It’s easy to get caught up in the minutia of daily life: to get overwhelmed or feel like the daily stressors are getting the best of you. I’ve been feeling like that a lot lately.
I think the challenge is to step back and take stock of what we really do accomplish… and to give ourselves the credit we so richly deserve. I learned that lesson yesterday. I went to a journalism conference yesterday. It’s not something I usually get to do but the timing worked out nicely. We were planning to be in the city as part of our Mother’s Day weekend and, by arriving a few hours early, I was able to work in some professional development.
When I arrived, the nerves set in. I’m no longer a part of the daily journalism grind. Many of the big players in the news business are people I used to know early in my career. They are people I studied with and people I worked with. Now they are at the peak of their careers and I work in a dark office stacked with winter clothes that have yet to be packed away and towers of unfiled documents threatening to collapse.
I found myself int he bathroom giving myself a mental pep talk. I reminded myself that I made this choice, and I don’t regret it. I want to be home with my children… but I do admit to some professional jealousy. That’s why my encounter with a colleague was so interesting.
He was just leaving a session and I was waiting for another to start. We had gone to journalism school together. He’s done well since then and works at a job that, in another life, I would love to have. The two of us stopped in the hotel lobby to catch up. I was pleased that he even remembered me as I had been out of the media scene for so long. He asked about my freelance career and I found myself making excuses why I hadn’t pitched more stories or published more by-lines.
Then he began to ask about my personal life. When I told him about my three children… The Girl (who’s about the be 16 – that’s a whole other story) and The Dudes, now 4 and 2, he got this look of total astonishment on his face.
“How are you even here?” he asked incredulously. “Do you have them locked in a hotel room upstairs?”
The question seemed to give my self-confidence permission to rise again. I learned quite a bit at the afternoon’s sessions but that moment was the most powerful of the day. It was when I reminded myself of all those things I do manage to accomplish, instead of what goes left undone.
I think, as mothers and as women, we get so caught up in our daily to-do lists and what isn’t getting crossed off that we forget (or don’t take the time) to give ourselves credit for all we do. I’m not hosting the national radio news but I am raising three pretty great kids and nurturing a fledgling writing career. I may let a few balls drop but the number I do keep in the air is still pretty impressive.
It’s Mother’s Day and I’m going to celebrate all I accomplish as a mother today. I’m going to let myself be proud of me. We are conditioned to be modest but I think mothers, no matter where they are, have a right… no, a need… to be proud. We are shaping people. Whether it’s skinned knees or hurt feelings or snack time we are laying the ground work for who these little creatures are going to be… and we do it while juggling responsibilities of being a wife or an employee or a home owner or a business owner.
I look at my own mother, who often doesn’t give herself enough credit either, and am grateful for all she did for me. She gave me the confidence to follow my own path and become the person I want to be… and she did it while doing a lot of other great things too.
So, to all mothers out there: you are doing great things. Even if you don’t have time to believe in yourself… I’ll do it for you. Motherhood is a hard road and it’s time to walk it with pride. I’ll believe in you, even if there are day that you can’t. Happy Mother’s Day.