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For My Daughter, Atea: A Proclamation On the Night Before She Moves Away to College

 

I never really wanted kids. When other girls my age were playing house with their dollies, I’d shoved the doll my grandmother had sent me into the farthest corner of my closet. (Real talk: I couldn’t sleep unless the closet door was completely and totally shut.) I was terrified my punishment for imprisoning her was beheading by her razor-like finger. Simply put, I wasn’t traditional mother material. I was bossy, opinionated, and intent on getting things done, but never particularly nurturing. (Just ask my younger siblings.)

BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, I COULDN'T ACTUALLY IMAGINE MY LIFE WITHOUT KIDS.

Which explains why I waited until the last possible moment, and at 35, had my daughter Atea. She was perfect. By day seven, she was sleeping through the night—except for the week of colic where between 7 - 9pm only my friend Rick could stop her crying. She amazed other diners by happily sitting through French meals that lasted three hours (okay, I know...

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On Building a Backbone and Not Backing Down Ever, EVER Again

She folded in on herself in an instant, her legs tucking neatly under her body as her shoulders slumped. Her eyes shining bright with huge unshed tears, my beautiful friend Kate was crestfallen, her Princeton-educated brain fixated on the text that had just popped up on her cracked iPhone screen.

“SORRY, SOMETHING’S COME UP. I’LL CALL YOU LATER.”

Best friends since 10th grade, I couldn’t stop myself from interjecting. “Don’t you ever take another call from him,” I hissed, my eyes drifting of their own accord over to her grandmother’s lasagna baking in the oven. “It’s not his fault,” she said, like always. “He wanted to come but he’s so busy. There’s only so many hours in a day, y’know?” Kate was stunning, impossibly witty, a master of sports trivia…and reeeeeaaaally good at explaining away the bad behavior of every man she’d ever dated.

This wasn’t the first...

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Once Upon a Time I Accidentally Lost Four Hours of My Life & it Totally Changed My Business

It all started with a link on a client email, that led to a website, that led to a testimonial that led to a Facebook page, that led to a new marketing strategy, that led to a deep, resounding certainty that I had to completely change directions and run off to be a Russian ballerina or one of those women who swallow fire. (That’s still a thing, right? Imagine the heartburn.)

It’s basically what I’m famous for, my nature is to always look for better ways of doing things, every single time. (It kind of drives my husband crazy, to be honest.) So, after four hours of cramming my brain with every last iota of info about this new marketing idea that I was sure would catapult my business into a new stratosphere (!!!!), I realized that it was — after all — not actually a fit for my business in any way, shape, or form. I’d spent 4 hours studying everyone else’s business, but hadn’t actually done anything to move my own forward. I...

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For Lessons On Success, Add Will Smith, Football, a Teenager and Stir

Let’s be real. Will Smith is one of the most likable human beings in existence. (<–Not actually hyperbole.) In his movie, Concussion, he plays real life Bennett Omalu, a Nigerian born pathologist with no knowledge of football who fights the NFL after they try to discredit his research that repeated blows to the head ultimately leads to memory loss, dementia and ultimately death.

In the movie, Dr. Omalu amasses all the classic trappings of success: multiple degrees from prestigious universities, respect from the medical community, a black Mercedes and an impressive new home, nestled in an upscale suburb of Pittsburg and built for his beautiful, pregnant wife. Plot things happen, and before long, Dr. Omalu has lost his job, his child and his brand new house.

You see him leaving his beautiful new home in Philadelphia and arriving at a much smaller home in a lower middle class neighborhood where he accepts a job as a coroner in Lodi, California. Ultimately,...

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How Not To Raise a Teenage Brat: A Guide

I was newly pregnant with a baby girl, standing at a BabyGap check out counter. The saleswoman looked up at me, her thick acrylic nails toying with the ends of her permed, bleached hair.

“Oh, honey. You’ll have your hands full when she’s a teenager.”

“You think?” I responded, trying to force some semblance of easy, breezy nonchalance into my tone. (Even I know when it’s best to keep my mouth shut.) She gave me a knowing look, wrapping up the 3M-sized lime green fleece sweatsuit with its matching striped turtleneck and bomber hat. This would be my daughter’s first outfit. It was from the boy’s department.

Walking out of the store, bag in hand, I couldn’t help but shake my head. Contrary to her warning, I knewexactly how I would raise my girl, starting with challenging every gender stereotype I could find.

I WAS NOT GOING TO BE THE MOTHER OF A SELF-ABSORBED, EMOTIONAL, DRAMA-SEEKING, DISRESPECTFUL, MATH-HATING,...

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I Thought Parenting was My Life’s Purpose: I Was Wrong

My ambition is restless and my drive is relentless. There’s this need I’ve always had—a constant calling to do things differently than they’ve always been done, a calling to start something new. I’d already been an attorney, spending my days prosecuting Fortune 500 execs. I’d founded a luxury women’s wear company whose client list boasted the likes of Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom. I knew I couldn’t imagine my life without kids. (I mean, who else was going to take care of me in my twilight years? I say, mostly joking.) That said, I also knew if I had bionic eggs coated in teflon, I would’ve waited another ten years.

AND THEN I GOT PREGNANT.

After my daughter was born, I was stunned by how much I’d not only fallen in love with her, but with being a parent. Honestly, I’d never felt so alive, engaged, and connected before. I’d never been so purely, simply happy. At birthday parties and in line at...

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Your Life’s Purpose Called (Spoiler Alert: Lighten Up)

To be honest, I don’t remember his name, just the red Schwinn bike he’d ride in on, ditching it on the lawn, his eyes gleaming as he excitedly gushed about how much he Loved washing windows—with a capital L. My husband and I had just moved into our very first house, and my 26 year-old brain at the time couldn’t comprehend how anyone could possibly be that passionate and proud to be washing windows. (Looking back, I may have been holding my head a little too high for my own good.) But then I heard these three words:

FIND YOUR PURPOSE.

For decades, that tiny little sentiment has followed me around and whispered stressful little reminders in my ear. How would I ever find my one true purpose? The daunting and weighty gravity of the undertaking was so overwhelming that I spent what seemed like a generation (it kinda was), researching and planning. After all, what if I didn’t choose my purpose? What if I wasted my time working...

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