Hello beautiful Readers. I’m fired up, so I need to dive in. Let’s dissect something together. That word…”just”. I’ve done some reflecting and it seems to imply a minimizing tone to the word that comes next. A simplicity even. Possibly strike a patronizing tone to something like, say… what you do. I know a great deal of women who, when sharing that they are Stay at Home Moms, they are met with almost condolences. “Just a Mom”?! Well, screw that. I’m here to tell you, you aren’t just anything.
BY DEFINITION, THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT IT MEANS
For shits and giggles, I went and googled the definition of the word, just. Turns out it has many uses; but the one that I’m referring to is in adverb form and is described as this:
- barely, by a little (similar to narrowly)
- simply; only; no more than (similar to merely)
THAT is the tone in which a person is using when they look at a woman and say “You’re just a Mom?” Or even when we talk about ourselves and say, “I’m just a Mom”.
Why don’t we drop the JUST, because it is not a job you can do barely, a little bit or simply! It takes a toll on us physically, mentally, emotionally and entirely. And why wouldn’t it?! We are raising the future generation. Our children will become the adults of tomorrow, and when a woman chooses to focus on that completely, she should NEVER be made to feel as though she should be ashamed, or is wasting her talents.
YOU AREN’T JUST ANYTHING
It’s taken me some time to appreciate and own this statement. I had a job in the “real” world for 12 years. It defined me and the value I added at the workplace (with the job description) and at home (with the paycheque). I struggled big time finding value in “just” being a mom. But with age, thank goodness, comes wisdom, and perhaps some clarity. I’m here to let every woman reading this know, you aren’t just anything.
MOMMIN’ AIN’T EASY
That’s a cute, catchy way to explain how being “just a mom” is incredibly hard. But Mommin’ also seems to be a near death sentence, to a traditional business / office setting, and continuing to be able to see the value of the women that work there. As though, the need for a bit more flexibility in a schedule, is such a stretch to extend, that they would rather minimize that woman’s workload, or make her so irrelevant, that she is either let go or leaves.
Some prefer to start over with a brand new employee, instead of honor the service and respect the woman and her tenure. It’s as though, some of the decision makers are forgetting they themselves may have had a mother, who would do whatever it took to take care of her family, and stretch herself thinner than anyone else to prove it. Imagine the loyalty and mental health a business would promote amongst employees if they knew needing to take their child to the doctor or even a sick day, wouldn’t mean alienation or equal the title of unreliable?
THE UPSIDE OF COVID19
Turns out, COVID-19 is the social experiment that corporations would have never volunteered for; but were forced to be a part of. It showed all those traditional business models that insisted you be at a desk, physically in person, to be good at your job, there’s another way. There are PLENTY of workers who did NOT do good at their job in that environment; but because they showed up on time, every day, they were deemed as such.
Mommin’ is a 24/7 job. And turns out, when you give those Moms the opportunity to work from home, keep their jobs, make sure their family is safe, and be able to contribute to them personally and financially, you might get a more dedicated, efficient and happy woman working for you, with a loyalty you cannot put a price on. They will be stretched beyond imagination but they will get shit done.
On the flip side, women might also realize they could be amazing at building their OWN ideas / products / services. Unpack a passion in some of that “spare” (I use that term loosely, and with my classic eye roll) time, when timelines aren’t looming like the 9-5 workday had. Maybe they approach challenges in a more creative and out of the box way, than the traditional thinking.
If we are going to start with flexible work schedules that the world has been screaming for way before Covid-19 (hello technology!), why not include a more open minded philosophy towards productivity and what success is.
YOU AREN’T JUST ANYTHING, YOU ARE EVERYTHING
This is to all of those women out there who are struggling with identifying their “worth”. Justifying their choice (should you be so lucky to be able to have it) to stay home. Feeling like you are supposed to be doing more; but hating the thought of not being with your children as their primary caregiver. Being squeezed by the imaginary clock saying you have to hurry up and be something qualitative to a complete stranger, should they ask what it is you do.
You. Are. Everything. You. Need. To. Be. You are amazing! I guess what I’m saying is the women who decide to stay home and be moms, or maybe even start up a passion project they never would have had time for before, or work full time with hired help at home are ALL amazing. EACH of those scenarios deserve as much credit and respect as the other.
CONFIDENCE OVER CONFILICTION
Be confident in your choice! Choose it, own it (whether it’s short or long term) and step into it with your whole self, instead of spend time being in conflict with whether it is enough, or not. That can quickly turn into resentment, as our ego likes us to think quite a lot of ourselves.
You will either resent your job or resent your family, and they in turn will feel and respond to that. You can’t live a full and happy life confidently, if you are resenting the very thing you chose to build and grow.
EGO LIKES TO HAVE A SAY
When I left my “real job” for good in 2008, I not only left that job, we moved cities. I lost the connection to my work, my work friends, my other friends, my conveniences and it was further from family, with a toddler and a baby on the way. So my dear readers, I know what it feels like to be lost.
My ego wanted me to feel useless, and like a wasted talent, floating around in the “new normal” of “just being a mom”. When I myself, grew up with a Stay At Home Mom and wanted nothing more than to be able to be that for my children. Here it was handed to me, and I was ungrateful.
To the point of postpartum depression after our second, and wondering how to feel proud of my contribution to the family when none of it was financial. Instead of making money, the best I could do was find ways to be much more budget conscious and frugal. SAVING money didn’t seem “recognizable” enough, which is crazy!
What I was forgetting, was there were two brand new, perfectly imperfect humans my husband and I created out of love, who didn’t sign up for a mom who didn’t think they were “enough” for me to feel successful. Now all these years later, they are by far my greatest achievement.
DON’T WISH IT ALL AWAY
This is in no way a statement to endure guilt. Some moments (like those AWFUL sleepless nights, colic, etc) we DO wish away, I sure did; but I’m talking big picture here. Being a Mom is a gift we cherish. However we became parents, whether the “old fashioned way”, via adoption, or by way of incredible science and technology, we need to not see our kids as an interruption to our “real” success; but the path to it.
Being a mom makes you resilient, a problem solver, efficient, effective, productive, exhausted, creative and inventive. It makes you think of things differently and be inspired by unexpected things. It makes you a savvy consumer and an expert on what works best for your family.
Being a mom who starts her own business, you understand your demographic, you appreciate the analytics and data to make educated decisions; but you also trust your gut. You know your voice and how mindset is AS important as strategy. Finding a way to fit a lot in, is your speciality, and so is setting boundaries.
THERE IS LITERALLY NO COMPETITION HERE
When you work for yourself or an organization, while you are raising a family, you find that boundaries NEED to be set, and you aren’t afraid to guard them with your life. There is no race, and there is no prize for Best Working Mom, or Best Stay At Home Mom, or anything in between.
What matters is that those in your immediate family know that everything you are doing, is for you and them. You make a point to be present with them, whenever you can. Your children see you trying new things, scary things, and still feeling connected to you. They see you go through the highs and lows of working, and appreciate they are hard to navigate sometimes.
The world they live in will be full of these flexible, online opportunties, where they can live and work anywhere, so to see you taking the risk and working for the reward, is incredibly powerful. It also shows the road is not straight or narrow; but still worth fighting for.
THE NOW IS NOT YOUR ONLY TIME TO SHINE
My friend, if, for one moment, you have ever sat back and felt like you’ve taken a sharp fall down Success Mountain, because you chose to be home and raise your children, I ask you to give yourself grace. You are not defined by the years you spent working to make someone, or some corporation, successful.
That was valuable for sure, and you honed your skills in a unique way, no doubt about it. But what if you just saw that as a step to prepare you for something else. I just can’t help but think there is great satisfaction waiting for you in life; but if we keep looking backwards, we will completely miss what’s coming.
I heard a quote once, and it was something like the rear view mirror is there to check back quickly, so it’s small; but the windshield is for what’s in front of you, and it’s huge, so you can catch a glimpse of everything.
I want you to read this and then smash the stereotypes you find yourself thinking about. Not one single person in the world, has an identical path in life as anyone else. So truly, only YOU know what is right for you and your family. So when YOU make the decision to do whatever you decide to do, it can’t be FOR anyone but you.
Who cares what anyone has to say about the way you choose to spend your time? If it brings value to you and your family, to bring you YOUR definition of success and happiness, then there is no need to explain. Drown out the noise. Get down to business. Raise your babies. Get help. Get organized. Time block. Focus. Rest. Plan time away from everything. Self care. Stop comparing. Step into your greatness. Whether you are 20, 30, 40 or 50+, there is abundance waiting for you. Do not get distracted by pining for what “could have / should have” been, you future awaits. And it’s not “just” good, it’s going to be great!
PS…at the end of the day, and ultimately, life, the most valuable use of our time and talents will be what is spent with and on, your people.