September Together Tips: Broken But Buoyant & Back-to-School

Sep 9, 2021

Dear Together Friends, Fans, and Family,

HAPPY Back to School? Scratch. WELCOME Back to School? No, that isn’t right either. Back to school, hello, is it you? AGAIN. I see you. And that graphing calculator on the middle school math supply list I have yet to purchase. Though I recently got all the feels from the Trapper Keeper talk and Together Table of school supplies. . .

As a parent of two medium-sized (yet still too young to be vaccinated) children, I am definitely a little bit broken these days. I imagine my challenges are similar to yours in this combination of three categories of cracks. Crack Category #1: Tiny micro cracks around my house (childcare kerfuffles as a solo parent, a partner who travels for work, and a 48-hour internet hardware outage due to a basement flood that resulted in Verizon service people climbing around on my ROOF.) Crack #2: standing beside friends, family, and our very own Together Team members who are struggling immensely with piecing together childcare for their toddlers as they return to their jobs, school districts shut down for lack of bus drivers or cafeteria support, and fears of sending our kids to school in places with no masks and low vaccination rates. Even getting our newsletter out this month was tough for us. Crack #3 that’s keeping me teetering is of course the issues in the country and the world (Ida, Tahoe, Texas, Afghanistan, Haiti, the Delta variant…the list goes on. And on. A minor bit of solace donating here and here.)

But I don’t call my mental health hotline The Together Therapist for nothing. For real, that is what I call my therapist. She loves it. Besides being able to turn ANYTHING into branded alliteration, my superpower is. . . buoyancy no matter what the circumstances. Try me.

So, in a bit of a pivot from our typical Together Tips, I give you what I’m calling a Buoyancy Break (this is different from my PlayList and our Self-Care Menus, but take a gander there too.)

– This local non-profit’s high school summer performance of Spamalot. One of my bonus children was in the ensemble, and I was moved to tears by the kids from all over DC performing in clear masks in a steaming hot open indoor space, and then celebrating outside at 11 PM with pizza.

– A good heartwarming animal adoption tale (you see what I did there!) Stray cat airport rescue always. I have a huge soft spot for tuxedo cats.

– This book of stories edited by Kwame Mbalia. H/T to Quinn V. for putting this on my radar. If anyone knows Kwame personally, I would LOVE to interview him for our blog on how he used to juggle his day job and writing the Tristan Strong series.

– The Chair on Netflix – Sandra Oh at her finest. I generally stink at TV, but I devoured this quick series in one hit. I’ll take all recommendations for something else like this, please!

– Anything to keep me off my phone, and this week it was Stephen King’s new book. Fun fact: Rumor has it that the original Pet Sematary inspiration was my high school boyfriend’s backyard in rural Maine!

-Some parts of corporate America stepping up here and there. This Air B&B anecdote warmed my heart.

If this list of random recommendations is interesting to you, let me know here. I’m happy to keep them up! And send yours to me, too!

Stay buoyant.



PS A LOT of people sent me this article about giving up on time management! I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this. This quote struck me: “The real measure of any time management technique is whether or not it helps you neglect the right things.” BOOM. Let me tell you allllllllll about the laundry situation in my house.

PPS For those of you who have taken our very popular Together Leader 1 course, we are contemplating offering Together Leader 2 (with Priority Plans and Meeting Matrix!) online later this fall. Put your name on the list here, and we will email you when we open it up!

Together Treasure Box (From the Blog!)

  • How do you make Together Tradeoffs? Here’s how a recent workshop participant gracefully communicated her priorities to me. Togetherness is about flexibility, transparency, and communication.
  • Do you struggle with prioritizing all that comes with a new school year?  Read here about 5 ways schools can set teachers up for success in this coming (and most challenging! Again!) school year.
  • Want to do more to support students’ families? Check out how KIPP Massachusetts created a Family University! How are you all supporting families right now?

Top Together Tributes

  • Top Productivity Systems: Not sure which ones are worth the hype?  Read here about the pros and cons of these five systems. Long-time Pomodoro fan here. But this article also reminds me, I have some giveaway copies of Eat That Frog for students!
  • Top Relationship Reminder: Read here about what it means to hold space, and how this can be beneficial for your relationships–personal or professional. Also: ShondaLand fan forever!
  • Top To-Do List Talk: If you can’t seem to finish that to-do list, read this LONG article.  No notebook or app can save you! List of Shame also very affirming.
  • Top Fanny Pack List: You NEED a fanny pack. Believe me, you just do. In the Before Times, I rocked my fanny pack regularly, like here and here (my last two in-person workshops before the world halted).

Click here to discuss your Together (Online or In-Person) Training for coming school year. We have 2, 4, and 6-hour versions ready to go!