Being a Mom

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there.  I hope that this day finds you relaxing and taking a few moments for yourself.  My morning has started out wonderfully – sleeping in as much as possible (almost made 8am!), coffee in bed, time to write and my cute littles helping Jon with breakfast.  

I became a mom in 2009 when Katharine came into this world.  It seemed like a long time coming with a miscarriage along the way.  My mind was blown away by this little package of joy (and tears) that we had created.  Jon and I lived in Phoenix and brought this little bundle home to our small apartment, not knowing what we had gotten into.


Today, we are blessed with a caring, intelligent, strong, opinioned little 7 1/2 year old who is out to take on the world.  She makes me smile every day.  Posed below helping with Mother’s Day brunch preparation.  


Two years and 4 months later, our family became complete when Matthew was born.  By this time, we had settled back into Park City and I thought I had this mom thing down.  1 + 1 definitely equaled way more than 2.  Matthew was a calm little one, just rolling with it when his two year old sister gave him aggressive hugs and tried to “help.”

Matthew just turned five years old, and has fully lived up to his nickname (#shifty), so pictures of him not moving are hard to find.  He is one of the most kind, earnest kids I have ever met.  He loves life and makes us laugh daily.  I have never met a five year old who builds Legos like he can, and he still snuggles me every morning.  Posed below at his first ever t-ball game.  


Being a mother is more than I ever imagined.  It has challenged me to slow down and take it in, with the knowledge that these days won’t last forever.  Here are a few things that I have learned in the last seven years that in reflection have helped me to become a better person.  

  • Being a mom means being comfortable with constant change.  Early in Katharine’s life I remember thinking, I have finally figured this thing out (happened to be relative to her sleeping).  The next day maybe even the next hour, things changed.  Before kids, I thought I had life figured out.  I had a plan, and overall things seemed to go according to the plan.  Now, that just doesn’t work (it probably wasn’t working before either).  Having kids makes it incredibly obvious that you have to be flexible.  
  • Being a mom has helped me enjoy the journey so much more.  Often times before kids, I would set a goal and celebrate when I reached it.  Not a bad thing, but what I missed in that process was enjoying the actual journey.  With my kids, the journey is the fun.  Matthew is learning t-ball right now, and last week I went to his game and just giggled the whole time as they ran all over the field doing about everything but playing t-ball.  
  • Being a mom means you have to understand your values.  The clearer that I have been on what matters to me, what I value, the better I am for my kids.  One of the strongest examples of this for me has been with working out.  I have had an on and off love affair with fitness my entire life.  The last four years I have refocused myself on being strong and fit in order to live the healthiest life I can.  I value this and now so do my kids.
  • Being a mom means little eyes are always watching.  I want to role model for Katharine and Matthew that you can be a confident, smart, caring mom and worker at the same time.  I hope that this helps them to know that anything is possible. 
  • Being a mom is about helping my kids make their own dreams come true.  We talk about this a lot with together.  We can’t do it for them, it is about them identifying what their dreams are, working hard to make them happen and enjoying their own journey.  

I am humbled by how lucky I feel on this Mother’s Day.  Being a mom is the best.

Girls Weekend: The First of Many (Let’s Hope)

I am one lucky momma.  This weekend I had the luxury of taking Katharine (my now 5 3/4 year old – that 3/4 is very important to her) for her first girls weekend.  I was coming off a very busy week at work (fall budgeting, executive retreat in Southern Utah).  The prompting of the girls weekend location (Seattle) was because I had a business committment there on Friday morning.  A few weeks ago, as we were planning for this busy week, I was lamenting being gone out of town from Jon and the kids for 4 of the 5 weeknights.  So, we decided it was a great time for the first of what will hopefully be many girls weekends (and boys weekends with Matthew and Jon) so Katharine joined me on my business trip.  Given the Seattle destination (Hilary – my sister – and her family live there), it also gave us a great excuse to see them and let our three girls play together.

As the week progressed, and I arrived home from my first business trip to the Executive Retreat at 8pm on Wednesday night having worked about 40-45 hours in three days, I was lamenting leaving again on Thursday even though it was both a work and fun trip.  I was just tired.  I unpacked and repacked that evening, snuggled Matthew and crashed, trying to keep the faith that I could do it.

So, Thursday at work, Jon brought Katharine down to drop her off and we headed to the airport.  My energy had picked up, and seeing her excitement helped me over the hump to leave again.  The smile on her face when she come running into my office and how tightly she held my hand as we walked through the airport will be two memories that I will never forget.

image

After I got through my work commitment on Friday morning, I met Hilary and Katharine for a lunch date and we took on the town.  Katharine had three things on her list:  1)  Put her gum on the gum wall in Seattle; 2) See the fish fly at Pike’s Place Market; and 3) Get her nails done.  Despite only an afternoon, we did it. On my list:  A nap.  I didn’t get to mine, but the excitement of seeing Katharine take in the sites, sounds and smells of the city for the first time made it worth it.

image

image

As we bombed around Seattle, I got lots of “I love you” squeezes on my hand and heard a lot of singing out of Katharine (she sings when she is happy).  And, I forgot that I was tired.  Life is busy, and often times the whirwind makes me not live in each moment.  On what was my most tiring work weeks in awhile, I am so happy that I didn’t allow being tired to take away from this priceless time with my little one.  Cheers to many more girls weekends little K.

Commitments: Drive (Live) at a Safe and Healthy Speed

Life moves at a constant 80 mph in my world.  Occasionally, I ramp to 110 mph for a two to three day period (like the last week).  Sometimes, if I am lucky, there is a deceleration to 65, but it is for certain a temporary slowing just to get around an obstacle.  As soon as I clear the obstacle, back on the accelerator to get up to driving 80 in a 65 mph speed limit zone.

images

I am always keeping tabs on just how much faster I can go than the speed limit before I get a speeding ticket.  In my almost 39 years of life, and 23 years of driving it seems like 10 mph over the limit is an easy “no ticket”, I think of it as a safe 75 mph.  When I drive by a sitting police officer on the highway at 80 mph, I am wondering, “will he pull out and ticket me” or “did I make it through this time.”

As I sit here today, after running at about 90-110 mph all week with work and life both on overdrive, I think of the irony of this analogy.  Maybe instead of worrying about whether I am going to get a speeding ticket, I should be thinking about what speed to drive (live) and not as much about whether “I made it through this time.”

Deep thoughts always lead to a commitment post.  Today, I am committing to choosing a more healthy speed for my life and not just letting life keep pushing the accelerator down for me.

Taking Pride in the Journey

K2_Nordseite

A few weeks ago, I heard Chris Warner speak.  Chris is one of America’s most renowned mountaineers having summited five of the worlds’ tallest peaks including both Everest and K2.  He also is an entrepreneur (the founder and President of Earth Treks, Inc.), publisher and speaker sharing the lessons that he has learned on leadership through his many expeditions.  In 2007, he led the Shared Summits expedition successfully summiting K2 and proceeded to produce an Emmy award-winning film about the expedition.

His message in his talk was a good one.  He spoke in reference to his journey to the top of K2. Other athletes on other teams abandoned some of their friends, didn’t help others succeed and even stole equipment from his team. Alternatively, his team’s approach was different. They helped others to succeed and stay safe. Some of these choices to help others along the way caused additional hardship to Chris’s team. But, in the end, they completed a successful climb that they are proud of until this day.  My favorite quotation was:

Don’t get to the top of the peak you are climbing and not be proud of the way that you got there. – Chris Warner

There are a few reasons why this resonated with me so much:

  1. Often times as a goal-oriented person, it can be easy to see my individual choices and actions as a means to achieve the end goal.  Instead, what I constantly have to remind myself is that the journey is what I will remember and learn from. It is what builds my life. Without remembering this, I can get too focused on the end and not enjoy the process of getting there.
  2. My gut instinct is so often right.  In my life, there have been moments where I didn’t feel good about a decision I made.  My gut often times was telling me in the moment to make a different decision, or to reverse my course.  Sometimes I listened, sometimes I didn’t. Luckily, these decisions were small and time passed with no consequence.  However, despite the lack of consequence, I have regretted not trusting my instinct and reversing my course if for nothing but the knowledge that it would’ve been the right thing to do.
  3. I only have one life to live.  How I live this life, or in Chris’s case how he climbed K2, is the ultimate reflection of my character. I try my hardest to do what is right at every turn, to make choices that I would be proud of my children knowing that I made.

Commitments: Make The Next Half Even Better (and Longer)

image

I am 38 years old with two adorable kids and a wonderful husband.  2 working parents with travel schedules, building a new house, trying to be involved in our community, and trying to be great parents.  Living life in a place I love, with the people that I love.  Pretty much the luckiest woman around.  You could also read this as overly busy but trying to have it all.

For the last few weeks, as I have been working on planning for my husbands 40th birthday which is coming this fall, I have been coming to grips with how short life seems.  I know that this may sound melodramatic.  What hit me in talking with Jon about turning 40, is that mathmatically, given the average life expectancy, we are about half way through our life (or a little past that).  This can either scare me or make me celebrate what lies ahead.  What it actually has caused me to do, as I start thinking about it, is to wonder if it is true.  We have a number of family friends or relatives that are dealing with serious cancer, and I have a coworker who is 48 who has recently been diagnosed with Stage 2 ovarian cancer.  All of it is shocking, and sad.  In particular those who are so young, and haven’t lived the life that they have claimed to have wanted.  It is a morbid thought, but my worry-meter has been rising.  This worry was capped off this week when I attended the “Go Red for Women” luncheon hosted by the American Heart Association.  One of the speakers was a 38 year old mother of two boys who had a major heart incident at the age of 31.  Yikes!  A little too close to home.

But, the worst thing I can do is to worry.  Worry fills my head and my time with ideas and thoughts that have no fruit. So yesterday, as I sat writing this at the salon while getting my nails done during “girls day out” with my lovely Katharine, I have a renewed commitment to enjoying the moments of my life (even the stressful and busy ones).  A commitment to making choices in my life and our families life (our food, our exercise, our habits) that create a long healthy life together.  And, a commitment to make what I hope is a longer second half of my life even better than the first.

Being Grateful: Celebrate the Moments

Sometimes during the tantrums, the sibling fights over toys, and during the crazy schedule I try to run, I can forget the joy of what I have in front of me.  This weekend when we were out to brunch with Matthew, I captured Matthew at his finest.  He is kind, energetic, inquisitive (what’s that mom?), and loving.  His eyes tell stories and he makes me smile.

IMG_0178

This last week at work I had the opportunity to hear Chris Williams speak of his personal story of letting go.  He lost his wife and two children to a drunk driving accident almost ten years ago.  He spoke of forgiveness and moving forward with his life.  It was an unforgettable moment for me to listen to his story.  His humbleness, quiet power and gratefulness for the life he has lived helped me to take a deep breath.   How many times do I harbor anger for something that has happened to me?  How many times have I carried this frustration throughout my days, letting it inadvertently control me?  Chris framed forgiveness as a selfish act, saying that the act of letting go helped him to move forward.  Wow.  What a powerful thing to remember when things don’t go as I want them to go.  Here is to hoping that I never have to face something as tragic as Chris to learn this.

For now, I am grateful for the moments.  This weekend we enjoyed so much fun together…skiing together, playing pretend together, building castles and jails for Matthew’s infamous “mean guy” together, and snuggling as a family of four squeezed into our queen-sized bed.  Sometimes life seems hard, sometimes I have no energy, but always I feel lucky.  Lucky to have this little Matthew in my life, lucky that Katharine is his big sister, and incredibly blessed to have Jon to share it with me.

Commitments: Help Utah Female Professionals Succeed

campus-fall-1

Recently, my friend pointed me toward an article in the recent Utah Business magazine that gave the facts on the employment of women and men in Utah and their current wages.  The data was sourced to the U.S. Census Bureau 2008 – 2012 American Community Survey.  And, it made me sad.  Out of just over 1.2 million employed, civilian workers females made up 44.4% of the workforce and earned a median $20,053 per year (compared to males at $39,880).

In doing some follow up research, I got a lot more sad at the current state of affairs in Utah for female professionals.  It ultimately makes me worried for my daughter, wanting to figure out a way to help her lean to navigate the workforce reality.  USA Today stated in a recent article that Utah is the #1 worst state for women.  The methodology for their rating looks at wage gap, women in private company leadership, women in state legislature, poverty rate and infant mortality rate.  The article even noted that in Utah, women are holding less than 1 in 3 management positions.

I have been a resident of Utah for about 10 of the last 13 years.  I never thought I would live in Utah.  I met Jon at a wedding in Ohio, and I vividly remember him telling me he lived in Utah.  Utah?  I knew California, Las Vegas, Yellowstone and the Colorado rockies, but Utah?  Weren’t people from Utah either Mormon or ski bums?  Jon didn’t seem like either when I met him, so I went with it.  I was simply a love-struck 20 something, wondering more about where our next date weekend would be than the state of the workforce for female professionals.  I ultimately moved here, have fallen in love with the place, and have led about half of my 16 year career in the state.

Now, I consider myself a Utah local, a professional woman, and one of the apparently few female company executives in the state. I sit here thinking about how my role as a female executive can help drive change.  It is ironic to think this way, because I rarely, if ever, think about being a woman at work.  Over the years, I have come to work, tried my hardest to succeed every day, looked for opportunities to stretch myself, learned a lot, and ultimately tried not to take no for an answer.  By not defining myself using my gender, I have never seen professional boundaries.  This boundary-less world view has by its definition opened up my eyes to opportunities that I would otherwise never have seen.

I want to help, and take a purposeful role in making the future better in Utah for women.  But, I feel stuck.  Due to the fact that I am a working mother of two, and have the job that I have, I have little time to give to anything beyond my family and my job.  I feel guilty and sad to see this state of affairs and not be able to give more to help change it.  That said, this reality I live in of having to forcefully prioritize the time that I have, has been one of the things that has made me successful over the years.  So, my game plan is to help in the way my schedule and life allow.  I figured writing down a few commitments would help me to remember to stay accountable.

  • Raising strong-willed, independent children with Jon who see professional women as the norm;
  • Helping people in my team succeed as female professionals (in particular working moms);
  • Continue building a culture at CHG Healthcare where it is possible to be a successful working mom and a working dad;
  • Mentor people whenever I can find a spare moment helping to guide them through the choices that they need to make;
  • And, most importantly, never give up on my own dreams.  Shape them to be what I want them to be, not what others think is the right answer.

A short but important list that will hopefully help make a difference.

Taking the Downside Out of Determination

Never give up

The other day when Katharine was working on a puzzle she leaned over to me and said, “Mom, this is a hard one.” She continued to stay determined to accomplish the puzzle as a good Stock/Snavely would. A few minutes later…”Mom, we never give up do we?”  Proud mommy moment.  She knew it was hard, but was willing to put the effort in to learn and accomplish what she set out to do.  Jon and I pride ourselves in building a life based on working hard and not giving up on our goals.  This moment of hearing her echo our behavior in her words helped me to appreciate how early we either learn or don’t learn this in our lives.

Then, I start to freak out.  Am I being too ambitious as a parent?  All I want to do is to teach our kids that they are in control of their lives.  I hope for their ability to be determined, positive and committed to what they want in their lives.  I hope that they can solve the problems that they encounter.  I also want them to know that trying is all we ask of them, not necessarily succeeding and delivering a perfect outcome.

As I reflect on what made me a “never give up” person, I do worry about the downside of being determined.  Much of my determination came from a desire to be perfect.  This desire to be perfect, whether it was because I wanted to please others or just for myself, often times turned my determination into stress.  Today, this drive for perfection has diminished a great deal – mostly due to the fact that I know it isn’t possible.  That said, the perfectionist behavior rears its ugly head frequently.  When it does, I generally try to turn the perfectionist behavior into the problem and work to channel my “never give up” skills into solving that problem.

So, although I am proud of what Katharine (and Matthew) are learning, I certainly hope their journey as determined kiddos and ultimately adults is also met with an acceptance and enjoyment of the moments in which they live.  For them to learn this, Jon and I have to show them it is possible.  Whether it be taking a random afternoon nap, having an evening dance party together, playing hooky from school every so often, or just reading a book on a snowy weekend morning, I am going to teach them through how I live how having the determination to meet your goals and living in the moment are not opposites of each other.

Commitments: Enjoy What I Have

image

Had a wonderful weekend with just our family.  I realize sitting here on Sunday night that we had literally no plans this weekend other than Katharine’s soccer game which was ultimately cancelled due to rain.  I can’t remember the last time our weekend was so unplanned.  And, it was wonderful.  Just a few days of enjoying what I have and feeling lucky.  So, a commitment for this evening….keep enjoying.

Gaining Perspective

Does everything need to have a goal, a purpose, a schedule or a way it “should” happen? I would love to say it doesn’t in my life, but it wouldn’t be true.  It seems that in order to accomplish everything that I do these days, everything is scheduled and analyzed. Starting at 6am with a workout through 9pm once two kids are in bed, there is a purpose and schedule for almost every minute of my life.  After 9pm, I try to catch up on everything that didn’t meet the daytime cut which can include chilling with Jon, reading a book, blogging, cleaning up email from work, or just brainless television.  Occasionally, a girls night trumps the evening routine.

This last weekend started with me leaving work at noon on Friday – a rare treat.   Jon and I had scheduled an anniversary two night getaway at the Montage in Deer Valley Friday and Saturday night.  So, I drove up from work and we had a late lunch.  Before departing for Deer Valley, I decided to squeeze in my workout since I had missed it Friday morning.  So, I took off from our house on my mountain bike with a plan and a schedule.  I had to be back within an hour so we could take off for our relaxing weekend.  Mid-trail ride, while I stressed about the pace I was on, and whether I would make it back by our scheduled departure time while getting an adequate workout in, I stopped and took the picture above….and took a deep breath.

image

Who was I racing?  Why did I feel like I had a scheduled departure time for our “relaxing” staycation that had no start time?  Why did I feel like if I didn’t ride the trail I set out to ride, I wasn’t getting “enough” exercise?  Wow.  Perspective needed.

It all worked out.  I took a left-turn on my ride, where I was supposed to go straight.  I looked up while I was riding my bike and took in the early fall leaves instead of focusing on my handlebars.  Ultimately, I went “late” to my relaxing anniversary weekend and everything was fine.  My daily reality is that I put undue stress and pressure on myself because I think the only way to accomplish my schedule is through perfection.  Not true.  Releasing the pressure made me enjoy things more.

Tonight I am as relaxed as I have been in a long time.  After living through a weekend with no schedule and a lot of fun, I have realized I need to let go more.  I need to live with less rules, and less expectations of myself.  From here, my challenge is to continue this perspective by trying my best not to have a schedule that makes me lose this perspective.