Before the School Bell Rings

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It used to be that the bathroom scale determined how my day was going to go. Do I feel victorious or defeated? Like a rock star or a loser? Strong or painfully weak?

Now it's the drive to school.

It's crazy how those precious few moments between the morning alarm and the school bell can set the entire cadence and tone of my day. When the kids wake up in a good mood, cooperate during the tooth brushing/pajama changing/breakfast eating routine all is right with the world. Sometimes we even have time to read a few books at the breakfast table (talk about feeling like a super mom!). On those days, we all but skip to the truck and dance all the way to school - chatting and singing away.

And then there are days like today.

Things started off smoothly enough. The boys seemed to wake up on the right side of the bed. The first to rise (strangely, my usually late-riser) was cooperative and kind. He brushed his teeth and got dressed with nary a reminder from me. We went downstairs earlier than usual and completed the breakfast routine with no issues. He put on his shoes and even had time to play a bit before we headed off to school. His brother woke up, with no drama, roughly 30 minutes later. Again, the dressing routine was a breeze and he cooperated throughout breakfast.

I went upstairs to finish dressing myself and informed the boys that we were leaving in 20 minutes. They played quietly and I even got to listen to a bit of the morning news as I finished my makeup. The countdown continued, with polite warnings echoing from upstairs in 5 minute intervals. I finished my morning routine with little stress (and even matching shoes!), then descended the stairs for what I thought would be a delightful morning drive.

Yeah, right.

It started when I asked the boys to put their board game away. At first, they ignored me and continued to play. Then, one decided that it would be funny to throw the game pieces at the box while the other chose to bat them around on the floor with his shoes. No worries - I can handle this! I reminded the boys to make good choices, to be good listeners and that it was time to go to school.

Fast forward to 12 minutes later. Game pieces are still scattered across the living room floor, one child is flailing on the ground and the other is running around the cul de sac among our family room/kitchen/living room/dining room like a fucking lunatic. Now the screaming begins. We have gone from being ahead of schedule to behind, my atypical cool has disintegrated into a cross between banshee and mental patient. My previously calm and cooperative children have transformed into assholes and my mood is shot.

And it's not even 8am.

The drama continues in the car, and I arrive to the school exhausted, exasperated and nearly in tears. We say our morning prayers, share a group hug and I shuttle each off to their classrooms. I feel the tears burning my cheeks on my slow walk to the car, and by the time I hit the driver's seat I can't hold back the flood.

How do you face a full day of meetings, decisions, challenges and life in general when you already feel defeated before 9am?

In retrospect, the scale was a much kinder master. Its numbers, while at times cruel and unexpected were more ofter than not completely rational and easy to explain. A few too many cookies here, too few minutes on the treadmill there and the numbers would rise. Days of good food choices, consistent exercise and healthy sleep patterns and the numbers could slowly be coaxed in the right direction.
The morning routine is a much more tempestuous and mercurial master. The moods and temperaments of two strong willed, independently minded children are much harder to control than my bathroom scale. Maybe one day I'll figure it out.

But today, I just feel defeated...

Makeup Monday with D'angelo Thompson

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Oldies But Goodies

By D'angelo  Thompson

Sometimes as consumers we get caught up with new, now, next when it comes to skincare products. As most of you know most skincare regimes should be changed seasonally....but revisit some older brands like Ponds, Oil of Olay and or Cetaphil. These have been on the market for decades and highly recommended by dermatologists. 
There is nothing wrong with a peel or laser treatment but when it comes to daily basic skincare the oldies rule!


-- 
D'angelo Thompson, make up, groomer, beauty educator, blogger  and author
www.dangelothompson.com

Top Ten Crazy Kid Moments at BadAssMama Central

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Parenthood has been a revelation to me. In some ways, motherhood is more amazing and awe-inspiring than I'd ever imagined. In others, it's just plain nuts. After a particularly bizarro event this evening (see point #2), I decided to chronicle the Top Ten Crazy Kid Moments at BadAssMama Central (thus far...).

10. Angel sitting up in the bed at 2am screaming, "Fishsticks. Fishsticks! FISH STIIIIIIICKS!!"

9. After coming home with a new hair style, Victor looks at me and says, "Whoa!" To which I respond, "Whoa good, or whoa bad?" Victor's reply? "Whoa BAD"

8. Angel nailing his NICU nurse with a projectile poo in the incubator...then laughing

7. Victor asking God to "please stop my brother from getting on my nerves. Amen"

6. Discovering that Angel's favorite song is "Call Me Maybe" while Victor's is "Rumor Has It"

5. Angel's preschool teachers asking us why his sister Olivia was hiding in the background of our family photo...

4. Victor walking in on me in the bathroom, only to exclaim, "Wow, Mommy. Your butt is HUGE!!"

3. Angel requesting that the DJ play "Boriqua Anthem" at the karate holiday party

2. Victor peeing down the stairs in his sleep, then walking right back to bed

1.  Angel licking the floor in the middle of karate, then looking at me like, "What?" 

Beauty Tuesday with D'angelo Thompson

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Waves of Color
By D'angelo Thompson

I consider myself conservative with trends but will take more fashion risks on occasion.
Trending now is bold streaks of color in hair, I say clip in an extension of a bright pink or blue, less commitment and no bleaching required!

What i'm truly loving is the vibrancy and vast nail colors trending...nail artist Julie Kandalec says look for " bold, vibrant  pastels for SP/Summer 2013 from lines like BUTTER" !

The key to color is having fun and letting your inner child play...perfect play date for mommy and daughter time:-)


-- 
D'angelo Thompson, make up, groomer, beauty educator, blogger  and author
www.dangelothompson.com

Top 10 Responses to an Attack on Your Parenting Skills

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10. Thank goodness someone finally noticed! I don't have a clue what I'm doing with these little lunatics.

9. I know you are, but what am I? 

8. Really? You think I'm setting the wrong priorities for my kids? You should see what I let them do when no one is around!

7. Let's do this - I'll meet you in 15 years and we'll see who had the better approach. Sound good? 

6. Your mama...

5. You're right. Tell me - how EXACTLY do you suggest I raise my children? Hold on - let me get some paper so I can take copious notes

4. Let's agree to disagree...and by that I mean you're an asshole

3. I'm trying reverse psychology. My goal is to set ALL of the wrong examples and priorities so they will do the exact opposite.

2. Thanks for noticing! I have a deal with multiple psychologists in the area, and they are going to give me a kick back on my kid's future therapy bills...

1. We're all just doing our best to help our kids become the best version of themselves possible. You do it your way, and I'll do it mine. Deal? 

New Year, New YOU!

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Many of us have made resolutions moving into the new year. Have you resolved to take the next step in your career? Find more balance in your life? Reach for your dreams?

The BadAssMama can help!

BadAssMama Enterprises is a full service lifestyle management brand dedicated to helping women, particularly working mothers, dare to design their BEST LIFE. We take a holistic approach including career coaching, fitness, nutrition, work-life balance and mindfulness training.

You've spent much of your academic and professional career preparing for a bigger job. BadAssMama Enterprises will help you learn how to build a bigger life – one that equips you to climb the corporate ladder as well as the jungle gym. A life big enough to fulfill your dreams while balancing your many personal and professional obligations.

Whether it means expanding your current role or branching out into an entirely new direction, Sherice Torres and her team of certified professionals will equip you with the tools to build resilience in both your personal and professional endeavors. We will help you learn how to design your life with as much care and precision as you have put into the design of your professional career.

SPECIAL OFFER for members of The BadAssMama Community:

o   I've reserved slots for 10 new clients to receive a 1 month introductory executive coaching series
o      The standard rate for one month of coaching is typically $1800. I am holding 10 slots for the special  rate of $500 


For more information, contact sherice@badassmama.com. 


Sherice Torres
MBA, Brand Builder, Life Coach, BadAssMama-in-Chief

Sherice Torres knows about the power of resilience. Whether rising from the public schools of Richmond, California to graduating from Harvard University; or facing a double mastectomy at the age of 37, Sherice tackles each challenge with drive, determination, faith and a healthy dose of sarcasm. 

An inspirational leader with nearly 20 years of experience in marketing, brand management, organizational development and executive coaching, Torres currently serves as Sr. Vice President of the consumer products division of a major kids and family entertainment brand. Torres also serves as BadAssMama-in-Chief of BadAssMama Enterprises, Inc. She is a regular contributor to WorkingMother.com, WhatTheFlicka.com and a syndicated contributor on BlogHer.com.

Sherice graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University and served as a management consultant with Deloitte & Touche before completing her MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of Management. Among her many honors, Sherice was chosen as one of Black Enterprise’s 75 Most Powerful Women in Business (2009), Top 100 Black Executives (2008), and Crain's Business Top 40 Under 40.

Sherice is an avid runner, completing several full and half marathons from coast to coast - including the ING New York City Marathon and the Nike Marathon for Women in San Francisco. She has been an active member of Team in Training, raising funds for cancer research with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Her most recent fitness addiction is to Bikram Yoga, practicing 3-4 times each week.

Torres currently lives in New York with her husband and two sons, and journals her (mis)adventures in parenthood on her blog, The BadAssMama Chronicles. 



The BadAssMama's Guide to Stress-Free Mornings

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OK, so MAYBE the title is a bit of an over-promise. But, if you follow a few of my handy dandy tips, you can find yourself making it through back-to-school mornings with less yelling, less hair-pulling and even a little more Zen…

·      Skip the shower No, I don’t mean roll up to drop off covered in peanut butter and boogers. But I do mean drop the MORNING shower from your routine. End each day with a relaxing soak in the tub, or even a more utilitarian shower. In the morning, brush your teeth, wash your face and start chasing down the kids. This can easily knock 20 minutes or more off of your morning routine.

·      Work the night shift I make it a rule to leave as little as possible to be done each morning. Before you hit the sack, make sure that the morning supply chain is ready to go. Make sure that backpacks are stocked with homework, gym clothes, permission slips and anything else you might be frantically searching for 10 seconds before the bus comes. If your kids are old enough, make this part of their chores as well! Pack lunches the night before, so you don’t accidentally send your kid to school with your coffee mug and open their sandwich on your commute in…

·      Become a personal stylist I love the spontaneity of picking the perfect wardrobe and accessories first thing in the morning, don’t you? Not so much. If you want to make it out the door with matching socks and a portion of your sanity intact, lay out clothing choices – including shoes, jewelry, baseball hats, whatever – the night before. I like to lay out 2 days of clothes and 2 sets of PJ’s for my kids each night before bedtime. I hang my outfit of choice in the closet, place my work shoes in my bag and keep my commute flats right by the front door for easy access.

·      Be the routine Nothing throws off the morning schedule like lost car keys, dead cell batteries or a misplaced tote bag. Store your most-used items in the same, convenient location each day. I store my work bag and car keys right on the couch in our living room for easy access, keep a box with hats, scarves and gloves by the front door in the winter and swap out for a box with baseball hats and sunscreen in the warmer months. Hang coats on hooks that are easily accessible for the little guys for self-service

·      Streamline the gravy train Kids love choices, especially when it comes to food. But – ask an open ended question like “What do you want for breakfast” and before you know it, you’ve become a short-order cook. Who has time to make French toast on a Monday morning? The key is to give your kids (especially the little ones) 2 choices that YOU can live with. Would you like waffles OR cereal? A banana or grapes? Strawberry or vanilla yogurt? This way, they have their say while you still make the morning train.


This post from my archives is being re-run as part of BlogHer's Smart Mom's Guide to Being Busy editorial series, brought to you by Rice Krispies and BlogHer.

Ripped Pants and Other God Winks

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God has an interesting way of getting my attention.

Let me explain.

As I mentioned in my latest post on What The Flicka, The BadAssMama has been in a bit of a rut lately. Rather than a celebration of joy and beauty and light, life these days has been more of a slog through the myriad of indignities and annoyances that comprise life with two-under-the-age-of-six. Rather than appreciating the fact that both of my kids (as well as The Hubs and I) are of sound body and relatively sound mind, I found myself complaining about, well, pretty much everything.

Now, don't get me wrong. I fully accept the fact that mine are textbook examples of suburban-working-mother-first-world-problems. But when you're in the middle of the mess, it can be easy to lose hope. To forget that the hard times don't last forever. That the kids won't always be little - or working on my last nerve most waking hours.

Last weekend on the way to an impromptu date night, The Hubs and I got into a conversation about life. Not the meaning of life or anything so far-reaching as that, but really our life right now. Over the course of the conversation, the topic rather quickly shifted to me - more specifically, the fact that he was worried. About me. He told me that he could see how much stress I was under. He referenced a passing conversation we had in the kitchen where I mentioned that I felt more like a drill sergeant than a mom. He told me that he was worried that I wasn't having any fun.

Fun. How the hell am I supposed to have fun when there is just SO MUCH SHIT TO DO?

And that, my friends, is the problem. There will always be things to do, but the time when my kids are small (and not yet mortified by my dorkiness) is fleeting. If I don't embrace it now, it will be gone before I know it.

I reflected on how to have more fun - in general, but specifically with my kids, for the next few days. It weighed heavy on my mind as I went to church on Sunday. At the end of service, I went up for prayer. Clearly I couldn't figure out this whole "letting go and having fun" thing on my own, so I'd take it up with The Boss. The wonderful woman who prayed for me was also a mother and nodded knowingly when I explained my problem. I told her that, since having kids, my life was an exercise in control. If I could control how much hydration Victor had each day and insured that he took his medications on time, I could make sure that he didn't end up in the hospital. If I could help Angel to redirect his insane levels of energy and focus, I could keep him from having problems in school.

Once the words came out of my mouth, I realized that it was impossible for me to truly control these things, but I couldn't shake the feeling that it was my responsibility - my duty as a mother to TRY to control as many variables as possible. To keep my children safe, to give them options, to make them healthy, happy and whole. As the woman prayed for me, she asked that God give me a series of winks over the course of the next few days to show me that he understood and would help me to take life less seriously. To let go of the semblance of control and surrender my control-freak tendencies to Him. I left the church feeling lighter, feeling understood, but still not quite knowing how the hell I was going to kick my control habit.

On Monday, I returned to work after the Christmas break. The work day moved along smoothly and I even made the train that would get me home in time to make dinner before the boys got back from karate. But, of course, there were delays (how I adore the Long Island Railroad...). Twenty minutes after my scheduled arrival time, we made it into the station. Since I'd be traveling for most of this week, I wanted to make it to a 7:30 karate class so time was tight. I could feel my shoulders tensing up and heard the ever-present voice in my head that I was failing my kids yet again:

  • You can't even make it home on time to make them dinner! 
  • How selfish are you? 
  • How could you possibly go to karate when you're going to leave before they wake up tomorrow and be back after they go to bed? 
  • Sure, you'll be back for part of Victor's birthday on Wednesday, but you're right back on a plane Wednesday night. 
  • What kind of mother are you? 

I finally made it home, kissed the boys and listened to the stories of their day as I prepared a quick dinner. My shoulders began to relax as they smiled and shared their adventures. I scarfed down some semblance of a meal for myself, then read Victor's library book to them as they ate their dinner. I sang our special good night song before I left for class (since I would miss bedtime...again) then raced off to the studio with seconds to spare before class began.

While the constant punches and kicks of the class usually help to release the demons of the day, they only seemed to build over the course of class. I couldn't stop thinking about all I had to do in the week and how much time I'd be spending away from the boys.

About half way into class, we were instructed to do a switch-and-kick with our left leg. Basically, we do a little shuffle to move our front leg to the back, then kick the bag. Well, The BadAssMama was so caught up in her own private pity party that I wound up to kick the bag with my left, but somehow failed to plant my right foot firmly on the ground. Before I knew it, I landed flat on my ass. 

Rather than turning red or fleeing the room in embarrassment, I did the only thing that fit the situation. I laughed out loud. The woman sharing the bag with me gave me a fist bump and said she really needed a good laugh. When the 14 year old behind me asked, "Are you ok, m'am?" I looked him square in the eye and said, "Kid, you didn't see anything." I finished the class with more of a spring in my step (and pain in my ass) and limped home with a more healthy sense of humor about the day.

Can you say God wink?

This morning, the alarm went off just before 5am for my 7 o'clock flight. Despite being a bit sleep deprived (really the new normal since kids), I was in a relatively good mood. I pulled myself together, grabbed my bag and headed out the door right on time for my 5:30am pick up. I opened the car door, said hello to the driver and heard a distinct "RIIIIIIP" as I attempted to take my seat.

Not the best way to start the morning.

Thankfully, I was still in front of my house. I told the driver that I had forgotten something, scared the crap out of my husband as I ran back into our room to change then made it back to the car in time for my flight. The ticketing and security line went smoothly, then I commenced my standard early-morning-airport sequence. Around 6:45, I called the house to Face Time with the boys before my flight took off. My husband answered the phone and told me that the kids were still asleep. My boys - who wake between 5:45 and 6:15am seven days a week - decided to sleep in on the morning that I had a 7:05am flight. While I kept my phone on as long as possible, before I knew it was time for boarding and I had to leave without speaking to my boys.

Strike two.

As I sat moping on the plane, I realized that I was yet again choosing to focus on the not-so-bright-side of life. I chose to focus on the rip rather than the fact that I was able to change my pants easily, without embarrassment, from the comfort of my own home. Even though I wasn't able to speak to my boys, I did have the presence of mind to leave them a note in the kitchen before running out the door. And I failed to appreciate the fact that I had a husband who was more than an equal partner in caring for our kids.

Can you say God wink?

So, here I am at the end of the day. My business meetings could not have gone better. I'm sitting in the airport waiting for my flight to board. Thanks to mobile wifi, I was able to Face Time with the boys over dinner and I'll call them to sing our special good night song before take off. I'll rub their backs and take them to the potty around 10:30 when I come home. And while I am getting on another plane before he gets home from school, I am blessed to have the opportunity to spend part of Victor's birthday with him tomorrow (I'm bringing bagels and fruit to his class - it's a surprise!).

And to think, such an amazing day started with a pair of ripped pants...

Makeup Mondays with D'angelo Thompson

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New Year, New You
By D'angelo Thompson


Don't get bogged down by resolutions....it's  time to reflect on what's working and what's not working for you. If you are having constant skin issues first look at the products your using it maybe time to upgrade or switch it up. 


Our skin is constantly changing and also reflects our diet for instance too much salt or sugar may cause dryness or pimples  or simply not enough hydration. If the problem remains seek professional help from a board certified dermatologist or medical aesthetician.


-- 
D'angelo Thompson, make up, groomer, beauty educator, blogger  and author
www.dangelothompson.com