I had an epiphany last night while watching Chelsea Clinton deliver a heartfelt introductory speech about her mom, Hillary Rodham Clinton. As the child of a working mother who took on various roles in her career since the time I was five until adulthood, I started to think about Chelsea's personal stories about her mother and how they seemed to parallel my experiences with my own mom. While my mom never logged close to a million miles as Secretary of State, she did accomplish some amazing things in her career as an educator. If you're the daughter of a working mom, I bet you'll see some similarities too. For now, here's mine...
10 REASONS WHY I SEE MY MOM IN HILLARY CLINTON
1. THEY BOTH WROTE US NOTES
My mom used to write notes for me every day and put them in my lunch bag. She used to start each one: To My Favorite Daughter (I'm her only daughter).
Hillary used to write notes to Chelsea every time she went out of town and dated each of them so that she had a note to read for as long as her mom was away.
2. THEY BOTH HAVE THE SAME HAIRSTYLE
For as long as I can remember, my mom has always had a short haircut and wears it pretty much like Hillary. She's not a blonde though -- except when she gets highlights!
3. THEIR HUSBANDS ARE GREAT TALKERS
While my mom has always been the person who can get any job done, she's also kind of shy and doesn't really like speaking in front of crowds. That's because my dad has been the one who is always larger than life. He still performs to this day with his theater troupe in Florida and is an amazing speaker. Mom on the other hand works behind the scenes (she's the wardrobe dresser for my dad's show). But the one thing about my mom is that while she doesn't like to be the center of attention, her reputation and work ethic is second to none.
4. THEY HAVE BOTH LOST BIG JOBS AFTER A HARD FOUGHT CAMPAIGN
While my mom didn't run for President, she did run for Superintendent of her school district. Sadly, she didn't get the job because the heavily political school board decided to select someone else who wasn't as qualified but promised to do the things they wanted throughout the school year.
5. THEY ARE AMAZING PROBLEM SOLVERS
Back when my mom was at the top of her game, you could throw anything at her and she'd get the job done. When I was growing up, my mom always seemed to continually be promoted on the job - she was the person people looked to for answers and guidance and became one of the most well respected educators in her school district.
6. THEY DON'T HAVE TIME FOR B.S.
Throughout my mom's life, she was always known as a super nice person and sometimes people took advantage of her good nature. As she got older, she got stronger and oftentimes if someone pissed her off, she took them to task for it or froze them out for a long time. The ones who were frozen out of her life truly regretted it and oftentimes came back apologizing for being so stupid. That's the thing about pissing off a good person. They may forgive you, but they never forget.
7. THEY HAVE DAUGHTERS WHO GREW UP THINKING ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE
While Chelsea is now a mom of two and is overseeing the Clinton Foundation, I am a mom of two overseeing a PR and social media business. I'm also married to a guy who had a career in finance (hedge funds to be exact) but left to pursue his love of kids sports. You never know, Chelsea's hubby could ditch the hedge fund trade one day too to pursue a passion he had as a kid. Either way, our values completely align when it comes to valuing the importance of helping working moms balance their home life with their careers.
8. THEY HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR A VERY VERY LONG TIME
Luckily, my mom hasn't had to deal with a husband who has made many mistakes with women over the years. The only women my dad plays with are the ones on the tennis court. Other than that, he's been a one woman man for over 52 years. Sure my mom and dad fight a lot but at the heart of it, they are each other's cheerleaders and are both so proud of one other when they both achieve great things in their lives both personally and professionally.
9. THEY ARE BOTH THE PRODUCT OF STRONG MOTHERS
Hillary's mom was abandoned at a young age and started working at 14 years old. My grandmother came from a very large family and oftentimes became the caregiver to her younger siblings. Like Dorothy Rodham, my grandmother was fearless -- she chased mice from our summer house in the Poconos and even bludgeoned a fish to death that I had caught from a nearby lake. Grandma also stressed the importance of getting a job to help support your family. And she made a mean matzoh ball soup but I guess that's where the similarities fade. :)
10. THEY BOTH GAVE COMMENCEMENT SPEECHES AT THEIR SCHOOLS
While Hillary gave a commencement address at Wellesley, my mom was the valedictorian of who gave the commencement address at Thomas Jefferson High School before she went on to pursue a degree in education at Brooklyn College. The funny thing is, my mom actually wanted to become a lawyer but went into education because at the time, that's what most young women did. Something tells me that had she pursued the law, she would have been a kick ass attorney.
At the heart of it, as the daughter of a working mom, I am so proud of everything my mom accomplished in her career and am sure that Chelsea felt the same way last night as she spoke about Hillary's passion for service and for making the world a better place for our sons, daughters and grandchildren.
You see, you really can have it all. You can even raise daughters who look up to you and inspire their own children to pursue their dreams.
The last year and change has been quite challenging to say the least. You see, this is the crucial year where our daughter has embarked on her college search. The process, if you are new to this game, is daunting to say the least but it doesn't have to be. As long as you have the tools to help your child succeed, find scholarships and help prepare them for standardized tests that could potentially help them earn merit money towards their dream school, as a parent, you can help be their guide as they navigate this exciting journey in their lives.
If you're just starting the process, here are 10 tips you might want to keep in mind while you are helping your child on their search:
1. Make sure you are signed up for Naviance at their school. Typically, their guidance counselor meets with them to show them how to navigate the site but the best part about it is that as parents, you can be a part of the process and help identify schools that might be of interest to your child. Naviance also shows you whether your child's grades and standardized test scores will earn them entry into the school or if it's a reach. There's a treasure trove of great information on Naviance and frankly, I'm obsessed with it more than my daughter is!
2. Order US News & World Report Guide to Colleges and sign up for their online service as well. If you haven't yet been admitted to Naviance, this is the next best thing. It also gives you breakdowns of schools that match your child's interests and academic achievements. Plus it connects you to the college websites and you can easily navigate your way around the site to find a wealth of information.
3. Sign your child up for an SAT or ACT prep class in the summer. When they aren't distracted by other classes, the summer is the perfect time to get your child test ready. Our daughter took her first class in the fall and winter months and took the brand new SAT in March and performed very well. She's taking it one more time in October and currently has a class every weekend and once during the week to keep her test skills sharp when it's time to take the SAT. If you are in the New York area, we used Test Takers but you can even use an online service like Varsity Tutors if you are not in our area but want access to great tutors who can help with ACT and SAT prep.
4. Start searching for Scholarships! Visit Scholly.com to search for potential scholarships that can help subsidize your child's college education. With costs skyrocketing, this is a great site that matches your child's academic interests and talents with potential scholarships that they can sign up for.
5. Make sure your child is active in extracurricular activities. Whether they are an athlete, an artist or they are a star on the debate team, your child doesn't have to do a ton of things to make them stand out, but they should be doing at least one thing that sets them apart or shows their leadership abilities.
6. Sign up for FAFSA -- Need financial aid or want to see if you qualify? Then make sure you sign up for FAFSA so that when the time comes, your child qualifies for funds that will help support their education.
7. Get your child a Upromise credit card from Master Card. This is a great way for your child to pay for school supplies and pay down student loans at the same time. It's a rewards card that truly helps a student while they are pursuing their education.
8. Be smart about scheduling college tours. If you want to see a specific school, like an art school or science program, make sure you schedule your tour on a weekday so that you can see it when it is open. Weekend tours while they are convenient oftentimes don't give you the true flavor for what the school is about or whether the school has what your child is looking for.
9. Don't travel all over the country looking at colleges! Wait until your child is accepted into a school that's a plane ride away before wasting money on a trip to visit their dream school. What's the point of visiting if you don't get accepted? If you are vacationing near a school they are interested in, then definitely go and visit but don't go out of your way until they receive a large envelope in the mail.
10. Find out which schools offer merit scholarships. Essaywise is a fantastic site offering great advice to parents in the thick of the college search. In fact, while perusing the site, I found this amazing article about 40 schools that offer scholarships based on merit. Luckily, my daughter's dream school is on the list so here's hoping she gets in and gets some money to help offset the cost of out of state tuition too!
When it comes to working out, I have to say, I absolutely dread it. So when I just got a sneak peak of the June 24 episode of "The Real," and found out there's a new way to get in shape and it involves wine, I was all ears. Take a look...
It turns out that host Tamara Mowry is not a huge fan of the crunch and sip workouts. I guess I have to agree - it probably would give you a stomach ache if you took a sip and then did a sit up every time. Something tells me I'd much rather be reading a book and sipping wine than getting in shape...hence my problem with fitness.
If you haven't checked it out yet, you really should watch "The Real" because the hosts offer an honest look at what it's like to be a working mom. Plus, as a former talk show insider (I used to be a publicist on the original Ricki Lake show), it's so refreshing to find out that I know several of the incredibly talented producers on their staff! Led by bold, diverse and outspoken hosts, the hosts of "The Real" reflect the home audience and unapologetically say what women are actually thinking. Their unique perspectives are brought to life through their candid conversations about topics ranging from their own personal lives to the news of the day to beauty, fashion and relationships. Their fresh points of view, youthful energy and passion have turned the traditional talk show on its head. Produced by Telepictures Productions and distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, The Real originates from Los Angeles. Rachel Miskowiec (Good Morning America, Katie, The Tyra Banks Show, Judge Hatchett, The Ricki Lake Show) is Executive Producer. THE REAL is a daily, one-hour Emmy® nominated talk show on Fox Television Stations and in national syndication (check local listings), with a rebroadcast on cable network BET. You can also connect with the show on Facebook and follow them on Instagram.
(Photo credit: Erica Parise/Warner Bros. Television
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