Olympic gold medalist Jennie Finch is a former pro softball player, a Hershey’s Good Life Guru and a married mom of two sons, Ace and Diesel, with a baby girl on the way. I chatted with Jennie about her life as a working mom; marriage, travel, fitness and those sleepless nights.
When you first became a mom, you took your newborn son on an 18 day Beijing tour with you. How did it work?
JF: My husband (Former Major League Baseball player Casey Daigle) played baseball and I played softball. Baseball is more hectic so my son came with me. He had a passport and went to China and Japan. It worked out so great because he ended up getting 14 of my teammates as aunts to him. It wasn’t all easy, though. My mom, Ace and I all stayed in the same hotel room. My mom would get the bottle in middle of the night and she would either feed him or I would get up and feed him. I knew I was doing double duty but I couldn’t imagine leaving him for 18 days at that time.
How did you perform on the field after a sleepless night with your kids?
JF: You get over the mental block. You convince yourself that you can do anything. It is one pitch at a time, one inning at a time. I can’t tell you how many times I have looked at my week and cried…but I think, one pitch at a time.
What did you learn on the softball field that you apply to parenting?
JF: You get what you put into it. The sacrifice, the discipline, the selflesslessness of being on a team. Being able to push your body beyond the boundaries of what you think you can do. My husband will say “I can’t, I am sleepless.” And I will say, “Don’t say that. Say you can do it and you will be able to.”
When you and your husband are both at home, how do you divide responsibilities?
JF: I am blessed to have a supportive husband. We pick up each other’s slack and it is a lot of teamwork. He does a lot of heating the bottles and I do a lot of the feeding. I travel a lot so when I am not there he does a lot himself and when I am there I do a lot of it. I couldn’t imagine doing it by myself.
What were your own parents like when you were a kid?
JF: They were my number one supporters. It was all about ‘If you work hard enough, you can achieve. You have to be the best that you can be. You can’t compare yourself to others.’
How do you use your time at night once your kids are asleep?
JF: I load the laundry, unload the dishwasher and catch up on things. I do emails and then after that it is relaxing together with my husband.
How do you avoid mommy guilt?
JF: If I was on the field, I knew how much I had sacrificed to be there so I gave it everything I have. When I am at home I try to give 110% to my kids.
How do you handle youth sports with your kids?
JF: It has been quite an experience. For Casey and I, we are discovering ourselves. At one game after listening to Casey yelling nonstop through flag football to, “Find the receiver,” I went over to him and said “I don’t think he (6yo son, Ace) knows what the receiver is.” We don’t want to be that overbearing parent but we sometimes find ourselves there. But if they are being active and having fun then we have all won. I could care less what happens on the field. If he comes off smiling, it is a victory for us all.
What is your post baby workout routine?
JF: With Ace I had to be back on the field six weeks after I gave birth for a tryout. With Diesel I was just retired but I had the New York City marathon three or four months after. My cardio these days is jumping on the trampoline. Anything where I can involve my kids.
What is your breakfast of Champions?
JF: To each their own. But for me it is Chobani Greek yogurt, granola and fresh berries.
You have a baby girl on the way. What advice will you give her?
JF: Do what you love. We all have a passion within us and it is a matter of finding that passion.
As working moms, we have some unavoidable time constraints which can lead to extreme performance pressure. How we behave at the office can make a world of difference to our success:
1. Limit the Family Photos
Having more than two photos on your desk makes people think that you would rather be somewhere else. (Double standard alert – for men, family photos have the opposite effect.)
2. Don’t Complain About Your Personal Life
Nobody at work needs to hear about your child’s stomachache, the babysitter who called in sick or the play date gone awry. Save it for close friends and make sure the rare personal phone calls are kept at a low volume. When colleagues ask about your family, keep it light and feel free to tell a funny story.
3. Maintain a Neat Desk
People are stereotyping about how busy your life is so don’t give them a visual reason to assume you can’t handle it all.
4. Be a Self-Promoter
When you or a member of your team succeeds, make sure people know. You aren’t going to win the hours game but you can ace the results game.
5. Make Work Friends
Take the time to create and maintain these friendships. They play a dual role of fulfilling you socially and being your eyes and ears within the company.
6. Attend the Office Party
More happens at office social events than we realize. To maintain your relevance and status within the company, treat work social events as anything but optional.
7. Opt Out of Office Gossip
It is a high stakes game and you have too much on the line. Just don’t do it.
8. Maintain a Structured Schedule
Have a consistent in and out time each day. If you aim to leave work by 5:20 and colleagues know that, they are less apt to schedule a 5pm meeting.
9. Network Outside of Your Company
You need to play long ball which means that networking should be a priority. Those industry contacts can be pivotal to your future career security.
by Samantha Ettus
More than 20 years ago, American Airlines saved $40,000 by removing just one olive from each salad tray in First class. This fun fact translates to your life where the smallest lifestyle changes can yield the most dramatic gains. Here are 10 ways to steal more time from your own life:
1. Organize Masterfully
Triathletes win and lose races in the transitions. Make sure your “supplies’ are in the right places. Every member of your family needs her own equivalent of the cubby and her backpack, lunchbox, homework, and shoes all needs to live there.
2. Outsource – to Your Kids
Figure out the age appropriate activities that your kids can do on their own. Get dressed? Pour cereal? Even put him in charge of managing the schedule. An added bonus is that you are helping him towards independence at the same time. More on Forbes…
by Samantha Ettus
Whether you are in a brainstorming rut or feel too exhausted to muster up a germ of imagination, here are five action-oriented steps to propel you to the creativity big leagues:
1. Take a New Route To and From Work
Inventor Scott A. Jones explains, “Doing something different every day gets you in the habit of stretching your behaviors and keeps your brain from…making mind-confining assumptions about how things are supposed to be done.”
2. Give Your Brain a Newton Moment
It is a simple equation: if you have no time to think, there will be no new ideas. Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity while sitting under an apple tree. Albert Einstein came up with the theory of relativity while riding a bicycle. Take some time away from your desk to think. It could be in the car (with music off) or on a walk outside with your child, but make it happen daily. More on Forbes…
by Samantha Ettus
Fresh from landing on The New York Times Best Seller list, I interviewed Alicia Ybarbo and Mary Ann Zoellner, two of the four authors of the new humor book rocking the mommy world one laugh at a time. Alicia and Mary Ann are Sh*tty Moms by night and TODAY Show producers by day.
Describe a Sh*tty Mom.
Mary Ann: It’s mothering with 40 percent of the effort. It is a Mom who tries her best but manages to still mess up most of the time.
Alicia: We’re all Sh*tty Moms at one point or another. From dropping a ball at work, at home, or both, sometimes you just can’t win at being mom.
Can you be a great mom and a Sh*tty Mom?
Mary Ann: Of course! Most Sh*tty Moms are more on Forbes…
by Samantha Ettus
I recently made a fly-by at a holiday party where I was introduced to a vibrant entrepreneur. In our 15 minute conversation we exchanged a lot of information, a blend of personal and professional. Within two weeks, I set him up on two dates and he set me up with two terrific business contacts. It was the perfect exchange.
Many people, women especially, think of networking as a dirty word. We recoil at the term “network” even if we are already helping people on a daily basis. Yet “networking” is just a business term for “helping with a purpose.” It will add to your value as a professional, a person, and a friend.
You are a networker if you:
1. Set friends up on blind dates (There is a high correlation between people who make professional introductions and those who make personal ones)
2. Regularly introduce friends who don’t know one another. More on Forbes…
by Samantha Ettus
Public speaking is an essential skill — not just for CEOs and Oscar winners — but for each and every one of us. Whether you are asked to give a toast at a wedding, say a few words at a birthday dinner, nail a sales presentation, or speak to the student body, might as well shoot for the stars.
Here are 21 steps to mastery:
1. Dress to Stand Out
When spotted in the crowd, don’t blend in. Be a touch dressier than the audience and wear a bright color or at least a bold accessory.
2. Be Aware of Your Body
Stand tall with your shoulders back, unclench your fists and take a deep breath. Great posture more on Forbes…