Unrealistic Expectations?

By: Chaunte McClure 

Sun will come out tomorrow

With conviction, I watched an update to a news story from last fall about a young mother who allegedly put her infant in a dumpster. In between late afternoon breaking news and the evening newscast, I occasionally wondered what would drive someone to make that decision. Shame, rape, manipulation, fear, a breakup, depression, and high expectations were among my speculations. The one that brought conviction to my heart was high expectations. Can fear of disappointing an influential leader force one to make a poor decision or even withhold information?

I’ve had the privilege of mentoring and teaching many young ladies over the years – including family. I always want the best for them in every aspect of their lives, and share with them mistakes I’ve made in hopes that they won’t make the same ones. I am confident that they want to make me, their parents, their teachers, themselves and others proud, but I wonder if we apply too much pressure? Actually, this is personal; I wonder if I apply too much pressure. In my conversations with these young ladies, have I left any room for error? Have I failed to teach God’s grace? Have I put myself on a pedestal and  made them feel like they can’t reach me?

As I grieved for the baby and the young mother in that news story, I wondered whether any of those young ladies believe they have to “hide” because they think they’ll disappoint me or perhaps they think I’ll be judgmental. I can’t deny the disappointment, but I will love the same. I didn’t have a perfect young life. I don’t have a perfect not-so-young life.

I think part of my problem is I want to be everybody’s savior. There have been times when I’ve felt like I’ve failed when a mentee does wrong, but I had to realize that I can’t be with her 24 hours a day and I can’t make anyone do right. On the other hand, I certainly don’t want to lead anyone to do wrong.

Is this just self condemnation or do we set the bar too high?

Not Dressed to Impress

By: Jeanne Reynolds

When my husband and I returned from our honeymoon cruise many years ago, our flight landed without a problem in Charleston … but our luggage, alas, did not.

The good news is the airline located it with a day or so. The bad news is it was still in New York City, and apparently had been for some time, going ’round and ’round the luggage belt in one of the busiest airports in the world.

The more good news is no one had stolen it. The more bad news is apparently our stuff was so bad no one wanted it. And these were the “nice” clothes we had packed for a cruise to Bermuda.

Remembering that, I had to laugh (a little, to myself) last weekend when I decided to try the consignment store route for some cocktail dresses I thought just a little too nice for the Every Woman Blog - Not Dressed to Impressthrift store. They’re in excellent condition but I haven’t worn them in years and can use the extra closet space.

With the dresses carefully covered in plastic to protect them from the elements, I entered the consignment shop nearest my home. My first impression was somewhere between a flea market and a garage sale, except less well-organized. I immediately doubted this shop’s clientele would be in the market for sequins and black crepe, but I’d gone this far so I forged on.

Guess what? The proprietress rejected my dresses because they’re too old. Once again, no one wants my stuff.

OK, when I said I haven’t worn them in years, it might be like … 10 years … or more. (I lose track of time these days.) Maybe they’re not the latest style, but they’re beautiful and classic. Surely, I thought, someone would love to snap them up at a great price. Not so much, apparently. Maybe they fall in that no-woman’s land between vintage/retro and just … old.

That little figurative slap in the face caused me to take stock of my closets. It’s easy to see very few of my clothes are new. They fit well (thanks to running, I’ve been the same size for decades) and are comfortable, and I can usually manage an appropriate outfit for any occasion. But no one will ever mistake me for a fashion maven.

And I’m OK with that. One benefit of getting older is you get better at accepting yourself for who you are.

I guess I’m back to the thrift store donation. Kidney Foundation, be on the lookout for a sparkly little number coming your way soon.

I just know someone is going to want it.

Friends … Forever?

By: Jeanne Reynolds

 

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-9-03-49-pm

One of my dearest friends had a birthday a week ago. It was on my calendar (in two places). Did I send her a card or call or email or even text?

I’m really ashamed to admit it, but no.

I could blame the hurricane and the toll it took on our home near Beaufort, my time, energy and mental capacity, but that’s just a convenient excuse. The fact is, although we worked together for years and years, ran together and even travelled some together, nowadays we rarely see each other. A few years ago she left the company where I still work, so now it takes extra effort to keep in touch. Sometimes we do better than others.

 

forever friends

This got me thinking about the effect of changing work situations on friendships. All of us have had good friends who changed jobs or moved away or just aren’t right there every day any more. This is starting to concern me more as I near retirement and wonder what other friends might gradually slip away when they’re no longer part of my 8-5 routine.

Of course, it’s great to make new friends, too, and I’m doing that as my life patterns start to change. But there’s no replacement for friends who knew you back when … and still love you anyway. If you’re lucky, you have at least a few of these in your life. Forever friends.

How will I keep in touch? I have a few ideas, and I’d love to hear what’s worked for you.

  • Always celebrate birthdays, even belatedly, even if it’s embarrassing to admit the date got away from you. OK, I just texted an invitation to my friend and she’s replying as I write. Stay tuned.
  • Meet for lunch or happy hour now and then. Include other long-lost friends and reconnect with several people at once.
  • Sign up for a race or volunteer event together.
  • Get tickets to a concert or play together.
  • Take a class or Bible study together. My church has short studies around Lent and the holidays that aren’t a big time commitment but remind me why we connected in the first place.
  • Follow each other on Instagram. I’m not a social media maven and have neither the time nor inclination for constant Facebook check-ins, but it takes seconds to post a photo on Instagram. And a picture’s worth a thousand words, right?

Now, I may find I’m the one who has to take the initiative to make these things happen. I can either let that bother me or accept it as worth the value of keeping someone wonderful in my life. If it gets to the point that it’s not, it’s time to let her (or him) fly away.

Oh, this just in: She said yes! We’re meeting for lunch tomorrow. Better late than never, especially when it comes to old (forever) friends.

Dear Working Mom

By: Ashley Whisonant

Dear working mom,

I know you are exhausted.

You wake up extra early to pack lunches, book bags, pick out clothes, check homework, or gather after-school activity gear. You probably also notice the toys on the living room floor, the left over dishes from dinner last night, or the toy you promised to fix last night. Don’t get discouraged.

I know you feel like a failure most days – same here. The feeling of not being 100% at work or home, it’s a constant battle. The guilt you feel if you do have a successful, full day at work, but then miss an activity at preschool for the kids. Why can’t you finally figure out a halloween-cupcakesway to volunteer at 9:30 in the morning to make stick horses AND get to work by 8:30? Don’t get discouraged.

Let’s not even start on Pinterest. Pinterest is basically a working mother’s worst nightmare. You are addicted to the cute and perfect snacks and art projects. When can I fit this in my already-over-extended day? I would LOVE to make graveyard cupcakes with tombstones for my boys’ preschool classes – sure. Let me try and do this after working all day, cleaning up from dinner, and trying to be present to my boys, after baths and bedtime. It’s okay to just buy cupcakes for the party. Really, it is. Don’t get discouraged.

I know there are times you feel selfish. Wanting just a free night or weekend away. The voice in the back of your head telling you, “How can you leave your precious babies when you are already gone all day?” “A dedicated mother would never do that!” Don’t get discouraged.

Being a working mother is tough. Don’t get discouraged. You are enough for your children. They think you are amazing. Keep reminding yourself that you are amazing.

Sincerely yours,

A fellow working mom

 

Making Time for Friendship

By: Ashley Whisonant

friends

With school back in session and pumpkin everything starting to pop up, the signs are all there. Summer is coming to an end.

This summer has been filled with beach days, ice cream nights, and late-night neighborhood play sessions. With fall around the corner, I am making a promise to myself that I will make time for friendship. I tend to carve out specific time for my boys, husband, work, working out, and family. I need to do the same for my friendships as well.

Instead of the typical dinner out, I thought of a few other ideas:

  • Walking the neighborhood or Lake Murray Dam
  • Taking a cooking class together
  • Creating a jewelry swap group. Everyone brings necklaces, bracelets, etc. and then we swap!
  • Taking a cake or cookie decorating class at a local craft store
  • Strolling the outdoor market, Soda City, on a Saturday morning

I hope by making specific time for girlfriends, my soul will be rejuvenated! Any other events you would add to the list?

Here’s Your Chance to Become an Every Woman Blogger!

Every Woman Blog Contest

We’re excited to announce that we’re sponsoring another Every Woman Blog Contest to select new bloggers to join our team! Women of all ages are invited to enter the contest from June 1st to June 30th. Each selected blogger will receive a $250 cash prize.

To enter the blogging contest, visit Lexington Medical Center’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/LexingtonMedical. Upload a video or post a short written statement on the Wall about why you would be a great blogger to represent and inspire women in the Midlands. Five women with the most persuasive, funny, touching or engaging posts will be selected to become featured bloggers on the Every Woman Blog.

Each featured blogger will write at least one post per month. The topics will vary greatly depending on the personalities of the bloggers and their daily experiences in the community. The bloggers will also meet in person at “blogger reunions” to share ideas and brainstorm topics.

Make sure to visit us on our Facebook page and leave us a message on the Wall stating why you think you’d be a great blogger – and you could win!

Three Ways to Relieve the Pressure When You’re Pushing Yourself Too Hard

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

under pressure

A year ago today, I was just waking up and coming back to consciousness from my ruptured aneurysm. It was around my sister’s birthday because I remember my boss offering to buy her a birthday gift from me. I was clueless. I couldn’t figure out where I was or what had happened, much less what to get Sister for her birthday.

A year later, I’m still trying to figure out what to get Sister for her birthday. But everything else is better. I’ve recovered well, with the exception of my immobile vocal cords and soft, raspy voice. I’m back at work full-time, have been since late September.

But there are still a few things I need to work on. First, I am quite unhappy with my fitness limitations. Before the aneurysm, I was doing an hour on the elliptical. I also feel like I’m living by the seat of my pants organizationally; I don’t feel like I’ve had it together since I came back to my house in August. I’ve strayed a bit from my “clean eating”, and I still need to get back in the kitchen on a regular basis.

I was sharing this with a friend today when she reminded me that it had only been a year, that I was being too tough on myself. Too tough on myself? Yes. I always have been. Almost on cue, I found a great article in my Positively Positive daily email about that very thing: Are You Pushing Yourself Too Hard?

You don’t have to be recovering from a ruptured aneurysm like me to push yourself too hard. As women, I think we all do it to some extent. That’s why I wanted to share Positively Positive’s three steps to release the pressure when you’re pushing yourself too hard.

  1. Admit you are pushing yourself too hard – Say it out loud (because you need to hear this from yourself): “I am pushing myself too hard to…”
  2. Re-set your expectations. Close your eyes and take a breath. Ask yourself, “What would ENOUGH look like?”
  3. Give yourself permission to just do enough. No more. No less. Just enough.

The article reminds us when pressure and overwhelm come knocking on your door, remember that you have the choice to let them in. Assess the situation, use the three step process above, and ask yourself what might need to change or adjust in order for you to feel less stress and more joy, rest and harmony through the process.

Fitness limitations? Yeah, I’ve got ‘em. A year ago, I wasn’t even walking. So for now, working out twice a week is enough to help me rebuild my strength. Living by the seat of my pants? Yes, I still have some unpacking and organizing to do. I was away from home for five months, and it’s taking me a while to settle back in. I’m getting it done a little at a time, and that’s okay. Not eating perfectly? I can make improvements in small steps, and it will be okay. As long as I have food to eat and don’t fall back into the fast food trap, I will survive fine.

What works for you when you start feeling pressure and overwhelm?