A few ways I am not going to be “that mom” this school year


As a former educator I should be my children’s teacher’s favorite parent. I should be the one to know about assignments before they happen, keep track of the teacher’s birthday, turn in permission slips on time and without jelly or coffee stains on them. But alas, I am every teacher’s not exactly nightmare, but just “that mom.” When they see my name I truly think they must roll their eyes, sigh audibly, and whisper “God love her.”

I am “that mom” that never quite has the calendar set, forgets about spirit days, doesn’t sign up in time to go on field trips, is usually running up a textbook or lunchbox that was left in my car, and is frantically searching for the lunch menu, assignment email, or sheepishly texting other moms at the last minute with those questions that make them wonder how God ever thought I could handle three children much less one.

I can’t promise that this year I will ever be the Pinterest mom who has it all together but I have made a few goal/resolutions/promises to hopefully help this school year go a little smoother.

  1. Schedules SchMEDjules. All three kids are at different school on different schedules. Our oldest will be a  freshman at Belmont University in Nashville. Middle Son is a sophomore at Francis Howell High, and Youngest Son is a 5th grader at Zion Lutheran. This year above any other year is going to be tricky keeping track of who needs to be where when. I have actually already recorded each of their school schedules on our shared family google calendar as well as written it down in my planner. I blocked out days on my work calendar where I am not available for travel to avoid being the mom that keeps missing important games and concerts. I DID THIS BEFORE SCHOOL STARTED FOR ANY OF THEM. Gold stars for sure.

2. We will have a homework station in the dining room. Try as I might none of my kids have really liked being confined to our office or their rooms to do homework or projects. To avoid the headache of papers being everywhere, needing that protractor one measly assignment I am setting up a homework station in our dining room where the work gets done anyway. Because we are family of Messies the station will not only have the usual graph paper, highlighters, notebook cards, red pens, but a small bottle of glass cleaner and paper towels to avoid the inevitable honey and jelly on a traditional Figgins’ Kid Homework.

3. Laundry Demons Be Gone. Emma will be on her own in managing laundry and clothes while at college. Sam is very neat and orderly when it comes to his laundry and knowing what clothes he needs when. Alex… well Alex doesn’t exactly value clean underwear everyday. I have the habit of disappearing into my closet on Sunday nights to pick out my outfits for the entire week. Alex is going to do the same. He attends private school so we have the sanity of a daily uniform but it still is a stupid mad dash almost everyday to find two sock and clean underwear. I bought Alex a hanging closet that has six compartment so he can load up each day of the week with a complete school uniform, sock, undies and any special clothing he needs on Sunday as well.

4. Our favorite subjects: Lunch And Recess. We are pretty big on nutrition and healthy eating and pretty low on school lunches. Because we all value sleep as well I have added to our shared family calendar nightly reminders to pack up lunches so we don’t have to get up early and rifle through the frig and pantry. Our Sunday discipline will now also include pre-packaging our veggies and fruits so those are easy to pull out too.

 

So there you have it. Not world changing but just a part of my identity I am tired of carrying around. What’s one way you are changing how you approach this school year? joe-shillington-240205

Photo by Joe Shillington on Unsplash

Still include in the better yet ideal return home


The ideal return Home

still includes someone’s eyes lighting up when you walk through the door

or better yet meeting you at your car door with an back breaking embrace already starting so you can’t begin to get out of the car

but not staring through you with resigned disappointment not seeing you as you come in.

It still includes knowing something of your current work or dream or project

or better yet bragging on your work to other family members and the unsuspecting neighbor passing by

but not nodding blank eyed with no recognition of who or what is important to you

It still includes being slightly embarressed of your buck tooth, four eyes 5th grade picture still up on the wall

or better yet displaying a montage of your kid’s photographs and accomplishments plastered on the fridge

but not having any recognizable part of your life on display

It still includes preparing a childhood soul-food

or better yet everyone sitting around the table reminicing about “the time when we made this dinner , and you remember when this happened, and we laughed…”

but not asking what meals you will be responsible for preparing while I visit

It still includes the obligatory visits to older family members

or better yet having an meaningful activity to do with the family members

but not rolling your eyes and visibly seething over difficult to love family members who go on and on about why you don’t bother to come see them anymore since their lives are miserable.

It still includes telling someone that you love them, and you are proud of them, and you miss them

or better yet showing someone that you love them, and you are proud of them. and you miss them

but not not telling someone that you love them, and not not telling them you are proud of them and not not telling them you miss them.

Still include love

or better yet grace

but at least one of these. 

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13daniel-von-appen-262818Photo by Daniel von Appen 

The Top 6 Things the Intrawebs Taught Me Today About Women In Leadership


I am not interested in the rest of the world realizing that the entire planet actually is run by women who do not have the actual titles or pay to back that up. If men are ever given the honor of carrying life I might change my mind. However, I am interested in many aspects of female leadership such as those situations that a woman is recognized as a leader, how women define success, how the world defines success for women, how women’s leadership styles differ from their male counterparts.

I enjoy looking up facts and searching for trends through articles and reports. Here is a very top level reflection of what the intrawebs showed me today concerning these topics.

*Forbes reported on March 7, 2016 that almost four in ten businesses in G7 countries have no women in senior management positions.

*In 1966 there were no female U.S. Senators as compared to the 60 women in office as of 2017 according to Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers University and U.S. House of Representatives.

*In the nonprofit sector, women are relatively well represented. They make up 75 percent of the nonprofit workforce but just 43 percent of the CEOs (Stillman, 2015) as reported in the AAUW report entitled Barrier and Bias: The Status of Women Leadership

*I recognized a little under half of Forbes list of  28 of the most powerful women in the world. 

*9 qualities that female leaders bring to the table are calmness, intuition, fairness, compassion, intelligence, flexibility, courage, confidence, and decisiveness

*Every list of the habits of highly successful women include writing down their goals. 

*According to a 2013 survey by Citi and LinkedIn  leading to a Report titled ‘Today’s Professional Woman Report’ when it comes to defining success, 96% of women think that they can have it all and from that percentage, 66% equate ‘having it all’ with being in a strong loving marriage. Women considered reaching the height of success in their field a factor in defining success while money ranked second in terms of how women define success. Further, 73% of women factor children into their definition of success. The number of women who say their definition of success is not linked to marriage or relationships has increased since 2012.

What facts surprised you? What are your thoughts or experiences in those situations that a woman is recognized as a leader, how women define success, how the world defines success for women, and how women’s leadership styles differ from their male counterparts?

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Photo by rawpixel.com

 

 

I don’t have anything innovative to say.


You may find yourself in a similar position as me. A cool thing has ended and you are waiting around for the next cool bus to jump on. Maybe it’s a project. Maybe it’s a job. Maybe it’s a calling. Maybe it’s just a feeling that something is coming down the line. I may not have anything innovative to say But I do just want to remind you of three things if you are in a holding pattern.

  1. Do something. Twiddling your thumbs may be all the energy you can pull up after this last phase of your life ended but do something. Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing you can do but don’t let that dictate your everyday existence. Do what only you can do. Write, call, create, organize, research use some brain cells during this waiting time. Learn a little something new.
  2. Don’t go to pot. Literally or figuratively. Take care of yourself. If something has ended in your life then something is definitely about to happen. We are always in preparation for the next stage. Do you need to rest more? Sit on the patio and read a book? Hold a baby? Drink more water? Eat pizza with friends? Take a social media break? Actually exercise? Cut out the sugar? Meditate? Pray? I know for me, the last few weeks have been re-connecting with friends and family to build an anchor for my soul. It’s also been important to move into disciplined and consistent exercise.
  3. Don’t beat yourself up. We have created a vicious un-loving culture centered around DOING rather than BEING. Just as you never what to get Number 2 confused with Number 1 in bathroom life Don’t get number 3 on this list confused with number 1. We have fallen for this trap that if we are doing something then we must have value. It has to be something big. Something important. Something highly instagrammable. If a season of your life has ended that took up much of your identity it is easy to fall into a pit of despair when “That Thing” is over. I know for myself I have had those stupid self-pity sessions starting with “I don’t have anything to offer that anyone would want anyway.” Thus, one of many reasons I have picked up my blog again.

There really is a time for everything. Time for waiting. Time for healing. Time for grieving. Time for dreaming. Use this time that you have to gear up for the next BIG Important Deal in your life! Let me know what’s working or not working for you.

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Photo by Qusai Akoud on Unsplash

 

11 ways I have to define myself right now.


By my choice, I am recently resigned and what I am calling retired. I am (quite painfully) trying to learn how to move through life through what feels like slow motion. Trying to figure out what the new priorities are, what needs to be on the to-do list, if there even needs to be a to-do list has me walking around my house in circles. Who am I? What am I suppose to be doing or not doing or waiting or preparing for are all questions that I keep tripping over. Do I enter stay at home mom hood again? Do I become a professional volunteer? Do I go back to school? Do I grow myself as a consultant? Do I wait for an invitation from…somewhere? I have been warned against my lists by a dear friend but I find the need to list the data and evidence I know I have right now.

  1. I must always start with who I am in Christ. Right now it feels a little like an awkward family reunion. I know I belong in this family but I have misplaced where I actually fall in the family tree. How am I related again?
  2. I am Robert Leroux Figgins wife of almost 25 years and he loves whatever version of me rolls out each year.
  3. I am the freakishly blessed mother of my reasons Emma Elaine, Samuel Hayden Escobar, and Alexander Hayden Escobar
  4. I love my church and student ministry
  5. I hope many people call me friend and understand I only need my tight circle of 4-5 dear friends.
  6. If the only thing I did in a day was read then it would be a very good day indeed.
  7. I find peace on water and in music.
  8. I am a frustrated messy who can’t stop buying clothes, shoes, or organizational gadgets.
  9. Health and fitness are critical to me most of the time.
  10. I love my house and the fact I want to change everything in it does not change that fact.
  11. I absolutely cannot stand to see people stuck in life by lies and misconceptions.

This is no where near comprehensive or complete or absolutely in order after the top 3 things but a just eleven things I know about who I am right now. I would love to hear how you define or how you have had to re-define yourself!

 

I can’t get those men out of my head.


I have been thinking a lot lately about the impact of positive early childhood experiences. Studies continue to show investing in early childhood significantly aids in reducing crime, raising earnings, and promoting education. Although not as deeply researched we do have evidence of the importance of raising children from pre-birth in a faith community to support their moral, ethical, decisions as well as rooting them in a positive self-identify. Preferably, every young child should have access to high caliber  early-learning experiences before kindergarten, despite the financial circumstances of that child’s family. Preschool can cost as much as $1,000 a month; sometimes it costs even more. In most states, daycare costs more on average than college . The high cost helps explain why more than half of the country’s 3- and 4-year-olds miss out on preschool. During the 2012-13 school year, only 28% of the country’s 4-year-olds were enrolled in state-funded pre-k programs, according to data from the National Institute for Early Education Research, or NIEER. As I sit in local Community Action Committees I hear no discussion of how to provide quality education programs for vulnerable groups such as homeless fragile families .

I recently toured the Missouri State Penitentiary. I witnessed many positive productive programs leading towards rehabilitation. I am haunted that the majority of those inmates will never be rehabilitated again for life outside those prison walls. I talked to 5 men, all convicted for violent crimes, all who live the reality that they can never make up for lost time from their victims or their families. I believe strongly in consequences for our behavior and do not doubt their punishments fit the crimes. However, what I can’t get out of my head is what intervention was needed not just 20 years ago when they committed their crime but 15 years before that when they were toddlers and preschoolers? What investment was made into their brain development, educational attainment, and social expectations? Long term studies show us the positive impact preschool and school readiness programs have on deterring adverse behaviors in drug and alcohol abuse which can eventually lead to prison.

And yet we can’t find the money to fund proven programs like Head Start and Parents As Teachers. These are the conclusions that my brain cannot accept especially when I cannot get those 5 inmates faces out of my heart.

I have no solutions other than supporting early child hood programs that are available to all through our schools and churches.

What are your thoughts? How do we fund this? Is this a priority for our children?

Happy Birfday Erica


In honor of Erica’s Birfday I am eating sub par Chinese buffet in DC by myself. I’m not sure why I keep trying Chinese buffets and tempting the fates but I do. I’m pretty sure Skrivan would let these people know buffet usually indicates warm and does not leave your guests wondering if the sushi is going to revisit your toilet a few hours from now. Time shall tell. Cheers to Scrivans and her Birfday!