Category Archives: MARKETING – The Random Ramblings of a Housewife

People Pleaser Pitfalls

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I have to say I’ve always been a people pleaser. Perhaps it was growing up as one of seven kids and my parents drilling into us “if you can’t play together, you’ll work together”.  So, in an effort to avoid weeding the garden, I always made that extra effort to get along with my siblings. But whether you were brought up that way or not, becoming a people pleaser just comes with the territory when you become a mother.  You get so used to feeding someone else, bathing them, changing them, walking them up and down the hallway in the middle of the night, just to get them to stop crying. Do that for a couple of years, combined with what’s probably in a woman’s DNA, and you get used to wanting to help others, wanting to make others happy. However,  there are pitfalls to being too much of a people pleaser. I know at times, I’m guilty of pushing it to the extreme and that’s when it can become a bit of a problem.

I’ve always been the type of person who wants to come across as a very engaged listener. People like to be heard. People like to be agreed with. It pleases them. If the discussion is about a topic that requires an opinion, and I have a strong one, then I will usually voice my side whether it makes the other person happy or not. But, if the discussion is just about day to day things, then I become a head nodder. I just like to agree. Cold out? Sure. Getting late? You bet.  As a people pleaser, I like to head nod even when I don’t really hear what the person has said which can lead to a classic pitfall.

I ran into an acquaintance at the gym about a year ago. It was a little noisy, she was talking about something, I was nodding. Then she asked me, “You’re ___ like me, right?” I couldn’t make out one of the words she said, but I went along with it and said, “Yup. Yeah, I am.” But then, you know when you walk away from a conversation and that’s when it comes to you, you’re able to fill in the blank. Well, as I walked out of the gym, I thought to myself, “I think I just agreed that I was Jewish.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’m not an overly religious person either way, but if you’ve seen my post on how I decorate for the holidays, you would see that I am Catholic. I didn’t think much of it, I don’t run into this woman all that much anyway. But shortly thereafter, I saw her in a department store, and it happened to be the day before a Jewish holiday. I can barely keep my own holy days straight, so I wasn’t sure what this particular day represented in the Jewish faith. I panicked. I tried to skip the aisles she was in, avoid eye contact at all costs, make her think I didn’t see her. Because it just would have been an awkward conversation, ” No, I’m actually not going to temple tomorrow because even though when you asked me if I was Jewish and I said I was, I’m really not.” If I had only asked her to repeat herself when we first had the conversation, she wouldn’t have cared one way or the other what my response was, but now to fix the situation it would just be messy all the way around.

I successfully avoided her that time, but then a few months later, I ran into her again, in December of all months. Turned a corner, face to face, no chance of avoidance. The store, dripping with holiday decor, pretty much insured that there would be no way something wasn’t going to be mentioned. And sure enough… She talked about how she had just moved a town away and how over-the-top the Christmas decorations on everyone’s lawns were and how it was just annoying – she said, “You know how annoying it can be.” So, here’s my chance to set the record straight. Clear up the miscommunication once and for all. Secretly knowing, I myself had a giant blow-up Santa on my front porch, complete with eight, tiny reindeer. But, once again, I found myself nodding in agreement. We wished each other a Happy Chanukah and went on our way.

So, though it’s a nice attribute to want to make others happy or comfortable, there has to be limits. There has to be limits with our kids and there has to be limits with our peers. I have essentially converted religions for a mere acquaintance, albeit, it’s just for a fleeting few moments when I run into her a couple times a year, but still. Now, I try to be less quick with my head nods and ask people to repeat themselves before I respond if I’ve missed something that they said. It’s much better if you try to be true to yourself and not worry so much about pleasing others because you just end up digging yourself deeper and deeper into a hole. We’ve all had those moments where we are over-scheduled but someone asks you for a favor so you automatically say yes, without thinking about whether you’ll be able to get your own stuff done. I’m not saying don’t be helpful, we all want to treat people the way we would like to be treated ourselves, but you just have to make sure you don’t do it to a fault. Your friend will understand if you have to pass every once in awhile. As mothers, in order to avoid those people pleaser pitfalls, we just need to take a step back from automatically saying yes all the time, and actually think before answering. If we can do that, we can still please people, while hopefully staying true to ourselves.

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Because Mrs. Obama Said To, That’s Why.

My youngest son came home from school today and boldly proclaimed, “That’s it!  I am no longer buying lunch at school.” Now, it’s not like he buys lunch that often, but it is nice not to have to smell chicken nuggets cooking first thing in the morning, at least every once in a while, so, this news was a little disappointing to hear.  But to take such a dramatic stance, I figured something big must have gone down.  Was there pushing in line? Had the cookies run out?  Did he drop his tray and cause a scene?  I waited with bated breath to hear…

“What’s gotten you so upset, pumpkin?” I cautiously broached the subject.  “Mrs. Obama!” he cried.  “Huh?  Come again, sweetie?”  I questioned, as this was not the direction I was expecting. “Mrs. Obama, I said,” he repeated looking at me as if I didn’t have a brain in my head. “Well, of course you were talking about the first lady of the United States ruining your lunch, baby doll. Just curious, as to how that came about.” “Well,” he said with a pout, “Mrs. Obama has said that whenever you buy lunch now, you have to take a fruit and a vegetable with it.” “Oh, O.K., now I see. So, what’s wrong with that? It is a good idea. But you know you can take it, try it, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it.” ” Yes, you do,” he continued to complain. “She said you have to take a fruit and a vegetable AND you HAVE TO eat it.” I do have to say, I found a little comfort in the knowledge that the wife of the President was having just as much trouble as I was, getting my six-year-old son to eat healthy. But it did bring the dilemma of my children’s poor eating habits back into light once again. I try, believe me I do. I cook the vegetables, I buy the produce, but after half-a-dozen, heart-felt rounds of begging, I give up and forget about it for a while – apparently until someone in the oval office or a relation of such a person, makes me face the situation again – and let me tell you, as a mother, I don’t come out looking so good.

Not only do I have trouble getting them to eat what’s good for them, they also overload on the bad stuff.  I understand we do live in a world of excess now. Everything is super-sized. Even the squirrels in my yard have gone crazy with that. I took this picture of a certain squirrel, on my patio, carrying not one but three nuts in his mouth at one time – there are a plethora of jokes I could insert here but I’m sure you’ll appreciate my refraining from doing so. With my kids, they start off with asking for one cookie, but then they come back and ask for two more. But it doesn’t stop there, they follow you, from room to room, “just one more, just one more, just one more”. Eventually, I hate to say it, but you give in – just to get the voices to stop. I call it temporary insanity and it just might be. I know it’s not right. I’m in charge here – that’s the mantra that I chant to myself in the mirror every day. And as soon as I start believing that, we might actually get this problem solved.

We all remember, when we were younger, you ate what was given to you, brussel sprouts and all, and you weren’t allowed to get up until you were finished. If I had to go through that, why don’t my kids feel the same obligation? But I guess the answer to that question is a blog in itself.  So, I am still faced with the fact that the closest my kids get to eating vegetables is a potato, and as far as my household is concerned chicken nuggets could be designated as their own food group.  So, maybe, instead of once again allowing my children to make their own rules, I should instead use this opportunity that Mrs. Obama has so graciously given to us. Maybe the tact I should be taking is, when the First Lady of the United States of America tells you do something, you better do it.  She is married to the Commander and Chief of the Armed Forces, after all, so if she says you need to take a fruit and a vegetable AND you HAVE TO eat it, maybe, son, you better think twice about not doing it.

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A Bedwetting That Leads to 800 Thread-Count Bliss

OK, so let’s start off by saying my 5-year-old Kindergarten boy likes to sleep with Mommy and Daddy. He’s the youngest of three, and my baby. I know it won’t be long before he wants to be an independent little boy so when he climbs up into bed with me and cuddles up, I don’t send him away. He hasn’t always been like this, but in his defense, we just moved into a new house a few months ago and he just started school with all new kids. That being said, I’m very aware that because he’s my last child, I’m holding onto his youth with all that I can. Though he has the most adorable smile, is a great cuddler, and makes the cutest sucking sound when he sleeps as if he is dreaming of when he used to be nursed, there are downsides. Most nights I struggle to not fall out of the bed because he likes to sleep so close to me that he pushes me to the edge. He also likes to hog the covers. But last night, we discovered a new downside.

I should have realized that he had too much juice to drink before he went to sleep and proactively taken preventive steps, but I was too immersed in watching American Idol. Yes, at about two in the morning… he wet the bed.  I had to wake my husband up and we had to strip the bed down. Needless to say I was not all that happy. I went to the linen closest and realized the only clean replacement sheet we had, was in an unopened package. I remember my husband had bought them because they were on sale. Normally we are a 300 thread count kind of family, but these sheets that my husband bought were 800 thread count. That’s why they, prior to this, had remained unopened. 800 thread count sheets? That’s what famous people adorn their beds with, right? I remember when Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey used to be married and have their Newlywed show, that Jessica used to talk about the high thread count in their sheets. Didn’t keep them together, but I was impressed, nonetheless. So, here I was having to use the gold standard of sheets not because of some special, monumental occasion, but because of a urination accident. How annoying is that? Still half asleep, we struggled to get the sheets on right, to the cacophony of our son whimpering that he had been woken up, and as quickly as we could, with furrowed brow, got back into our sleeping positions.

As I sunk back into bed, something miraculous happened… I was transported to a Four Seasons Resort. My troubles went away. My annoyance with my son evaporated into the silkiness of the bed of flower petals I felt my body lying upon. For the next four hours I had the sleep of my life. I am now a true believer in high thread count. To think that it took a bed-wetting for me to partake in the luxurious experience that was sitting so high up on a shelf in my linen closest, just waiting for the right moment to come along. But as with many moral questions that one is confronted with when newly acquired riches come into your life, I find myself now being faced with one. 800 thread count sheets and a possible bed wetter, is a potentially explosive combination. When my beautiful, blonde, little boy with his little blankie in tow, starts to make a b-line to my bed this evening, I will have to make a choice. And it won’t be an easy one…

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Promotion Day!

My husband works for an investment bank and today was the day they communicate what your end-of-the-year bonus is and salary increase, or lack thereof. If you know anything about how investment banks have been doing lately, you won’t be surprised that the news he received today was more of a “yip” and less of a “yipee”. So, as someone who doesn’t like to dwell on the negative, I decided to be proactive and create some good news myself. I decided one of us should come home with a promotion today, so, I promoted myself to Vice President, Homemaker, and decided to start this blog. Like my husband, I, too, did not receive a salary increase but I did receive this nifty title. My prior position was just “homemaker”, so moving myself up to Vice President, Homemaker, is something I’m very excited about. It means I finally get to update my resume after six years. My prior position was Vice President of Marketing for a large investment banking firm. When I was pregnant with my third child,  I decided to trade that job in for a “homemaker” position. Six years later, I still hold that position and felt that it was high time I received a richly deserved promotion. So, congrats to myself. Now, as with most people who have just heard that they have received a job promotion, I will take this opportunity to go celebrate. I’m heading off to a local dive they call “The Kitchen” and will be lifting a glass of chilled white wine or more probably some flat diet Coke, as “The Kitchen” is not always stocked with the appropriate cordials.

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