It’s Grab A Book Season

I love sharing what find with you.  I stumbled upon this list of 10 books for career women and I’ve already ordered 3 of them.  Here is the list:

1. Knowing Your Value: Women, Money, and Getting What You’re Worth

by Mika Brzezinski

Read this book if you need advice and confidence to ask for a raise this year! Brzezinski is the co-host of Morning Joe and took a fascinating approach to telling her story of how she finally asked for more late(r) in her career.

2. The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Livesby Katie Couric

Couric has access to some of the most fascinating people in the world. This book is for you if you want to be inspired to take risks and push yourself.

3. Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Wantby Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever

This is the book for you if you’re interested in why you may not be asking for more and how to overcome your fears of doing so. Babcock provides practical steps to get you comfortable with asking for what you want this year.

4. Brag!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn without Blowing Itby Peggy Klaus

Self-promotion is awkward. Klaus’ book helps to understand why you need to brag and how to do it in a way that makes you comfortable. Some of the suggestions are a bit of a stretch, but if you pull out a couple of her tips you’ll be well on your way to being a better advocate for yourself.

5. How Remarkable Women Lead: The Breakthrough Model for Work and Lifeby Joanna Barsh and Susie Cranston

Barsh is a senior director at McKinsey & Company and has access to some of the most influential businesswomen in the world. In this book, she works to understand how these women became successful and how they get after it each and every day. Read this if you want to be inspired and learn about the key factors women leaders have in common. Hint: Optimism is one of them.

6. 20-Something, 20-Everything: A Quarter-life Woman’s Guide to Balance and Direction 

by Christine Hassler

Levo LOVES Christine. This book can provide that pick-me-up when you’re in a slump and want to know that it will be okay. This book will help you feel better about yourself, love yourself, and help you build better relationships with those in your life.

7. Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life)by Cathie Black

Black shares some of the crazier things people have done to get her attention when she was the president of Hearst, and she also talks about the importance of hard work. Read this if you are interested in the business side of publishing, or just want to learn about what it was like to convince Oprah to make a magazine.

8. Getting from College to Career Rev Ed: Your Essential Guide to Succeeding in the Real Worldby Lindsey Pollak

Pollak nails it: Getting from college to career is a harsh life transition. The suggestions in her book will help everyone from you, the college seniors to their parents.

9. Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers (A NICE GIRLS Book)by Lois P. Frankel

In this series, Frankel picks out interesting habits of both successful and unsuccessful men and women for you to learn from. If you want to learn the habits that could be holding you back, this is the book for you.

10. Bossypantsby Tina Fey

Want to laugh and learn? This book is full of quotables and it will literally make you LOL. Plus, the advice is so spot on that you’ll finish the book with a renewed sense of confidence.

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Me? Work? From Home? With A Baby?

When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I knew that I wouldn’t put him in daycare, that was out of the question. I knew I would have to figure out some way to work and stay at home. 

Seems pretty easy, right? Plenty of companies hire employees to work from home or hire independent contractors. 

Here’s the kicker – you need a quiet, distraction free workspace! My son isn’t a distraction, he’s 3 months so it’s not like he’s running around the house, jumping off things, climbing up things or (Heaven forbid) breaking things … BUT he loves to talk and he’s not always so quiet about sharing what’s on his mind! I absolutely LOVE hearing his voice and all of the beautiful sounds he makes. 

So, what’s the problem? There goes my “quiet workspace.” I wouldn’t dare trade the conversations with him for anything but realistically I’m not exactly rich so I’ll need a steady paycheck. 

I had it all planned out in my mind. My plan was to find a job and work while my son naps or while he sleeps at night … since he does (or used to) sleep through the night. *I’m not quite sure what sleeping schedule he’s adopted. Kid turns 3 months and suddenly wants to sleep all day and party all night. 

Oh, to be young, wild and free! 

This great idea is proving to be harder than I thought. Finding a job with decent pay that allows me the flexibility to make my own schedule is a job in itself. Not to mention those nights when my son decides to stay up until 4am or when he decides during the day that he doesn’t want to nap but would rather have mommy hold him for hours or just feeling really goofy and wants to play. How do you discipline yourself to get back to the grind? Definitely harder than I thought but here’s where I practice what I preach and put my scheduling, organization and time management skills to the test. I can do it! 

Because I’m every woman! 

I’m a mom. 

I maintain a household. 

I cook. 

I clean. 

I shop. 

I pay bills. 

I’m generous. 

I give. 

I love. 

I’m a daughter. 

I’m a sister. 

I’m smart. 

I’m persistent. 

I’m courageous. 

I’m spontaneous. 

I’m his. 

I’m just like you. 

And the list goes on!

#motherhood #celebratewomen and men too! 

#randomthought

Oh, Friday!

pic courtesy of Google

Each week brings something new, different, exciting and/or challenging. A new spot on my blog will be “Oh, Friday!” where I’ll share my top 3/4 favorite or most memorable things from the week. 

  • This week my son is 3 months! I’m so honored and blessed to have him. Who would have thought that at 3 months, my son would teach me how to be more patient, slow down and be less self centered? Hmm! He’s doing so many new things and he’s so funny!! My hearts contentment. 
  • The Have And The Have Nots! If you watch this show, you’ll know that this week’s episode was a knee-slapper. Erica turning on Candace, Katheryn moving out on Jim while he sits in office totally oblivious, Melissa slitting her wrist, Q getting shot … OMG. 
  • Greenleaf is back!! Such a good show and I just love that Oprah Winfrey is actually acting. She’s such a strong character.  I couldn’t wait for the season premier and it didn’t disappoint. 
  • A visit from Patrice! One of my good friends came by with her 2 year old daughter to visit with us. I made dinner for us and I must say I had the best time catching up with her. In a little over 2 hours I think we talked about everything that we needed to get out. The last time we actually saw each other was in 2013, I was a bridesmaid in her beautiful wedding! Yep, 2013! Now, she’s married (I’m … not) and we both have babies. #life The most fascinating part is it was like we’d just talked the day before. We didn’t miss a beat! Gotta love those friendships! 

It’s important to take some time to reflect on the good things, no matter how small. Life is a precious gift. Love it! & live it! 

I would love to hear about your week! Share any memorable moments!! 😊

~ xoxo Shelita

You’re a mom! What the heck is time management?

As a first-time mom, instead of sleeping when the baby sleeps, I found myself just watching him sleep. Then when he wakes up I beat myself up because I should have been washing dishes, starting dinner, doing laundry, brainstorming, or anything other than staring at my son while he sleeps.

There’s just something about that peaceful slumber that lets my little naive mind believe that all is not lost in humanity. Wishful thinking.

Prioritizing my day and scheduling almost everything is important, especially as a stay-at-home mom. Between caring for my son and getting my business up and running (which, in case you didn’t know, is a beastly journey) I still must tend to the household chores, cooking and regular errands! Doesn’t seem like much but boy, oh boy, it’s plenty.

I had to come up with a system to keep my life from just being a box of puzzle pieces waiting to be put together. If you’re looking for ways to organize, get your day going (and keep going) see below.

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Pic Courtesy : Google

Get focused! First things first.

  • Wake up earlier! Rise and shine before the hubby is up for work and before the kids start screaming for breakfast.
  • Meditate! Center your energy and create a mindset of peace. You will be amazed at how differently you will be able to handle the tasks that will come 90mph.
  • Devotionals! Whatever it takes to create peace. Spend about 5-10 minutes reading your daily devotionals. This will also help you remain focused and positive.
  • Affirmations! This is my favorite. I like to write my daily affirmations in my planner so that I can see them on a regular basis. I also make sure that whenever I look at them I speak them aloud. Makes it more real. 😊

Plan the work. Then work the plan.

  • Plan! I use a planner to write down everything I need to do. I try to schedule my things in increments so that I can take a break and keep the balance.
  • Stick to the schedule! … as much as possible, otherwise it’s pointless.
  • Stay organized! Use sticky notes, lists, alarms, set reminders or pop-ups to help you stay on track.
  • Turn off notifications! Set a time for checking social media, emails, and returning phone calls.
  • Work when you’re most productive! Early bird or night owl.
  • Prep for tomorrow! Before going to bed or calling it a day, try to make a list of things to get done for tomorrow (include things that you didn’t get to today) and prioritize them accordingly.

Take Breaks / Set Realistic Expectations

  • Work. Life. Balance. Don’t be so busy making a living that you forget to have a life.
  • Balance your schedule to include quality time with your significant other and playtime (or just I Love You time) with the kiddos.
  • Take time for yourself. Take a break from the work to get a whiff of fresh air or just to take your eyes off your computer screen or phone screen.

Celebrate / Reward yourself

  • Whenever your work week is over (remember to take a day off) reward yourself. An hour-long bubble bath, a glass of wine or something a little more hardcore, a massage, mani/pedi, bake those chocolate chip cookies & have them with a scoop of your favorite ice cream … or whatever helps you relax. With all that you’ve accomplished in one week, you deserve it. Do this whether you work from home or outside of the home. 🙂

 

#celebratemotherhood #momlife #mommyingislife #stayathomemom #workfromhome #worklifebalance

BEcoming YOU!

I’m almost 3 months into this motherhood thing and I must say it’s not hard but it’s not easy! My pregnancy was the most amazing experience. It was NOTHING like “they” said it would be. My labor and delivery was something I’ll never forget but it wasn’t as bad as “they” said it would be. My first few weeks home with my son were filled with sleepless nights, feedings, diaper changes, personal maintenance and light housework but not because my son was up, he slept and still sleeps through the night. I wasn’t as tired as “they” said I would be. My point is don’t let the infamous “they” define your experiences before you even have them. Enjoy your experiences and embrace your challenges. 

“Don’t take life too serious! Nobody gets out alive!” I love this quote in a weird “true but not funny” way. 

Becoming a mother is a long process. It takes nine months to grow that tiny person and it’ll take, what feels like a decade, to deliver that same tiny person. When you feel overwhelmed or your hormones decide to take you on what feels like the dungeon drop, remember what’s happening. Remember that it’s all necessary. Remember that in due time you’ll be holding the single most important possession of your life. 

Okay, so realistically I had an easy and enjoyable pregnancy and my labor wasn’t anything for me to complain about either (but I now know why it’s called labor) so I’m not sure how much my opinion is worth to the mommy who’s little one is having a hard time in the belly or to the mommy who can’t keep anything down but the end result is the same. Remember that it’s all necessary. Remember that in due time you’ll be holding the single most important possession of your life. Life has a funny way of working itself out … many people on the same journey but each person will arrive differently. It’s YOUR journey … don’t let anyone define how you should be, how your journey should be, how you should respond on your journey … just arrive! 

I have a whole new respect for mothers (working mothers, stay at home mothers, single mothers, married mothers, younger mothers, older mothers, first time mothers, experienced mothers) the thing is there is no right or wrong way, no certain age, no perfect time, not even a perfect mother! We’re all here figuring this thing out one day at a time. If you have one child or nine children, you’re always going to be learning something … unless you’re that person who believes they’ve seen it all! Don’t be that person, keep an open mind and be willing to learn and grow as your child does. (sounds like I’m telling you how to be you, huh? I’m definitely not, just my opinion lol) 

So, who am I? Ask yourself this question and take some time to write out your response. I had pages on pages on pages! It’s doesn’t have to be super long but enough for you to realize and remember how amazing you are. You may even need to read it a few months down the line as a little pick me up or quick reminder! 

From one supermom to another … enjoy your motherhood journey! 

Budgeting With A Baby

Congratulations!!! You’re having a baby!! What now? How much will my new addition cost? What should I know now to prepare me for later? Having a baby is expensive. I think we can all agree on that. If you’re a first-time mom it’s easy to get carried away as soon as you find out the sex of your baby. You instantly want to buy everything in sight! Calm down mom, the first couple of months baby’s social life will be pretty boring. Even if you have older children, you naturally want to go out and buy little things for your new arrival. I’ll admit I did it. As soon as I found out the sex I rushed out to my now favorite stores and splurged on baby items. I assured my significant other they would be small purchases but they quickly turned in to hauls. 

Many times the advice given to parents is “wait  until after your baby shower before you buy baby items,” however, buying baby items is one of many things to add to your new budget. Whether you’re starting your budget during your pregnancy or after your little bundle has made his or her grand entrance, it’s never too late.  There’s a lot you can do to financially prepare your family for the new addition. 
Childcare
This is one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make. Will you return to work or stay home to save money on childcare? This is obviously a very personal decision but this is also one where you may seek the advice of someone you trust on finding someone you can learn to trust with your child. Day care averages $5,000 to $17,000 a year depending on location. Yikes!!! I know. Take your time with this one. Research, talk to current parents, make impromptu visits, talk to the daycare director and employees, ask for the meal plan, how they handle incidents, illnesses, discipline, daycare closing notices (inclement weather, etc.), learning tools, security, cameras, potty training and how they communicate to the children. After all, they will be caring for your most valuable possession for 8-10 hours a day. 
Credit / Savings 
Now is a good time to pay down on your credit cards and start adding any extra amount to your savings. A rule of thumb is to have at least three months of expenses saved up. If there is only one income in the household, aim to have four to six months of expenses banked up. **Note, Only 16% of companies offer paid maternity leave. Want to take time off without pay? Here’s where those savings come in handy.**
 
Healthcare / Benefits 
If you’re a regular employee, keep in mind that adding your baby to your insurance will raise your biweekly amount. Get a copy of the current rates from your employer and use that as a rough estimate to the amount that will be deducted from your paycheck. In a typical employer-sponsored health plan, prenatal care and delivery cost a patient about $3,000. Contact your insurer to see what it will cost you so that you can plan for the outlay. Also, in most cases you have 30 days after the baby’s birthday to put your child on your health plan and to sign up for flexible spending accounts that let you save pretax for health care and dependent care. Make sure you don’t miss that date! 
Life Insurance 
Even if you have a policy through your employer, you’ll want to have an outside policy. No offense to anyone who loves their job but your first priority is now your child. You may be loyal to your job but at any moment they can and will let you go and there goes your life insurance policy. Even if you decide not to return to work, having an outside policy will ensure your family is covered. Research whole and term life insurance and decide what’s best for you and your family. Most policies are inexpensive but be sure you fully understand what you’re signing. Ask many questions. If you’re unsure of what questions to ask, hop online and do a little research. Also, don’t just talk to one agent. Some people are only concerned about their commission. Get a second opinion (or third or fourth) to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck. 
        Use the tools at lifehappens.org to estimate your life and disability insurance needs.
Make A Will 
It’s very important to appoint at least one guardian for your child. You can visit a lawyer or look for ways to do it yourself online. If you don’t know your child’s name just yet, that’s okay. You don’t need the name and you can always update it once you’ve decided on a name. 
 
Baby Gear
Car seats, strollers, diapers, onesies, socks, pack-n-play, what to get and what not to get. Often times as a first-time parent you’ll hear “you don’t need that, you’ll never use it,” I say register for any and everything your heart desires. Have fun figuring out what you like, what your baby will appreciate, what brands you’re likely to remain loyal to and which ones you can do without. If this isn’t your first child you may have a better idea of what products and items you will definitely use so you’ll be pretty well informed in creating your baby registry. On the bright side, depending on the items, you may be able to return them, regift them or donate them. Don’t feel bad for asking for items on your registry! Have fun. 
 
Baby Savings Plans 
There’s tons of ways to save money for your baby’s future. Many parents start out saving change, holiday money, birthday money and even child support payments. Those are all great ideas and very easy to start. If you’re looking for plans that offer tax-free growth, withdrawals for college, and maybe even the option to use the money for something other than college research 529 plans and the Gerber Grow Up plan. Also check with your tax professional or state for possible deductions. 
Tax Break 
I am definitely not a tax expert, in fact, it can be quite confusing as your status changes. Use the Withholding Calculator at irs.gov to see if you can reduce what you’re paying to Uncle Sam each paycheck.
Figure out what other costs to expect with the First-Year Baby Costs Calculator at BabyCenter.com.