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How Being a Parent is Similar to Being a Leader

When I go to work, I look to my boss, who is supposed to be the leader, to be an example. It often happens that what is said and actions displayed do not match up. When that happens, my level of respect goes down for my supervisor.

I have found that this is true for me being a parent as well. My daughter has a way of reminding me when my words and actions do not match up. She is only 3, so it’s not as detrimental as it will be when she is 16.

Thinking through these two scenarios, I have found great similarities between the times I have led a program and when I have led my kids as their mom.

Leader vs Parent

Here is a brief breakdown of how being a parent is similar to being a leader…

As a leader, you have people under you. These people are called employees, or followers. They watch everything you do and say. Sometimes they ignore you completely. In a business, those that are disobedient are reprimanded. And eventually fired.

As a parent, you have people under you. These people are called your children. They watch everything you do and say. They let you know when what you say and what you actually do does not match up. Sometimes (most of the time) they ignore you completely. In a home, those that are disobedient are reprimanded, and there is usually screaming involved, because timeouts are clearly the worst thing in the world (amiright?).

What’s the point?

It’s about integrity.

When we ask our followers to do something, they are watching to see if we are going to act in the same manner we are asking of them. As a leader, if I don’t show the way, they will do as they please. This is true in my home as well.

My three year old, who is going on sixteen, has begun to repeat the words and tone I use.

All too often I do not like what I hear.

Show the way is to guide

Changing the Story

To change the story being told in our house, I have to change the way I speak to, and interact with, my three year old. This doesn’t mean I let her do whatever she wants, whenever she wants. Clear boundaries need to be set. However, there is nothing more telling than hearing your child repeat the words you have spoken to them.

To the change the story in your organization, you as a leader need to be willing to serve those you oversee. If you are not willing to do the work, why should those you lead willingly go about doing it? You begin to take long lunches, your employees see that and follow suit. You sit in other offices gossiping, others notice and follow suit. You should not expect your employees to behave in a manner that you are not willing to behave in yourself.

To show the way is to guide followers in the way they should go.

Shown integrity leads to a higher level of respect and loyalty.

Shown integrity leads to a higher level of respect and loyalty. Click To Tweet

In conclusion…

Integrity and honesty are shown time and again as the two highest qualities employees and followers desire out of their leaders in studies conducted. There is a higher level of respect when you as the leader do what you say and show the way. Whether you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or the CEO of your home with 5 little ones around you, make sure you are showing the way. Eyes are always watching.

In what ways are you being a person of integrity with those you influence?

Here’s to the Journey!

Single Parenting: 7 Things I Learned Being a Single Parent for a Week

My husband was out of town for 108 hours and 15 minutes (but really, who was counting?) and he came through the door not a minute too soon. We have a 3 year old who is going on 16 and a 10 month old. Luckily, they both sleep through the night.

First of all, mad props to all of the single parents out there who have to do it all.

By themsleves.

Without much, or any help. Being a parent is hard work when you have a spouse to do it with, let alone having to do it all on your own.

By the end of the week, I wanted to lay in the fetal position crying until my husband got home. But I stayed strong, for the littles.

In the midst of my chaotic week, this quote from C.S. Lewis popped into my Facebook news feed.

CS Lewis quote

This helped put the day into perspective, but it was still a struggle!

Here are 7 things I learned being a single parent for a week:

  1. Prep, prep, and more prep.

On a normal week, we prep everything on Sunday, or as much as we can. We did this together as we normally do since my husband was not leaving until Monday morning. Each night, I found that to get out the door on time, I had to prep as much as I could the night before.

The one night I didn’t prep? I yelled at the 3 year old to hurry up. Drop off was quick. We were rushed. And I was a little late to work.

After that morning, you better believe I prepped for the next day even though I was exhausted.

  1. Practice Grace: Kids never listen when you need them to.

It is as though kids have this sixth sense. When you really need them to pay attention, when you really need them to do that one thing without objecting or putting up a fight…they do just that.

And I wasn’t kind one morning.

I apologized immediately (because you aren’t a good parent if you cannot admit when you are wrong) and remembered she is three. Three and she can dress herself and put her shoes on and get her own cereal for goodness sake.

After the 1st day (yep, you read that right), I realized I needed to slow my mind down and speak kindly to my girl.

  1. Plan extra time.

To get anything done.

Think it will take you 5 minutes? Wrong. Halfway through the week I realized that I need to give myself three times the amount of time I thought it would take. Then, when we were done with the task or out the door early, I felt accomplished.

  1. Exercise.

Just kidding. That didn’t happen.

All about survival people.

  1. Lower expectations.

This was both in terms of what I thought I could accomplish during the week and expectations of my kids. I decided half way through the week that if the kids were clean, fed, and safe, I was calling it a success.

  1. Be Consistent.

I tried to keep everything as consistent as possible. Morning and bed time routine the same, which seemed to help. It provided stability. Kids seem to thrive on a schedule and stability.

This includes consistency in disciplining too. My threenager decided to throw a fit over something every night. It would have been easy for me to change expectations of her (which are age appropriate).

  1. Lean on your Community.

I was lucky enough to have the support of my parents and friends during the week. This relieved some of the stress a couple of the evenings. I was thankful for the meals that were provided, even if the three year old threw a fit and wouldn’t eat.

In Conclusion…

Parenting is hard. Being a single parent is even harder. When all is said and done, it is about raising these little people to be loving, kind, and courageous.

What is one of your biggest parenting challenges?

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

3 Ways to Help Your Kids Overcome the 9-5

Monday.

Monday morning, specifically. Thinking about this can send a chill up your spine. Especially when you go to a job you don’t particularly like.

We all need income. Sometimes, this means having a job that is less than desirable. After you have been in a job for several years, you begin to feel like your stuck. You have accrued vacation time and received raises, but the work has become monotonous. Research shows only 13% of people worldwide like going to work.

Every time I drive on the freeway during the 8-5 commute route time, I think about all of those people going to their job. I think about you going to your job.

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Photo Credit: LuisJouJR via Compfight cc

Do you like your job?

What are you sacrificing by going to work?

Do you feel like a cog on a wheel?

If you could choose to do anything, would it be the job you are going to/leaving?

Or

Do you need a Monday morning mulligan?

Going to College

When you were leaving high school and entering college, the common question asked of you as you graduated was “what will you major in?” I’m guessing you picked a safe major and not something you are passionate about. You picked the degree that *might* land you a job after graduating. Yet here you are, stuck in traffic, wondering what happened.

The reality is the jobs that will exist in 5 years haven’t been thought of yet. And most people don’t know themselves well enough to figure out what they want to do for the

Rest

Of their

Life.

When they are 18 years old.

A Different Way of Thinking

I was listening to a TED Talk the other day. I do not listen to them often enough, but when I do, I am always challenged by what is said. Even if that challenge is simply a more open mindset. This particular TED Talk was how a mother encouraged her kids to be more than hoop jumpers. You should take the 15 minutes to watch (or listen to) the video.

After I listened to this, my mind went many directions. I had three takeaways from what I heard which I could put in place with my own kids.

Here are 3 ways to help your kids overcome the 9-5.

  1. Help your kids discover their interests

When kids are little, they seem to gravitate towards certain activities and subjects. As they get older, those interests will change and become more focused. Allowing your kids to experience new things will help them learn what they are interested in. I am for allowing kids to try new things, sports, music, or dance, to name a few. I am against packing the kids time so tightly that they don’t have time to be a kid.

As their interests become more focused, help them discover what they really love.

  1. Call out your kids abilities

Most adults don’t know their skills and abilities, so what makes you think a 17 year old really understands this? As your children get older, you will begin to see what they are naturally good at. Name these abilities to them. Help them develop these abilities.

  1. Help them develop a good work ethic

Opportunities are not normally handed to you unless you have proven that you are trustworthy enough to get the job done. Early on, help your kids develop a good work ethic. Teach them that good things come to those who work hard for it, who have goals, and who are focused. Teach them. Do not hand things to them.

Help your kids understand their abilities and discover their interests. Click To Tweet

These three things will help them find fulfillment and potential success. Help them dream and take practical steps to achieve those dreams.

Why potential success? Success is subjective. We learn a lot when we fail. And those failures, when we learn from them, can help lead us to success.

In Conclusion…

As parents, as functioning adults, I believe many do not know their abilities and only some would be able to identify interests. I think we have long forgotten to dream about what makes us fulfilled in lieu of the 9-5. I hope I can live my life in such a way that my kids see a dfiferent way. I hope I can help guide and challenge them to seek what is best for the them, even if it doesn’t fit into mainstream business.

In your current occupation, are you using your skillset and abilities? Do you get to do something for work that is an interest? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)