I realized early in my journey as a Powermommy that I could not measure my effectiveness on that of other executives or mothers. I remember constantly feeling envy when a mother in one of my children’s classes baked homemade cookies for the class.
“That Mother” always had time to come in a read a story or organize the Spring Fling. Oh how I hated “That Mother” because she reminded me of everything I wasn’t. In the office there was always some new female executive with “no commitments” at home who could work later, take on more projects and travel abroad.
I sat across the table in the boardroom and glared at “Miss No Commitments“ thinking, “Get pregnant already! Let’s see how you manage that!” The reality was that there was nothing wrong with “That Mother” or “Miss No Commitments.” They were simply being who they were. The unfortunate thing is I was not being who I was. This constant yet imaginary competition was like running a race with all you have in you only to stop right before the finish line. I could not win! There would never be a medal in my hands for top female executive or mother of the year.
Some days as the alarm clock went off and I climbed out of bed, stepped over stuffed bears, squeaky things and those STUPID wooden blocks (which by the way hurt like heck when you stepped on them), I began to resent the fact that I was a mother. This resentment was not because I did not love my children, but because I wanted more from life than just being a mother. I loved the boardroom! I loved budgets and EBITDA (Earning Before Interest Taxes Depreciation and Amortization)! The feeling I got walking through the airport with my laptop bag on my shoulder and a tasty, tall, Cinnamon Dulce latte from Starbucks in my hand, while the sound of my stilettos tapped to the pace of my life was better than sex for me!
How exciting it was to sit in the room with middle aged men and provide the solution to their multi-million dollar problem! However, I always came down from my high when I looked at my children.Having a blended family of 13 is a job within itself. As book bags were jam packed with overdue slips and planners went unsigned, I knew that I could be fired from this job and replaced with t.v., the Internet, sex, drugs and rock and roll! This job was clearly more important. (Why can’t I bake cookies too?) On a flight from Tampa to L.A., 30,000 feet in the air I came to my senses. I grabbed my journal out of my laptop bag and began to write. In that journal I wrote a top ten list of what being a mother meant to me.
- My children know that I love them.
- My children can trust me to be there, and to tell them the truth.
- My children are healthy.
- My children know,fear and have a lasting relationship with God.
- My children value education.
- I am my children’s first role model.
- I demonstrate my value for diversity to my children.
- I remove all limits from their lives so that they believe they can achieve their dreams.
- I prepare my children for the darkness that lurks in the world.
- I enjoy being a mother and am excited that God chose me for the job.
Then I made a top ten list of what being an executive meant to me.
- I have earned the privilege to have a flexible schedule to help me balance work and family.
- I use my time at work wisely so that I can have my time at home.
- I do not procrastinate!
- I keep myself one step ahead of my boss and anticipate his/her needs.
- I empower my staff through delegation and education.
- I stay abreast of what is changing in my industry.
- I develop and execute vision in a way that is easy for my team to embrace and move forward.
- My boss knows that my family is a priority and I am not afraid of having that conversation.
- Multi tasking is not my style. I need to be where I am.
- I can and will TURN OFF MY BLACKBERRY! This is called establishing boundaries.
And just for kicks and giggles, #11 on both lists was to stop hating “That Mother” and “Miss No Commitments.” They had nothing to do with who I am as a mother or executive. What God has for me is for me. After completing my lists and DEFINING what being a mother and executive meant to me, Powermommy was birthed. I keep both of these lists in front of me as a compass to direct me through the uncharted waters of being Powermommy.
It is very important to define what being a mother is to you and how it relates to the other roles in your life. When your standard is set by you, you can adjust it as necessary. Starting with your own definition enables you to win and removes the pressure of comparing yourself to someone you are not meant to be! Proverbs 3:15-16 She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.