My Better Half on Parenthood

As requested, here’s a little bit from Andrew reflecting on parenthood (and some other things)… xo EG

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(minutes after Henry was born and met his Daddy)

To say that this past November was a pivotal month in my life would be a monumental understatement. The world aligned for me as the two things I have been putting my heart and soul into over the past 3 years materialized. My son was born and my company I’ve been building finally received funding.

They have a remarkably similar feel. Before it happens you are confident, calm, and cannot wait for it to finally get here. And then they happen. And in both cases you are like, “Holy shit now what do I do?”. I have to find a way to keep this alive (still talking about both…). I am still trying to find my Chi in this new state of chaos. But through it all I have never been happier.

But I thought it would be fun to share some of the things I have learned over the past few months:

  1. I have been a shitty friend to my friends who have children. I was stunned by how many of our friends came out to see Henry, bring food/gifts, call to ask what they could do, etc. I can honestly say I have never done any of that for any of our friends when they gave birth. Erin has sent gifts, but we never “popped-in” to bring food. And our friends are doing it with a car full of children on their way home from the grocery store. Hello New Year’s Resolution – Stop sucking as a friend (could also be “Stop being so self involved”).
  2. Time is my most important asset. Whether at home or at work, I have become so aware of how and where I am spending my time. I am working hard to cut out the “fluff” from my schedule. This is not because I want to schedule every part of my day with tasks. But I have things I want to accomplish and to do so I have to be very careful where I spend my time. This includes ensuring downtime. Perhaps even more than before. Making sure I have time to workout. Making sure Erin does. Sitting down to relax and not picking up my phone or computer. Avoiding time wasters (at work).
  3. I am capable of so much more than I realized. Erin is capable of even more than that. Women are amazing. More amazing than I realized and I felt like I already knew that. Nope…not even close. Truly amazing what Erin did and is doing. Again, I am referring to both her role as mom and entrepreneur. I continue to be in awe.
  4. Poop isn’t that gross anymore. And when you have a baby, your dogs tend to offer more poop for you to clean up in more places too. So exponential poop in our life has made it as common as coffee in the morning.
  5. Spit-up/Dog barf: See poop.
  6. Being tired is dangerous. This may be the hardest part of being a dad and entrepreneur. Being tired is not a good excuse for slacking on your job. Even for a moment. You have to be “on” whenever engaged. Slacking off for even a moment can mean disaster. Your son, wife, employees and clients depend on you. You cannot let them down because you are tired.
  7. You have to have help and know how to allow people to help. This is critical to avoiding the problems of #6. Let your employees do their job. Allow family and friends to help raise your child. Erin and I take turns with Henry…so the other can turn off for a few minutes. For Type A personalities like Erin and me, this is hard. But we cannot do it all and we are not less of a parent or leader by letting others help or do their job.
  8. Surround yourself with people who know more than you. Soak it up. Our nanny has been around kids far longer than we have. So we listen to her. I hired people smarter than me and better than me. At least at their job, but in many cases I am learning how to do my job better from them. The challenge me to raise my game. So I listen to them. Again, the Type A in me wants to tell the pilot how to fly the plane, but that won’t get me to my destination.
  9. Question everything. This is exactly the opposite of what I just said. The experts can be wrong. So when you don’t understand something, ask. If you feel stupid because people are looking at you like you don’t get a simple concept, push through that. If you don’t understand what is happening and why for your child, company, or job then you are not doing yourself any favors. Ask the questions until you understand the answer. It makes everyone better. Just because it “was always done this way” doesn’t mean it should be. Nor does it mean it is wrong. Find out.

I will leave you with a couple of thoughts about being a dad. I love being a dad. I love changing Henry’s diaper. I love waking up at 2am to do it. I hate when I don’t know what is wrong with him. I love when I figure it out. When he smiles at me I am done. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for him. I am determined not to let work interfere with being a dad. It will be hard, as I love what I do. I love him more. I look forward to all the stages he will go through, but I am doing my best to appreciate the stage he is in. I am stressed that we are not doing something right. I am convinced we will be fine. I am terrified about dropping him. I am jealous of the time and bond he will spend and build with our nanny. When he is asleep in my arms, there is nothing else in the world. When he is nuzzled up on Erin, there is nothing else in the world. I have never been more tired, more hopeful, more stressed or more excited.

Ok. That’s all the time I have. I have to go get Henry so Erin can sleep in a little longer. Until next time, thank you all for everything you’ve done for my family. Whether you know it or not, you are a huge part of our lives and we couldn’t be happier about it.


9 Years.

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Nine years ago today it was 90-something degrees,  about 100% humidity with rain on it’s way.  But as I stood in my parent’s kitchen with paper towels stuffed under my armpits to keep me from sweating all over my Monique Lhuillier I felt only happiness about getting to marry Andrew Gates that day.  And sitting here today, nine years later, in bed on Nantucket celebrating our anniversary I feel the same way.

Like all marriages we’ve had our share of challenges- big and small- but one thing stays constant. We NEED each other. Desperately. Without him I’d probably be in a padded room somewhere and without me he’d be pondering another career change, perhaps something “reasonable”, like an astronaut.  One lifts, one grounds; and together we find a balance in our personalities that brings the best out in each of us.

You get a glimpse of what Andrew is like through his posts on here, but really that’s just a tiny sliver of the man he is.  He’s the most positive, loving, trustworthy, funny, smart, sensitive people out there and I am so lucky to be able to experience this journey of life with him. And I am so relieved and thrilled that he will be able to come on my entire book tour with me, a turn of events that makes this whole daunting process so much easier and fun.  I want him around all the time, I miss him when he leaves for a single night- still, after 12 years of being together. He’s my rock, my everything and I am so, so grateful for him.

So happy anniversary honey, I’m so glad you lied on your Match.com profile and tricked me into going out with you. :)

 

 

 

 

 

Party Down.

A few images from our small party for Andrew this weekend- I was so frantic I didn’t get to take a single shot but thankfully Sarah was there and capture a few snaps (mixed in with my pre-party instagrams).

The cutest pic of Andrew from when he was little- double stripes? No wonder I love him.

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Yep- I went with the sputnik light. And I LOVE it. I also rented a black and white stripe tablecloth from La Tavola Linens,  ghost chairs from PBD Events and pulled together a centerpiece from bunches grabbed at the flower market (in a Target vase).

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Subconsciously bought Line 39 cab- perfect for turning the big 4-0. :)  Bought a bunch of glasses from IKEA because they were cheaper then renting- a pack of 6 wine glasses for $4.75!  The napkins I got through For Your Party.

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Details from the house I’m loving.

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A quick pre-party shot of the living room with our new coffee table, side tables, lamps, rug and pillows. :)

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The flowers- wanted them to be more English garden then uptight. Love how they came out.

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Living room shot featuring my fave side table (similar) and Mitchell Gold chair– complete with arrangement sent over by friends.

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The party begins.

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Andrew’s favorite things- scotch and North Carolina BBQ!!!

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The sunroom with our new Peter Dunham pillows which I looooove and a Dash & Albert indoor/outdoor rug.

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My mom made one of her famous cheesecakes (Andrew’s favorite).

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Another sunroom shot (complete with Baxter butt and knocked over books– but hey, it’s life).

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Yesterday I spent in this spot on the couch ALL DAY with this view (never drinking champagne AGAIN.  At least not until next weekend.)  I have not spent a whole day in sweats on the couch since I can’t remember when and you know what? I needed it.

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The party was great incentive to get our house done and now that it’s in a good place (minus dining chairs) we can get back to enjoying our weekend doing OTHER things like spending time outside, going to museums and movies and soon- working in the yard.  FINALLY.

40 is Fashionable.

I have to take a fashion break to write a little bit about my husband, Andrew, on the occasion of his 40th birthday tomorrow.  You have gotten to know him through his posts, but that only gives you a bit of the picture.

You see, this blog would not be here without him.  My career would not be as successful, in fact, it probably would be completely different.  I might still be slaving away in a cubicle as an insurance broker (yes, I was one for two years before this).  I’ve never been a risk taker, in fact, I am scared shitless of taking risks.  Andrew, on the other hand, embraces them not only as opportunity but also as life’s best teaching lesson.  He’s fallen and gotten back up time and time again, but because of that has become one of the smartest people I know.  But let me go back a little…

We met on Match.com. Yes, the internet has blessed me not only with this amazing career but also with a husband! And 11 years ago, not many people were meeting that way. Certainly not my peers, one year out of college.  As fate had it, my inability to talk to men in bars and his post-divorce uncertainty in the dating scene caused us to meet.  We were each others first and ONLY date on Match. Hey, when it works, it works.  But it wasn’t love at first sight.  It took us a while to find our stride, mostly because I was a very confused 22 year old.  After stumbling a bit, we did figure it out and before I knew it I had a ring on my finger.  Through the years we’ve had high highs and low lows- challenges that we thought might break us, but knowing deep down that we were in it together for long haul.

He’s been my biggest cheerleader, encouraging me from day one.  He was the one who urged me to quit my job and pursue my dream (supporting us while I did it) and never ONCE has been threatened by my success. In fact, no one is prouder.  His career took a little longer to figure out, but I think he finally has.  He’s worked so hard to get where he is- getting his master’s degree nights and weekends while running his own company, and then starting over in a new industry when he decided where he was wasn’t where he wanted to be.  He’s taken risks with start-ups and tried working for a huge company, and now finally seems happier than ever where he is. It’s so nice to see him so inspired, just as I feel every day.

But I do think he has another calling- as a motivational speaker.  The man gives me the BEST speeches to get me out of my “I can’t do it!!!” funks.  He does this for everyone in his family.  We all roll our eyes a little when we hear we are about to get “a talk” from Andrew, but I know every single person on the receiving end appreciates them immensely.  He cares SO much about everyone he loves- there is never any doubt about that.  He takes time to let people know that too, and I think that’s rare in this world.  He still opens my car door, every single time, after 11 years.  He does my laundry and folds it.  Grocery shops.  Paints rooms and re-paints them when I think it’s “a little off” (but not without a serious eye roll). Adores our dogs and proudly walks them even though they are little and fancy. :) Supports me when I go off my rocker. Loves me despite my deep flaws, and sometime because of them.

I am a very lucky woman.

I know he is going to be one of the best fathers on the planet, I believe this deep down to my core.  I really hope that this will be the year I can give him the ability to do just that.  I can’t wait to see him with a little one of our own, teaching them to be brave while simultaneously giggling with them over farts.

Andrew, I love you.  You are a wonderful husband, devoted son, brother and cousin, amazing friend and the world is better because you are in it.  I am so glad I get to grow old with you.  Happy 40th birthday.

** After renovating our kitchen I couldn’t give Andrew what I really wanted to give him for his birthday (he’s still going to have a good birthday though, don’t worry).  But here is my dream birthday for Andrew (with a little fashion thrown in- it IS Friday after all and the man likes to look good):

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1) A kick ass new blazer. This one is tough meets slick by Belstaff.

2) A Newfoundland puppy. They are his absolute favorite.

3) A vintage Rolex Sea Dweller.  He tried one on years ago and fell hard for it. Like me and my dream Love bracelet.

4) A nice pair of jeans tailored for his 6′ 4″ frame (it’s hard to find them).

5) An aged 21 years bottle of scotch. “I love Scotch, scotchy, scotch scotch…”

6) A crazy comfy cashmere zip neck sweater (to be layerd under blazer with the jeans and a collared shirt- my FAVORITE look).

7) This notebook to jot down all his big business ideas (and I love the cover because he is always telling me “Everything is not black and white! It’s grey!”)

8) An awesome ping pong table for the basement so he can have epic hours long matches like he does at my parent’s house with my brothers on holidays.

9) A shiny new BMW X5, his favorite car. He’s had a couple before and sold his last one when things got a little tight a few years ago.  I would love for him to have his dream car again. He so deserves it.

10) A first class flight to Paris for a week to stay HERE.  No city makes us happier as a couple.

From His Persective: Failure

The next installment from my hubby- whom is becoming more popular than me.  I might have to slap him.


It is time to fail.

As most of you have read recently, Erin has been personally having a rather tough couple of months. No small part of her trials have been her perfectionist tendencies butting up against not enough time in the day. I would wager that even for those of us who don’t think everything has to be perfect, we can all relate in some way to the feeling that failure or mistakes are not an option.

I have been blessed/cursed to have failed many times in some very major ways and have made more than my fair share of both large and small mistakes. Early on it was terrifying. At 15 I was kicked out of boarding school 3 months into my tenure. I am not sure if this was actually my first huge failure, but certainly one of my most memorable. I won’t go into the details surrounding it, but suffice it to say that I was wronged, actually in an attempt to do the right thing. Didn’t matter. I was still kicked out. The first one in a long line of cousins who went to a New England prep school to be kicked out. Guilty or not, the stigma was still there (even if Amanda Knox is completely innocent, will anyone ever look at her the same?).

Compound that situation with going back to North Carolina where my family was, entering mid-year into 10th grade at a school where I didn’t know many people because it was a rival to where I went to Junior High, so I was a pretty angry kid. Kudos to my parents for not making it worse and completely supporting and believing me (when my dad flew up to collect me, he flew me back first class…looking back that was an incredible thing to do).

I continued to fail/make mistakes. Whether it was leaving college early, trying to run a North Carolina restaurant from Boston, getting married to the wrong person (Erin is my second and far and away best wife), or any number of things, I have failed, made mistakes and lived to tell the tale.

One might think that I would be deathly afraid to fail or make mistakes today. Not true. I am a better, stronger, more confident person because of them. Not being afraid to fail frees you to up to truly succeed. One cannot live life afraid or under a rock. Once you accept a failure or a mistake you can begin to realize that they are not in fact life threatening. Mistakes can be fixed, failures are not permanent. Not trying or indecision is the real threat to life. As I said in my first post, I don’t want to look back on life wondering what if.

Accepting mistakes as human nature, common and natural and not as a sign of weakness or ineptitude is easier said than done, but still doable. Failing and bouncing back is even harder. But who ever said life was easy or fair? Someone said what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. It is true. I am not suggesting wake up tomorrow with the intent to make a big mistake so you can learn, but simply to not be afraid to do so. It is kind of like jumping off the high dive. At first it is really scary…and then once you are in the pool, you jump out and run up the ladder to do it again. It is in fact not nearly as scary as it was in your head before you did it.