How to be Awesome Melissa

An Accountability Partner

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I often fall short with my follow through. I let my self slide on things I should be taking more seriously, mostly because the only person it affects is me (don’t let me get you wrong, I let others down too, and Ashley explains the feeling well here). I tell myself more often than I’d like to admit that it’s okay to push something to next week or next month seems like a fine time to finally start x. Perhaps you do it, too. If so, I’m glad I’m not alone.

There are a few items in my life that I don’t push around and these are items where people have an indirect dependency on me to be there. I go to work everyday because my team expects me to be there, and I go to German every week because I have classmates that count on me being there. But, and this is a big but, if I have to do something that isn’t a “necessary” then you can find me writing it down and putting “January 2016???” next to it. I then happily talk myself into the fact that January seems like a great time to start x, and yes Melissa, you can absolutely take a nap this afternoon and then proceed to nap in every room of the house for the rest of the evening. YIKES.

So I started thinking that I need to have more accountability in my life. I need to have check-ins on my progress, and that’s when I came across the idea of having an accountability partner. Someone to help me hold myself responsible for those important, but not necessarily urgent, items in my life.

I imagine that my accountability partner and I would check in weekly at a designated time to share our successes (as well as any setbacks). The hope is that when I feel myself slipping during the week I would remember to not make little compromises and then rationalize them, but to think of my weekly report, to remind myself to keep up with my goals, and to keep morale up for her so she also stays accountable.

A few items I’m thinking of including on my future accountability list include: monitoring how much I spend on clothing each month, how much progress I’ve made in my currently secret small-batch craft company, and perhaps parlaying accountability into work items, like purposefully checking emails at certain times throughout the day versus whenever my Outlook app pings me. Other items I think would be nice to add later on (and I imagine they can change monthly) include me time, hobbies, and even reading 50+ pages from a book each week.

Has anyone else tried this? If so, let me know your process, how you keep each other accountable, and what makes a great accountability partnership.

– Melissa Grant

How to be Awesome Jams Libby

Inappropriate Children’s Songs

Every parent finds themselves uncomfortable with a song their child has heard or gravitated to…they can be a source of questions that are particularly difficult and embarrassing to answer. I am no different, but here is a list of songs that my seven year old son has either misheard or misinterpreted the lyrics. Try listening to them with an alternative take in mind…you’ll get a giggle!

  1. Another One Bites the Dust [Queen] Okay, so I don’t know for sure, but believe this song is about gang riots or something…really not appropriate for a kid, but try not laughing when he earnestly sings “Another One Busts the Dust.” A vacuum cleaner is something we really don’t celebrate enough, right?
  2. Sugar [Maroon Five] The innuendo in this song is ridiculously inappropriate for children, but the literal ode to sweetener is totally appropriate for a seven year old. It’s a true love, a pure love. Delicious.
  3. TNT [AC/DC] This is another song that has a level of innuendo that is difficult even for adults to embrace (!), but when Joey sings it, it becomes a personal power anthem. Power is something that a kid has very little of, so having a way to articulate it is an awesome thing to watch.
  4. Seven Nation Army [White Stripes] Joey is learning how to play the guitar and this is his go-to song. Honestly, I’m not sure what the song is about (other than it is a play on the Salvation Army), but I don’t really care. Why? Because Joey has no idea what the words are and what it means – all I know is that he loves to sing it when playing the guitar and that it’s adorable. And on top of that, he has written out the lyrics for when he and his eight year old cousin form their band this summerLibby Post
  5. You Can’t Always Get What You Want [Rolling Stones] I love it when Joey says, “Mom! This is my theme song!” We have used this as a mantra to avoid temper tantrums when he was little, and now he’ll actually ask us for what he might “need” if he can’t get what he wants. Rockin’ AND effective!

– Libby Bingham

How to be Awesome Libby

Life Was Tough

This weekend I went camping with my family. We usually do a car camping kind of thing (drive up in the car, pitch the tent, open up the bundle of wood we bought at the camp store, go a few steps to a pump for water, fire up the camp stove to make mac ‘n cheese, sit and sip cocktails in the nice firelight)…fun! Not this weekend. This weekend we had to hike half a mile – in the rain and mud with all our stuff – to stay in a cabin with no running water, an outhouse halfway up the hill, collecting and processing our own wood…a different kind of fun, to be sure, but easy it is not.

It’s amazing what we take for granted. I’m not saying our problems are not important and that we should all shut-up and stop complaining, but it is very interesting to compare the trials of having to wait in line for self-checkout with having to hike .25 miles to the spring every time you need water. It kind of helps put things into perspective.

This is something my husband and I have done on several occasions on our own, and we’ve taken our son a few times as a carry-in-a-pack age baby, but this is the first time he’s come as a real kid. We were interested to see how the unplugged experience would resonate with our digital native boy. There were some negotiations regarding the bringing of his laptop (I won with the logic that he’d have to carry it himself), but ultimately, we were all device free. During the day, we did “chores,” hiked around, looked for crayfish, ran screaming through the woods (one of us); at night, we read books, told jokes, played UNO, checkers and Yahtzee at night. It was exhausting, but delightful.

The book Joey and I are reading together is Farmer Boy, the second in the Little House series. It is an historical fictional account of a nine-year old boy who lives on a farm in upstate NY in the 1860s – the story focuses on all the chores (morning and night), work on the farm (animals and plants), daily routines of bathing, cooking and going to school (when he doesn’t have farm work to do, of course). Joey and I are both exhausted by the end of every chapter! It has led to a new appreciation on his end for zippers, Gore-Tex, toilets and the refrigerator. He even has changed his morning refrain to “I can’t wait to go to school today!”

These reminders – both in theory and practice – have served to reframe some of my thoughts on my own daily routine (laundry, dishes, dinner…) and as a result, I have found peace in the daily minutiae. A shout-out to the men and women of the past, who worked so hard to feed, clothe and care for their families – all their hard work, struggles and lack of “downtime” have made it possible for me to look at their daily chores as recreational activity, for me to read to my son at night, and then blog about it.

– Libby Bingham