The Red Hot Life

I was honored to be asked to guest post recently on my friend Rhonda’s blog, Bramell, Party of Five. Here’s a preview of the post…

There’s nothing quite like a birthday to help you take stock of your life.

Liz and Rick SpringfieldIn 2010, I turned 40. To mark that milestone, I did something I’d been wanting to do since I was 11: I signed up to meet Rick Springfield, my first love. It was amazing, and he was as cool in person as I thought he would be. The photo of us together can be described in one word: bliss. Well, that’s how I would describe how I felt at the time. He might remember it differently.

That day was really more than just a “girl meets her favorite rock star” moment. It was an epiphany. I had spent the five years leading up to it devoted to the needs of my family (like Rhonda, I’m a mom of twins) and to my job. I rarely took time for myself. I believe with all my heart that self-care is essential to surviving in this life, but I had been doing a lousy job of it. On that day, I did something for myself and it felt great.

Please head over to Rhonda’s blog to read the rest of the story and check out her blog while you’re there.

Me Time vs. The Meltdown

timeMe time, or as I call it, “Liz time.” Have I ever mentioned I’m a fan? Lately, I’ve been doing a better job making time for myself. Not everyone has been happy about that.

Case in point: I recently planned a last-minute night out with a friend. We had some good news to celebrate, so I quickly started calling around to find a sitter for my boys. Fortunately I was able to find someone on short notice, thanks to my growing list of sitters. (Can I just say, for those of you reading who have young children, that having people you trust to watch your kids occasionally is one of the keys to happy parenting?)

So when my boys came home from school that day, I told them that I would be going out for a few hours that night and a sitter was coming. My oldest son was not happy. Actually, he had a meltdown. He was mad that I was going out. He was mad that a sitter was coming. “I’m almost 9! I don’t need a babysitter,” he said. But if I was going out, he wanted to come too. He cried. He slammed his door. It was awful.

I tried to reason with him. I explained that grownups need to spend time with other grownups sometimes. I explained that he gets to see his friends during the day at school, but I don’t often see my friends during the day and that’s why I occasionally go out at night with them. I would have been better off talking to the wall because what I was selling, he wasn’t buying.

I began second-guessing my decision to go out and was *this* close to calling the whole night off. I asked myself, “What kind of mom leaves her kid at home beside himself because he wants her to stay home with him?”

I suppose it wouldn’t have been wrong if I had cancelled my plans, but I didn’t do it. Instead, I asked my son what we could do together to make up for the time I was going out without him. He said he wanted to go to his favorite pizza place. Twice. I’m not sure if that’s bribery or extortion, but I went along with it. And just like that, the meltdown was over.

That night, I went out with my friend and as usual, we had a great time. We celebrated, we talked, we laughed. We drank an amaretto something that came out of a glass skull decanter and used a smoking gun. It was great fun.

Now here’s the kicker. I got home that night to find three happy kids, who all got a great report from the sitter. After she left, my oldest son — the one who didn’t want the sitter, who had the meltdown, who I had almost cancelled my plans for — asked if the same sitter could come over the next time I went out. He had a great time while I was gone!

So here is the moral of this story: Make time for yourself and do what it is that helps you re-charge and feel alive. Don’t let other people tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t, whether they’re big people or little ones. I’m not saying every day or night or even every week. You know when you need it. Trust yourself, and never feel guilty about living a RED HOT life.

What do you think? Have you ever felt guilty making time for yourself?

If Wishes Were Fishes

It has been a ridiculously long time since I have written a blog post. Hopefully you’ve been following the Red Hot Facebook page — I’ve been a little more active there.

RS_BirchmereSo what have I been doing that’s kept me away from this blog? Honestly, not much. Well, I did see Rick Springfield. Twice, actually. Not just see — I got the Human Touch, including two hand squeezes in December at his solo Stripped Down show at The Birchmere, a great concert venue in Virginia that I’d always wanted to check out but never had.

What was cool about these two shows other than seeing RS was the company. In October, my sister and I went to Atlantic City for his full band show. It was my first time there, and honestly it was just OK – I’m not a big fan of the whole casino thing, I guess. But I did enjoy the road trip and time spent with my sister. We had never done anything like that before, but we’re both finally at a point in our lives where we can and it was great.

At the December show, I hung out with two fabulous women and fellow RS fans whom I had previously only known through Facebook. That’s us in the photo, with me on the left. They’re a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to see them again at future RS shows.

Those shows, plus a haircut and some infrequent but fun times with friends, are the highlights of my last three months. So as I was sitting down to write this post, I was a bit bummed because I had hoped to have more of an update on my latest Red Hot List — those things I decided to work on back in August 2013 to help overcome some of the challenges in my life right now. But when I looked at the list, I realized I had actually done a decent job. Here are a few examples:

  • Making “Liz time” a priority? Check. From the RS shows above to time spent with dear friends whose company I cherish, I’m doing OK.
  • Making my house more of a home? Getting there. I started with my bedroom and found some inexpensive and even free furnishings that make those four walls feel a little more cozy.

Granted, those are only two of the nine items, but progress is progress. Of course, I wish I was further along. And I still wish I felt less isolated in my new life. And I wish I didn’t spend so much time worrying about what the future holds…

Thanks to RS, my new mantra when I go down that road is “If Wishes Were Fishes.” It’s the title of a funny new song he debuted on his solo tour. One line: “If wishes were fishes, we’d all have something to eat, but we’d be sick of fish by the second week.” (Or something like that.) Wishes are easy and we all have them, but that’s all they are. The only way changes happen is when we make them happen. So I’m trying to re-focus, here in the new year and all, and get back to making those changes happen for me.

With best wishes for a RED HOT year …