like a sick baby with a weird rash on his tongue in a doctor’s office.

I have time for this. 

Why I Work Out

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Towards the end of my pregnancy last year I became obsessed with the idea of becoming a bodybuilder. I started following bodybuilders on Instagram (total guilty pleasure) and reading everything I could about weightlifting and nutrition to support a killer physique. It wasn’t just the fact that I felt huge and very pregnant that had me dreaming about six-pack abs but the pregnancy itself made me curious about transformation and the stuff our bodies are capable of doing.

So these bodybuilders I follow on Instagram are constantly pairing their #gymselfies and photos chicken and oats in tupperware with motivational captions like “I have goals. Nothing will get in my way. You have to know WHY you want what you want and then you have to go for it full force.” (Trite, yes – but I’m a total sucker for them.)

These captions always have me feeling like I don’t know really know my why. That said, these women with boulder shoulders and glutes that won’t quit never really seem to articulate their WHY either. So I started thinking about my own personal reasons why I want to be in killer shape. I came up with two:
1. so I can kill zombies and look like The Walking Dead‘s Michonne doing it
2. so I can look like a zombie-killing badass in a bikini this summer

I think I’m disciplined enough to go to the gym and kick my own ass and track my macros down to the gram so I can look and feel like Linda Hamilton doing hundreds of pushups and pull-ups in Terminator or Ellen Ripley kicking some Alien ass or Michonne slaying zombies … but is it a sustainable why? Is looking like a post-apocalyptic badass the kind of why that will get my ass in gear when I’m tired and want to eat All The Sugar?

So I started digging deeper about my “why”. Why do I work out?

After lots of driving and thinking, showering and thinking, working out and thinking, walking and thinking, and brushing my teeth and thinking I came to the conclusion that my WHY boils down to two values: 1. transformation and 2. discipline.

Transformation. I love a good reinvention. I remember as a kid I was always excited for Madonna to unveil her newest look – I even admired how bold and unapologetic she was about stuff like her fake English accent. Into my late teens and early 20s America’s Next Top Model was my favorite – and the episode I never wanted to miss was the big makeover where they chop Rapunzel’s locks into a Rosemary’s Baby pixie. I couldn’t get enough.

And then there is Discipline. I love the idea of spontaneity and just living life, man… but when it comes down to it I thrive on discipline and routine. Trusting a process that will get me from Point A to Point B – it gives me the certainty I crave. But I’ve noticed over the past year that when I lose faith in myself, I stop trusting how over time little steps will add up to great distances. When I’m low I can’t even see past my own hand. Getting from Point A to Point B seems pointless when I don’t even know what Point B looks like. So discipline – it’s about focusing on the process. It’s about establishing habits that pull me, step-by-step, out of the valleys, even when I can’t see what’s ahead.

So back to my why. Why do I work out? Because I believe if I can sculpt my body into a zombie-killing machine then I will prove to myself that transformation + discipline can accomplish any vision I set my sites on. And right now, I have some pretty big vision.

So now I have my why. I like it. But I still want to look like a zombie-slaying badass in a bikini.

5AM

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Friday, January 9th, 2014
It’s 5AM. Fox is still waking up in 2-hour intervals and after getting him back down at 4AM I am up. I try to clear my mind, find gratitude, mentally flood my body with relaxing light, and go back to sleep. But after an hour of listening to my baby breathe (which aside from hearing him laugh is one of my favorite sounds) I was really up.

I unload the dishwasher and make some hot lemon water. It’s a chilly 61º in the house – we like it cold when we sleep. Sleep. My eyes start to water as I wrap my hands around my mug – my bottom lashes serving as a flood gate holding it all in. Lots of people wake up at 5AM – this is totally fine. My neck loosens its grip around my throat. I think I’ve convinced myself for now. I open my laptop to do some work. I’m choosing 5AM.

By 10AM I’m melting down. Everything feels pointless. I call my mom.

“Well, honey. I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t know why he’s wired this way. Your brother used to wake up in the middle of the night sometimes but he would just quietly play with his toys in his crib and fall back asleep.”

Okay. Tonight I’m letting him cry it out. He can cry all night long. It’s either that or I’m running away to Australia.

Saturday, January 10th, 2014
It’s 5AM. Fox is stirring. I brought him in the bed with me when he started crying at midnight. It’s always like this. During the day I make big plans to kick the habit – no really this time. But that baby is my heroine and maybe tonight is the night he’ll sleep for just a little bit longer. So it’s 5AM and he does this thing where he sits up and slams his head back down. This time, as his hard skull crashes into my brow bone, I have a sort of flash back to his birth – I will never forget the feeling of his hot fuzzy head coming out of my body. My eyes are burning – the same sensation you get when you’ve stayed up too late reading. I might cry. Beebs – you’ve gotta take the baby.

The next time I look up it’s 8AM and the house is silent. Jeremy and the baby are asleep on the couch. My eyes are still burning but in this moment I can clearly see the point of it all.

Being Boss

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You guys. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this creatively charged. I feel like I have a little extra electricity running through my body. That’s because today I launched the first episode of my new podcast with my dear friend and creative colleague Emily Thompson called Being Boss. (I felt so creatively jazzed about it that I told my sister and business partner Tara that this is the year we will finally write our Braid book. She took a deep breath and said “fine.”)

Starting a podcast is something that has been on my radar for a while – but I knew I couldn’t do it alone. So when Emily pitched me on partnering up to do a podcast I said YES. It made sense. She first approached me on the podcast idea just two weeks before Christmas – followed up with a “Oh yeah, and I think we should launch in the beginning of January.” We spent the next few weeks naming, designing, branding, logistic-ing, recording, coding, editing, and birthing this little project – and now it’s here. And I’m proud of it.

After we recorded the first episode I almost chickened out. I wanted to tell Emily that maybe we should reconsider or hold off until everything is perfect – but that’s not how either of us roll and nothing is ever perfect. So here we are. Later this week I’m going to be approaching some really big deals and request interviews – creative powerhouses and people you will most definitely want to hear from – but first I need to go put on my big girl undies.

You can listen to Being Boss and read our show notes at www.lovebeingboss.com or on SoundCloud. We’re working on getting it up and running on iTunes but keep running into technical snafus. Sign up for our newsletter if you want to be updated on episodes as they are released.