I’ll try to do better, maybe

Recently Michael Burg, MD (AKA Medium Michael Burg)published a piece about how his reading ratio on a particular story was relatively low compared to his average. His article made me think of my reading habits which caused me to pause. Was I a prime suspect in lowering reading ratios? How do the Medium gods track my time spent reading an article when my reading process looks something like this?

5:52 am

My alarm went off 8 minutes ago, but I’m still in bed. I pick up my phone and click on the Medium notification and see you wrote a new piece. I…

I’ll be fine….I hope

It starts before I even leave the house. Should I walk the dog? It’s 8 pm. It’s dark. It’s not that dark, though. The neighborhood has streetlamps.

I look for a clip-on light so cars can easily see me. But honestly, that’s the least of my concerns.

I strap on my ‘mace bracelet,’ making sure it’s on my left wrist because I’m right-handed. I have to be sure my prominent hand is ready to react.

I put on sneakers instead of flip-flops. I need to be ready to run, just in case.

As I head towards the door, I think…

It was more than just a graduation.

My daughter had her drive-through preschool graduation last weekend, and I’m not ashamed to admit I cried.

We decorated the car with balloons and signs. She wore her ‘fancy dress’ that’s really a Christmas dress, but it was her day, as she reminded me, so I let her wear whatever she wanted.

Overall, we were in and out of there quickly. The parking lot is only so big, and there are only so many kids, so after two loops around the lot, we were done. Even though the event itself was short, the emotions were still very much present. …

Let me be honest about this one…

I’m a full-time working mom who has SAHM friends. I’ve noticed lately that I’m feeling jealous of them, and dare I say, judgy even? Not because I think them choosing to stay home is wrong. It’s not. I truly believe every woman should make her own choice based on what’s best for her and her family.

So I had to pause and take an honest look at what was causing these feelings — and to own my shit.

And before I get blown up with mean comments, let me be clear. This is my opinion based on my individual experience…

Navigating the father-daughter relationship

I was always nervous throwing the softball with you because I never wanted to have a bad throw. I knew you had a bad back, a herniated disk, to be exact. In my mind, it hurt you to have to go after a wayward ball and bend down to pick it up. You never said it hurt, but I don’t ever remember seeing you run after a ball. It was always a slow walk that gave me too much time to stand in shame, silently berating myself for having screwed up. I’d imagine your disappointment in me. …

How listening, learning, and empathy changed my mind.

When Colin Kaepernick first started the ‘take a knee’ approach to the national anthem, my knee-jerk reaction was to be offended. I considered it disrespectful. I didn’t really care about his reasoning because I couldn’t get past his behavior. I believe my opinion was strongly grounded in that I’m a Veteran and served my country for four years stateside and in Iraq.

I wasn’t alone in my opinion, either. I had family and friends who felt the same way — and they still do today. However, the difference between them and me is that I remained open to other points…

All moms should give themselves this.

I have awful imposter syndrome. I’m in a director-level position and still feel inadequate. I was on a call this week with people from across the company who wanted to pick my brain about a particular work campaign I did, and I was pretty sure they all thought, ‘this woman has no clue what she’s talking about.’

So yea, imposter syndrome is definitely my thing. The exception, though, is when I think of myself as a Mom.

Because then, I kick ass.

Rarely can I make a statement or brag on myself without feeling like I don’t really deserve it…

Breastfeeding is a bitch.

I had my first baby, and three days later, I was home from the hospital…a hot mess. Breastfeeding was not going well.

My son wouldn’t latch. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. Squeeze it like a hamburger patty, they said. Breastfeeding is natural, they said. Breast is best, they said.

Lies, all lies.

I would nurse him, stressing the whole time that he wasn’t getting enough milk. Then lay him down and inevitably feel my anxiety rise as the next feeding time starting creeping closer. My nipples hurt like hell. …


The unhealthiest relationship I’ve ever had

Dear Scale,

It’s not you; it’s me.

Just kidding — it’s 100% you. You’re too controlling, and your time has come.

We’ve been together for as long as I can remember. It wasn’t always toxic, but at some point, you went from a comforting friend to a judgy asshole.

You make me feel like shit about myself, and I don't need that in my life. You judge me for the choices I make, like happy hour drinks and chips and salsa. Where do you even get off? Don’t you know I earned those delicious treats?! I don't see you headed…

Good enough is my new mantra

I started writing with this dream in mind. I was going to get back to a passion I had ever since I was young. I was going to start writing finally, and by God, it would turn into an awesome side hustle. The bigger dream was that it would eventually turn into a full-time job, and I could leave my corporate gig and work for myself.

I’d spend my days alternating between Martha Stewart and David Sedaris. I’d have these glorious mornings of clarity, where I’d passionately write the wittiest, most thoughtful personal essays, blissed out in a flow state…

Lisa Kalkes

A FT working mom, wife, veteran, and 90’s hip-hop and R&B connoisseur.

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