Ocean Therapy for the Working Mom – Thoughts from Leigh

1From time to time I think it’s important to reflect on what it’s like being a working mom. Between listing appointments, open houses, and meetings every week it can be hard for me to balance it all. When I get overwhelmed, I like to take a trip to the beach.

What makes the ocean so therapeutic?  It’s hard to know really, I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way when they are in the presence of God’s masterpiece, the ocean.  I’ve missed that therapy a lot over the past 7 years.  Oh, it wasn’t that I didn’t get to go to the beach, I went, but I didn’t get to be still and take it in very much.  The sound of my children interrupted that particular therapy…

2I officially and blissfully crossed over a bittersweet transition a couple weeks ago and I reconnected with that therapy once more. My time was mostly my own on this trip in that I ate (and drank) what I wanted when I wanted, I talked with the grownups when I wanted, I played with the kids when I wanted, I went to bed when I wanted, and I checked in with work via email when I needed to.  My beautiful boys are now 3 and 6.5 so for the first time in 7 years a family “trip” was more like a vacation to me. Ahhhhhh…

I remember fondly Tucker’s first beach trip to the Outer Banks when he was 3 months old and walking him up and down strange, empty sea salty streets at 3am while he fussed and failed to sleep in the rickety, rented crib.  I recall leaving him with family while my husband and I got a dinner out and the way he screamed the entire time we were gone.  My sweet sister in law and mother rocked him the entire time.  Everyone was worn out when we got home!

3Then I was pregnant again when Tucker was almost 3 so we started all over again.  I did love the nap times with the toddlers on a lazy afternoon at the beach.  “I’ll just lie with him until he goes to sleep,” only to awake three hours later. Those pregnancy trips weren’t especially fun either; let’s be real, that sunbathing in the last trimester isn’t relaxing or comfortable or therapeutic at all!

My youngest son, Sam, is now 3. He’s potty trained, doesn’t take regular naps, and plays with other kids well. He’s part of the group and as long as the brothers don’t wrestle each other to death, they just don’t need me as much.

They don’t need me as much…it’s bittersweet.  I’ll miss the baby lotion smell, the snuggle dozes on my chest, even the nursing and feeding in the middle of the night when all that will soothe them is me and only me.  The memories of childbirth and those first days at home are some of the very happiest memories I’ll ever have, but at the same time, don’t get me wrong, it’s thrilling to be where I am now!

4As I sit here – actually getting to hear the ocean – while they do their own thing and I have a moment of reflection with door open and waves crashing at the foot of the stairs at high tide, my heart fills with love and appreciation for the beach where we will come many, many more years as a family.

While I know my boys will drift further and further away from me physically, it’s fun to be able to see them fend for themselves and to make friends and play independently. I appreciate the ocean for giving me some perspective throughout my life and for good talks with family here over large dinners, not to mention “cocktails and circles” over the years.  I appreciate the ocean giving my energetic boys a huge, sandy playground that they never tire of.

My heart fills with love for the beach at this moment but mostly it is full of love and adoration for my sweet boys who are growing quicker than quick. For right now, at this time in their lives, its mandatory morning hugs and reading nighttime snuggles where my oldest gets to read a book to me.
And that’s exactly where I want to be.

– Leigh Bryant

Working Mom/Realtor Heads to Dallas!

Every year, our real estate company Keller Williams hosts a Family Reunion for all of the agents who wish to attend and for the second year in a row, this working Mom/Realtor made the trip a priority.  This conference is always in February and it is always around Valentine’s Day beginning on a Saturday and going through a Wednesday.  Being gone over a weekend and half a week around Valentine’s Day is no small feat for a Mom of young children and a working husband.  (He is awesome, by the way, encourages me to go and to grow in my business constantly!  He completely “gets” that my drive in my career and my passion for helping people makes me a better Mom).  So, I got Valentine’s Day treats and snacks and cards done, left the groceries NOT shopped for, packed my bags, left a 2 year old self-proclaimed Mommy’s Boy in his Daddy’s capable hands, kissed and hugged my Kindergartner, and boarded my plane with my KW friends.

This conference is full of helpful classes and hands on technology sessions but it is also full of inspiration.  The first speech I went to was a jam packed room with over 8,000 people in it ready to listen to JR Martinez.  He was the Iraq soldier who was burned over 34% of his body and came back fighting for his life and his spirit.  He found both and then some.  His story was awe-inspiring.  Life is to short to let anything get in your way.  Adapt and Overcome.  Sometimes you are placed outside of your comfort zone by your own choosing or by something else (i.e. a bomb that gets in your way driving down the road).  Adapt to your new surroundings and Overcome by making it a choice to do so.  JR thought his path was to work hard, get an education along the way, but ultimately play Pro Football.  Little did he know his actual path was to become an actor on a daytime series, a motivational speaker, and a winner on Dancing With The Stars!

While I was being inspired on a personal and professional level, my husband was winning Dad of the Year at home with my 2 boys.  It snowed which it rarely does in Charlotte and there was a Dinosaur exhibit in town for the weekend.  Here’s a quick visual of what I missed.

Next on my agenda was Gary Keller’s Vision Speech for not only our company, Keller Williams, but the overall industry nationwide.  I’ll save the highlights and stats for another Blog Post.  Long story short, economy is looking good and we are slowly shifting from Buyer’s Market to Seller’s Market.  Time is prime for both Buyers and Sellers as we are still seeing undervalued home prices, rates are lower then EVER, and inventory is LOW!  Gary is a visionary for sure, scary smart, and funny.  He brought a one office real estate company to Number #1 real estate company in the United States in 30 short years.  Slow and steady, he has set the pace and the bar in our industry.  It’s exciting to be a part of.

Along side all of these speeches I was listening to there were classes on Blogging, Pricing Houses, Language of People, Social Media, helping your clients buy investment properties – I soaked in and took feverish notes on my Ipad.  The click click of the Ipad keys were so  loud there were numerous tweets throughout the event politely asking everyone to turn the clicking OFF in your settings.  KW agents are so nice and polite!  🙂

Next on the speaker agenda was Dave Ramsey giving us his rendition of the 5 more important principles in business.  He is a terrific, transparent, funny, no holds barred speaker.  You’ll laugh, your jaw will drop, you’ll nod your head in enthusiastic agreement, you’ll likely be offended, but you’ll be smarter on the other side of one of his speeches.  Long story short here are his 5 Business Principles that will lead to success in whatever business you are in.

1.  People Matter

2.  An Incredible Team and a Culture of Excellence Matter

3.  Slow and Steady Matters

4.  Financial Principles Matter

5.  A Higher Calling Matters

I knew these in concept already, but hearing them laid out in terms of my business brought it all into perspective.  What I do for my clients matters, deeply.  I don’t take that lightly, never have, but know I have a better focus and more detailed outline on what that really means and how I can serve  my clients and customers on an even higher level.

I picked up a new Seller while I was in Dallas as well a new Buyer.  I had tons of fun with my co-workers and my fellow ALC (Associate Leadership Council) members.  We brainstormed ideas on how to grow a better market center.  I was inspired by the Cultural Ambassadors of our company and I saw firsthand all the good our company does, how much KW gives back to the community.  I may save that for another Blog as well.  You can’t beat KW when it comes to the culture of sharing, compassion, unity, spiritual guidance, and teaching.  For the company and for the journey that I am on in the company, I am grateful.

For my supportive husband and crazy, wonderful kids I am grateful.  For you – my customers and friends – I am grateful!  Now, go have a great day, be nice to everybody you see, smile, and help someone in need!  So glad I took the time to travel to the Keller Williams annual Family Reunion.