Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Messages For LDS Moms

I love moms. All moms. Stay-at-home moms. Working moms. Used-to-work-but-now-retired moms. Young moms. Experienced moms. Grandmoms. Future moms. Moms with one kid. Moms with a half a dozen kids. Aunts, cousins and friends who aren’t actual birth-giving moms but act like moms anyway. Moms are rock stars.

I'm a working mom, and I've taken some heat for that choice. I’ve talked to other working moms, and they agree that "working mom status" isn't always met with approval. The heat seems to be more intense for LDS working women. Perhaps we’re just a sensitive bunch, but I don’t think so. Working moms tend to develop thick skins at the office. It comes with the territory.

(Career women may get more outward applause and praise than our stay-at-home counterparts, but we also get more rejection and criticism. It’s one thing to have your kid pull a funny face at the chicken casserole you’ve prepared all afternoon. It’s a completely different thing to have your boss deny the proposal you’ve been working on for weeks.)

Back on topic. (My mind tends to wander…happens in your 40s. I blame it on too much Duran Duran in the 80s.)

I was driving with my girls to a Girl Scout activity during the Saturday morning session of the April 2011 LDS General Conference when I heard Elder Quentin L. Cook say:

"...we should all be careful not to be judgmental or assume that sisters [women] are less valiant if the decision is made to work outside the home. We rarely understand or fully appreciate people's circumstances."

Elder Cook continued, "I would hope that Latter-day Saints would be at the forefront in creating an environment in the workplace that is more receptive and accomodating to both women and men in their reponsibilities as parents."

I kept looking for the remote to push the rewind button. (Doesn’t exist on the car radio, by the way.) As an LDS working mom who blogs about finding work-life balance, this was practically an endorsement! (As a marketing professional, I'm compelled to add a disclaimer that no endorsement is expressed or implied.)

So it's official. Elder Cook is my new favorite general authority. Can we have favorites? Maybe he’s my unofficial favorite. I’ll just sustain him twice next time General Conference comes around.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

It's Over, Oprah

I may be the only female in the USA who isn’t sad or upset about Oprah ending.

I can honestly say that watching Oprah has not changed my life. It has not inspired me to become a better/worse person. It has not been a motivator to do good/bad in the world. It has not given me hope/despair for the future.

I don’t hate Oprah. I’ll watch Oprah the two times a year I take a sick day.

I can name three times in my life that I watched Oprah on a regular basis, and they are all related to staying home from school/work for a health issue or maternity leave.

Maybe that’s why I’m not upset about Oprah ending. I associate watching the show with pain, misery or sleeplessness. Or seeing Tom Cruise jump up and down on a yellow leather couch.

(Okay…there was that one episode with Bon Jovi that was really good. It actually helped me feel better. You can’t go wrong with those guys.)

I won't be watching the last show (unless I'm sick). And I don't plan on setting the DVR.

It's over, Oprah. Time to put the yellow leather couch on eBay.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Last Jihad

I attended the local book club for the first time last week. I managed to read the entire assigned book, The Last Jihad by Joel Rosenberg, and get it back to the library on the due date with 10 hours to spare. This is noteworthy only because it’s been the busiest May in my 40-year history of Mays.

Is it just me, or is May the second-craziest month of the year after December?

But I digress…

I was reading The Last Jihad in the days immediately following the death of Osama Bin Laden. I’m not a huge Barack Obama fan, but that was a guttsy move by Mr. President to order our military into Pakistan and take out Al Qaeda’s number one dude.

Yet I digress again…

It was quite timely to read this book at the time of Bin Laden’s death. The Last Jihad was written nine months before 9/11. The fictional book focuses on our country's response to global terrorists' acts originating in the Middle East. After 9/11, the author held-off publishing the book until 2002 so he could add the real-world 9/11 events to the fictional story. The author also includes real-world characters such as Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. But the main characters in the book, including the U.S. President and his advisors, are fictional.

Some of the futuristic details are now historically incorrect. For example, in the novel Osama Bin Laden dies shortly after 9/11 but Saddam Hussein is still alive and the mastermind of the global terrorist movement. In my opinion, the factual inaccuracies weakened the intensity of the book. I guess Rosenberg's crystal ball wasn't working 100% while he was writing.

Even so, I found the book to be “this-is-scary-but-it-feels-good-to-be-an-American”… reminding me of the Tom Clancy novels I read in the 90s.

I didn’t realize that The Last Jihad is the first of five books in a series until I went to book club, but that explains the unsatisfying ending. The author totally left me hanging…which I suppose is the point in a series. Looks like I have more books to add to my need-to-read list.

But first...

I’m currently reading Change Anything…a self-help, motivational book. (Because everyone knows I need all the help I can get.)

And sitting on my nightstand is Water For Elephants…which I want to read before seeing the movie. (I hope Robert Patterson has normal skin tone in this show.)

Not to mention, I'd like to start reading the Harry Potter books we gave our daughter for Christmas. (Am I the only person who hasn’t read those books yet?)

But the biggest reading achievement of the last year was definitely getting through 45 learn-to-read books with our Kindergartener.

Whew! Soooo glad it’s summer!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Diet Coke Update

I lasted 40 days without a Diet Coke before I caved.

I didn't make the Biblical connection of the 40-day Diet Coke fast until a few days ago.

According to the Old Testatment, it rained 40 days and 40 nights during the epic known as "Noah and the Ark". Then the rain stopped and rainbow appeared as a promise that the earth would never be flooded again.

(Or something along those lines. It's been alotta years since I took early morning seminary.)

I didn't find a rainbow at the end of my Diet Coke hiatus, but I discovered something almost as good.

One day I found myself wandering down the beverage aisle at Wal-Mart, looking away from the Diet Coke when I spotted "Energy" Crystal Light.

Intrigued, I picked-up the package. Apparently, "Energy" is code on the front of the label for "Caffeine" listed on the back of the label.

Oh. Baby!

I threw three packages into my cart and skipped on over to the self-checkout lane.

I'm telling you...I pop one of those Energy Crystal Light packets into my bottle of water every morning when I get to the office and BAM! I'm ready to go-go!

These days, an ocassional Diet Coke is saved for a Saturday afternoon or a road trip. Or if I'm eating Mexican food. (It's against the law to eat Mexican food without a Coke...just ask my mom.)

Thanks Energy Crystal Light...for being my personal rainbow after the no-Diet-Coke storm.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stress Junkie

I have a new diagnosis: Stress Seeker

According to one expert noted in Women’s Health, some of us think we need to be stressed-out all of the time in order to really feel alive. The “rush” from stress stimulates hormones such as adrenaline, DHEA and cortisol. Tension can become addictive and bring on unhealthy cravings for more.

Like crazy, outta control addicts we actually seek-out stress!

So if stress is a drug, then I’m a junkie.

"Hello, my name is Diana Windley and I'm a stressaholic."

Recognizing that I have a problem is the first step to recovery, right?

I had no clue about what the second step could be, so I did what naturally comes next and “Googled” STRESS, which linked me to “Wiki” STRESS which led me to online info about CHRONIC STRESS.

Hooked, I kept reading. With every click of the mouse I could feel the tension increase in my shoulders and neck.

For the love-of-peaches, I don't just have STRESS...I have CHRONIC STRESS!!!

I linked to another website that said non-stop, stressed-out people feel like they must always be “on” and rushed and frenzied and frantic.

They might as well as added a footnote that said “See Diana Windley”.

Another article said that modern women see stress as synonymous with success. If we’re not totally overwhelmed, we’re not doing enough.

Yep, yep. All true. True blue.

And then there’s this…stress causes weight gain and irritability. (And I thought it was too much chocolate and lack of caffeine.)

My self diagnosis:

I’m just an outta control, chubby hamster running
fast and furious on the stress wheel of life.

It took me about an hour to realize that reading about the negative effects of stress is really counterproductive for someone who is trying to control stress. And writing about it doesn’t seem to help much either.


(And you thought you were following a blog about achieving work/life balance…ha!)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Working Mommy Makeover

Sometimes when you're a working mom there are times when your appearance is less than professional. Like when you show up to the office with baby spit-up all over your dry-clean-only jacket. Or you smell like Desitin.

Today was "mommy-makeover" day at my daughter's kindergarten class. She gave me the royal treatment as she rearranged my hair, generously applied three different shades of lip gloss, and "carefully" painted my finger nails with dark red polish. My little girl was quite pleased with her efforts to make mom beautiful.

Immediately following my morning at the Mountain Greeen kindergarten salon, I hopped in the car and raced down to Salt Lake City for a couple of business meetings.

I was able to salvage my hair and lips...but the nails...well, they remained "manicured" for my meetings and the rest of the work day.

And I loved it!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Pajama Pants

It's rare that people come to me for fashion advice.

Okay, it's never happened.

Regardless, I have something to say about "What Not To Wear."

And that would be pajama pants in public. You must not wear them outside your home.

Not at Wal-Mart. Not at the grocery store. Not to the quickie mart. Not at the movie theater. Not at school. Not at Starbucks. Not at Denny's. Not at Boston's (like I saw last week). Nope. Not anywhere.

If you are going one foot beyond your driveway, it is completely unexceptable to wear pajama pants. Not even cute pajama pants. Not even expensive, namebrand pajama pants. Not even if you "bling" your pajama pants or make them "vintagey". Even if you want to wear pajama pants with heels, it is not acceptable. Not ever.

This rule applies to adults, teenagers and children beyond toddler stage. This goes for both males and females. There are no exceptions.

No pajama pants in public.

So let it be written. So let it be done.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Weddings & Wars

I'm not a big TV watcher, so last weekend will probably go down in the record books for me.

For starters, it was the Royal Wedding on Friday. It's a good thing that we have the DVR because I just might have been one of those crazies who set the alarm at 2 a.m. to watch it live. Even then, I got up at 6 a.m. to check out Kate's dress. As expected, she was gorgeous.

And let's be honest ladies, so was David Beckham. My, my, my GOODness! But what was going on with his wife's six-inch stilettos? I L-O-V-E heels, but did she walk in those things...and pregnant to boot?!?!?!

So after work on Friday night my daughters and I (with occasional participation by my husband) sprawled-out across the sectional couch to watch the wedding. It turned into a hilarious 3-hour commentary on women's hats.

Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie? C'mon!

What. Were. They. Thinking?

On a more serious note, the second big TV-watching event of the weekend was unplanned. We turned on the TV for the first time on Sunday after 9 p.m. to find out the Osama Bin Laden had been killed.

Dead. Finally.

My husband and I were glued to the TV 'til midnight.


Last year the war became personal when my cousin was killed in Afghanistan. Until that moment, I had never personally known someone who died in war. My cousin's funeral was one of the best, most patriotic experiences that I wish I never had.

It's hard to explain, but it felt "right" to me that Osama Bin Laden was shown no mercy by team USA. (And this is coming from someone who doesn't support capital punishment.)

When the weekend started, I was proud to be an American because we had the good sense not to wear ridiculous hats. By the time the weekend was over, I was filled with pride for a much better reason.

God Bless America!