Stepping away from my computer makes my mind spin. I wind up with so many thoughts of things that might be good topics to share here. I write in my head. Right now, more than anything, mothering is atop my list of thoughts, struggles & challenges. Seems as though I am not alone. Your feedback on my recent post has been so positive. (Thank you a zillion times over!!) But it has been mixed. Some of you think I am heading in the right direction. Some of you have pulled me aside, emailed me or sent me messages telling me that you think I am crazy. Nowlin made me clarify what “not having balance” meant to me & I fessed up that although the laundry was clean & sorted in its proper basket, it wasn’t folded and put away (& that bothers me.) That is my lack of balance. (He laughed.) Hellooooo my name is shawna and I am type A.
I am glad you are here to share this experience. This part of motherhood tends to be so hush, hush. Few talk about the struggles in a constructive manner & with a positive attitude. I am not a complainer. I am a reader. a writer. a thinker. a do-er. I try my best to handle this with POSITIVITY.
But, I keep having this recurring dream. I am at the park with someone I just met. She is in her pajamas and her kids are a mess. We are both swinging a child on a swing. She strikes up a conversation with me:
So, you stay home with your kids?
So you are just a mom too?
& then it ends. This is my current struggle: somehow it feels like staying home with my child suddenly erases all my accomplishments…everything that made me ME. Graduating magna cum laude…(just a mom.) Holding a company record for most sales in the first month of employment…(just a mom.) President’s Circle achiever…(just a mom.) Small business owner…(just a mom.) ::shudder::
NO. I am not just a mom.
But how will my daughter know that? She will never see me put on a business suit and go off to work. She will rarely see my accomplishments that do not involve her. How do I help her learn the value of hard work outside the home, when she only sees my hard work in the home? Are they mutually exclusive?
As I have said before, I had some rigorous corporate goals to achieve before I wanted to have babies. I had a specific dollar amount that I needed to earn MYSELF so that if anything does ever happen to my husband, I am certain that I can take care of this family. When I reached that goal, I stopped taking birth control. I started this business because I could not get pregnant and this filled the time I spent sulking in sorrow over the life I wished for but could not have. I never thought I would see infertility as a blessing…but it certainly pushed me into a joyful opportunity that I likely would not have ever discovered if I saw two pink lines right away.
I like to think that as long as I work hard, no matter what I do, my daughter will focus more on the work ethic than on the work. Keeping a tidy home. Cooking every night. Cleaning, often & thoroughly. Valuing education as the utmost priority. Taking care of ourselves physically. These are the things we start with. Right?
Recently, a friend of mine recommended a book & so much of it has resonated with me. It has greatly shaped my perspective on my role as MOM. Maybe you have heard of it, Steady Days: A Journey Toward Intentional Professional Motherhood. It is written in 40 one to two page chapters, which makes it a breeze to read. The theme is how to make your job as a mom like any other job…one with routine, purpose & organization. It simplifies everything in such a logical way. There is also a website & a blog: SteadyMom.
I started with Chapter One. Such a simple concept, but this has changed me:
A prepared mother looks professional. No one would show up to the office for a busy day in her pajamas. And yet there’s a stereotype of mothers, particularly stay-at-home mothers, consisting of bathrobes & slippers until 11:00, combined with talk shows & soap operas all afternoon. No wonder motherhood isn’t valued in Western cultures. Our jobs as mothers have more long-lasting impact, even on future generations, than almost any business meeting could. By doing my job with intention, I help others redefine what motherhood can & should be.
So you know what? Out the window went a bunch of my clothing. (Well…I donated it.) But truly, you know those clothes that lie somewhere between pajamas and gym clothes…but you don’t use them for either? Yep. Got rid of them. I have nice gym clothes. I have comfortable yet stylish “mommy” clothes. (btw-do you know how comfortable dresses are?!? try it! I live in them!) Of course we have pajama days…but those will be a “treat” not the norm. Unless I am going to the gym, I am dressed. Simple as that. I want to change the stereotype of a SAHM.
I am not just a mom. I am organized. I am professional. I take my job seriously. Even if it involves snotty noses most of the day. (Who says you can’t look good while wiping one?) I have begun to treat this job no differently than any other I’ve held. & starting small is sometimes just what it takes. It’s amazing how much more you can accomplish when you simply get dressed. Cute shoes can definitely set the tone for a fabulous day. ;)
This image was taken in Nebraska at Chadron State Park over the summer…’cause every post needs a picture. ;)