Costco Fashionista (And Other Acts of Rebellion for Women)

I shop at Costco. And when I say I shop at Costco, I mean I do more than buy a ridiculous amount of food in equally ridiculous quantities.

(What does one even do with 60 lbs. of pork besides bury it? Because clearly, it’s an entire animal.)

I also buy gifts for every holiday, decor for my home, electronics, and random stuff I didn’t know I needed but totally did.

Like these magical hangers that keep my clothes from falling down onto the floor of my closet. (Perhaps they’re made of NASA anti-gravity material? Is that actually a thing?)

Or a squatty potty that enhances the ergonomic experience of pooping. (Yes, that actually is a thing. And I think NASA made it.)

The best finds, however, are in the clothing aisles. Because contrary to what most people think, Costco knows fashion.

And I delight in sharing this whenever someone says, “You look so cute! Where did you get that (insert Costco fashion item)?”

Because for me, buying my clothes at Costco is one of the most brilliant life hacks I’ve discovered to date.

It takes a little elbow grease to dig through the piles of clothes, and it doesn’t look quite as sassy-cute as something I’d find at Ann Taylor Loft, but it’s good enough.

And that’s what life hacks are all about. Good enough.

This is super-tricky for women because we aren’t taught to see “good enough” as, well, good enough.

We’re taught to strive for perfection. In everything we do, from the roles we fulfill (perfect mother) to how we look (perfect body) to what we wear (perfect outfit).

So for me, buying clothes from Costco – being a Costco Fashionista if you will – is my way of practicing good enough.

Of saying, “Screw you, perfection. I just got a bombass denim dress for $29.99 and that is good enough for me and anyone who sees me wear it.”

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Bomb. Ass.

Life hacks like buying clothes at Costco are tiny acts of rebellion. Brave choices you can take as a woman to liberate yourself from perfection. Which is really just a bunch of unrealistic expectations and outdated gender roles that come with being female.

I mean, have you ever met a man who struggles with perfection?

Me, neither.

Here are a few more life hacks/acts of rebellion for you to consider:

The Housing Cleaning Hack

If you can afford it, hire a house cleaner. And if you can’t, lower your standards. (Like to the floor where the dust bunnies live.)

And if you feel guilty about it, do the math. For women who work outside the home, you can calculate how much it actually costs you to clean your house.

Now add in the opportunity cost of not doing other things (like enjoying your life) and it turns out hiring a house cleaner is actually saving you money.

And for women who stay home with their kids, you more than anyone need and deserve a house cleaner. It’s all you can do to keep up with your children’s craft-art disasters and self-reproducing toy piles, let alone the dirt and grime that naturally accumulate in a house.

So stop cleaning your own house. Or stop doing it so well.

The Homemade Meal Hack

Did I mention that Costco also makes delicious meals that, when coupled with a fresh veggie or salad, make you feel like the most responsible wife and best mother ever?

Costco. It’s what’s for dinner.

Homemade meals are overrated. Just ask my kids who much prefer stuffed peppers with a side of broccoli to anything I could make for dinner.

The Good Parent Hack

Orchestra recitals, soccer practices, kids’ birthday parties, and swim meets fill up my children’s schedules and, by default, my own.

So I attend their activities but now, rather than covertly checking email or texting one of the other mothers, “OMG why didn’t I bring a flask?” I make sure to schedule phone dates with my girlfriends. My kid knows I’m there (good parent – check), and I am actually enjoying myself.

Sometimes I’ll talk for hours with my girlfriends, usually with a very important look on my face. Is she talking to the doctor? Someone at work? Arguing with her husband?

No one knows, and that’s the hack.

I realize this doesn’t make me sound like a perfect parent. And maybe that’s a good (enough) thing.

Life hacks are beautiful and courageous. So rather than feel guilty about not making a homemade meal or spending hours cleaning your house, feel awesome.

Pat yourself on the back for being brave.

For being good enough.

Sharing is caring. Send this to a girlfriend who is good enough. Or shops at Costco. She’ll thank you for it. 

Oh, and please help pick out next week’s topic! Survey below.

Bad*ssery @Work (Lesson One: It’s all hearts, rainbows & ninja swords)

Let me start off by saying we’re all badasses.

Whether you’re a woman who works outside the home, inside the home, or some combo of both, you are a badass. Whether you have kids or not, you are a badass.

Because total badassery is what it takes for a woman to make it in this world.

But today, I’m going to focus on women who work outside of the home, the majority of whom (70%) have kids and work full-time.

This does not mean they are more badassy than stay-at-home-moms or working women who don’t have kids. It just means they have different challenges that require different techniques in badassery, and that’s what I’ll be exploring today.

In my opinion, working women who have children deserve to wear a Badassery Badge wherever they go so people can be in awe of them.

Something like a “Girl-Scouts-Meets-Special-Forces” badge with hearts and rainbows and Ninja swords.

Because the world (especially the working world) is not set up for them to succeed. It’s not that the world doesn’t like them. Rather, it’s just the world doesn’t know them very well.

Men have been leading businesses, running our governments, and generally kicking ass for thousands of years. And as a result, men are killing it at work.

There are more CEO’s named “John” than all of the female CEO’s combined. The U.S. Congress is more than 80% male. And men are offered higher salaries than women for the same work.

I’m not sharing this to make you angry at men. I love men. I’m married to one. I gave birth to one. Most of my mentors have been men.

And all of them want me to set the world on fire even though it may not be in their best interest.

Rather, I’m telling you this so you will stop blaming/shaming/hating yourself when you find it so hard to keep your shit together.

It’s not your fault that maternity leave only lasts three months, which is just about the time you finally figure out how to take a shower again, and now you have to go back to work full-time.

It’s not your fault that crying at work is considered “too emotional” but raising your voice in anger is not (for men, anyway).

Or that you’re more likely to be asked to plan the office birthday parties than take on a new strategic initiative.

It’s not your fault.

There is nothing wrong with you, you are not inferior or less than. You’re just trying to make it in a world that was not designed for you.

And that’s why it’s so, so important that you stay in the game because even though it’s hard, we need you. All of us do.

We need you to create a world that actually works. For men and women.

What would such a world look like?

Let’s play pretend for a moment and visit that world. Put on your princess dress (or borrow one from your daughter), grab your magic fairy wand, and let’s go.

There’s an issue that strikes fear in the hearts of most working mothers. An issue that requires logistical skills on par with an air traffic controller and significant financial resources to solve.

That issue is after-school pick up.

A deceptively simple concept, after-school pick up takes place sometime between 3:28 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. at my child’s elementary school.

Do you know where I am between 3:28 p.m. and 3:45 p.m.?

At work.

Which creates a bit of a challenge for me. My options are to send my child home to an empty house (which is illegal), hire a babysitter for $15/hour (which is expensive), or quit my job (which is stupid).

If women were also leading businesses, running our governments, and generally kicking ass on a level equal to that of their male counterparts, this is how after-school pick up would go:

  • First, the bell would ring at 5:30 p.m. because last time I checked, a full working day is 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Dolly Parton even wrote a song about it. For the movie 9-5.)
  • Second, the children would have already completed their homework, eaten a healthy dinner, and attended their sports practices/music lessons/Yearbook meetings. (All of which would take place at the school because that’s efficient, and if women are anything, we are efficient.)
  • Third, there would be an onsite restaurant where we could pick up dinner for the rest of the family. (Or down a couple of glasses of wine before actually picking up our kids.)
  • And finally, all of this would be free. Because the PTA no longer plans bake sales but drafts federal legislation to increase funding for our schools. (And all of this legislation would pass because half of Congress would be female and our President would be a woman.)

Yes ladies, that’s what would happen.

So the very first lesson in Badassery @Work is to understand that the world is set up for men to succeed and, if we ever want to have our make believe/after-school-pick-up fantasies come true, we must bring our inner badass out into the world.

At home. At work. And everywhere in between.

What does that look like exactly?

It looks like speaking up in meetings like a badass. Supporting other women like a badass. Advocating for better parental leave policies like a badass. Believing in your self-worth like a badass. Raising your hand for a new project like a badass. Taking risks and failing like a badass. Delegating caregiving responsibilities like a badass. Negotiating for what you need like a badass. Saying “yes” before you feel 100% ready like a badass. Saying “no” to stuff that you don’t want to do like a badass. Questioning sexist assumptions like a badass. Giving up perfection like a badass. Asking for help like a badasss. Staying in the game like a badass.

And most of all, it means being brave. Like. A. Badass.

You know how you can start? Like right now? Email this post to a woman who needs it. Put it up on your Facebook page and own it. Text the link to your BFF and say, “Let’s do this.”

That’s your homework for lesson 1 in Badassery @Work.

Class dismissed.

If you’re still reading and want to hear more from me on this topic, send me your email address via the form below. I’m working on a new project – {Re}Finishing School for Brave Women – that’s designed for working women who want to set the world on fire. 

Yes, I would like to set the world on fire with you.

 

AND I would love your feedback on next week’s topic! Email me at kandaolmstead@gmail.com if you have a cool idea.

 

Masters in Bad*ssery (And Why Every Woman Needs One)

Lots of people get their MBA’s to learn how to run a business for profit.

The Masters in Badassery is similar. Only you substitute “run a business for profit” with “run your life for yourself.”

If the idea of running your life for yourself makes your heart pause because it sounds terrifyingly selfish, I totally get that.

For most women, even basic self-care (sleeping, eating, the occasional mani-pedi) feels like an indulgent self-centered luxury if not an outright act against God.

If the idea of running your life for yourself makes your heart pause because there’s no more room on your “To Do List” for you, I totally get that, too.

We have loooong “To Do Lists,” and most of them are other-centered. Adding ourselves may make it combust into flames.

But running your life for yourself is not about whether you’re at the top, middle or bottom of the “To Do List” (where we typically find ourselves). And it’s not about setting fire to the list. (Although wouldn’t that be nice.)

Everything on your “To Do List” – all of it – is your life. There is no magic fairy wand that will make those things go away. And whether you are at the top, middle or bottom isn’t the point.

Rather, it’s about how you “do” your “To Do List,” and by that, I mean instead of having the items on your list run your life, you run them. 

Like a badass.

Here’s how this might look.

Ever been invited to a neighborhood potluck? The one where everyone brings a homemade dish (if they’re a woman) or a bag of tortilla chips (if they’re a man)?

We have one every year in my neighborhood, and I bring a gorgeous fruit pie.

That someone else baked. Someone named Whole Foods.

I even put it on a plate and break the crust a little bit.

Bam. Done.

Total badassery.

Ever volunteer at your kid’s school? I used to do this every week, which was a complete nightmare.

The commute between my office and the school was double the amount of time I spent volunteering, my daughter sobbed hysterically when I said goodbye, and the kids were so snot-covered that I needed a hazmat  suit.

The ROI simply didn’t add up.

So now I volunteer to run the Halloween Party, and I do it in such an epic, badass way that I feel absolutely no pressure or guilt to do anything more for the entire year.

I bring in a smoke machine that makes all the kids super-excited (and wheezy because apparently it’s better suited for outdoor use or dance clubs).

I make a “witches brew” with floaty corpse hands and dry ice. (Cautionary note: Dry ice has been banned from most elementary schools because it burns through children’s esophaguses so you’ll have to sneak it in.)

And I roll in dressed up like Wonder Woman. Which makes me the most awesomest, coolest mom ever.

wonderwoman

Total badassery.

Running your life for yourself looks like figuring out ways to make your life work not just for everyone else, but for you.

Running your life for yourself is something women need to re-learn how to do. And I say re-learn because somewhere between our girlhood and now, we forget how to do this.

If you cannot imagine ever, ever living this way, let me re-introduce you to your twenty year-old self.

Because I bet that woman knew how to run her life for herself.

Granted, she didn’t have the same responsibilities and pressures and commitments that you have today. But she still had responsibilities, pressures, and commitments.

They were just different. (And less loud because they didn’t have mouths that talked, begged, or screamed.)

She didn’t succumb to the “right way” to do something because she either didn’t care or she didn’t know any better.

The first step in getting your Masters in Badassery is to remember your twenty year-old self. Like, really remember her.

What would she put on her “To Do List”? And how would she manage the stuff that’s on yours?

Here’s my list:

  1. Make dinner
  2. Attend service club meeting
  3. Buy birthday present for dog
  4. Go to 4th grade Back to School Night

Hmmmm…. What would my 20 year-old self do with that list?

  1. Make dinner  What’s cookin’ Whole Foods?
  2. Attend service club meeting after a glass of wine
  3. Buy birthday present for dog  Here’s an extra scoop of dog food
  4. Go to 4th grade Back to School Night (This stays on the list because how else am I gonna sign up to rock out the Halloween Party?)

Now it’s your turn. Lemme know how it goes.

Sharing is caring. Send this post to a badass girlfriend. She’ll thank you for it.

(Oh! And don’t forget to vote for next week’s topic! I’m posting every Friday now, and I love love love to get your input. Survey is below. xoxoako)