Can I tell you a story?
When my first guy was born, my mom came to visit and stay with me for the first couple of weeks. I was SO desperate for her help, her comfort, because – as I’ve said – my mom is one of the most amazing mothers out there. And so for the first few days after his birth, I revelled in his sweetness and waited with baited breath for my mom to come visit and share in his wonder and also arm me with all of the tools that I needed to tackle this new project.
Mom arrived. And let me tell you something. It was AWFUL.
From day one she told me that, while he was napping, I should be spending my time doing little chores around the house, like making dinner (for my poor husband, who was working so hard…), and tidying up the common areas, and reorganizing cupboards (I am not kidding you). And so I gamely went along, trying my hardest to keep up as my bleary mind fell apart at the non-sleep tasks. And then she told me that I should only feed my baby every three hours, not on-demand as I had been doing (this might work for other babies. NOT my voracious feeder). And then when he cried and cried and I cried along with him and we all fell apart, she said “well I just don’t know, all of you children were just wonderful and perfect.”
So goes the memory of the old and untired.
So, in service to my sister-friends, here are a few things that I wish my mom had told me. Not specifically about raising kids – that’s in a different book (currently in progress). Nope, these are the fundamentals, the things that I needed to square away about myself before I could ever be a great mom, a great employee, a great wife (because for reals I am), a great CEO, or a great community member. These are kind of the steps 1-4, and they were the ones that I wasn’t very good at – and that I learned from my fellow sister-friends while stumbling along. I give them here on a platter in the hopes that it will help more fab ladies, and get to them in a more seamless way than my own stumbling path.
RELATIONSHIPS ARE KING
Ok so step 1 is that relationships are literally the most important thing ever. I write more about this in our Becoming Superwoman (1.0) book, and the crux of this step is this: we were all made to be in relationships with each other. Most people say step #1 is to find yourself, and while there is merit to spending time on that as well, I’ve personally learned that relationships are the first place to go. Why? Because relationships are like a mirror of our souls – and frankly, it’s awfully hard to get to know our own souls without some kind of mirror.
IMAGE IS IMPORTANT
Recently I read in Kissing the Dark that D.W. Winnicott, a well-known child psychologist, talks about our “potential space” – this area that is neither interior nor exterior to us, and is instead somehow both. And I’ve found in my life that my “potential space” – or image, as I call it – is almost like an aura that I work to intentionally cultivate around me. It is a space that invites others in to play with me, and also reaches out to play with others in turn. This image, this area of potentiality, has proven to be instrumental in how I am received by the world – and, of course, that is because it reflects how I receive myself in this world. So Image is important. And we women often neglect that to our peril.
CREATE YOUR OWN VOCATION…AND LEAVE A TRAIL
Growing up, vocation to me meant the job in an office, with a briefcase and fantastic pencil skirts and a paycheck. And as I’ve rolled through this life, I’ve come to a place where I think of it as so much more. Vocation, to me, is the thing that is calling to you to devote your energy, your time, your love to in this moment. It is the thing that society, the Universe, the culture you live in is calling from you because it values values values that contribution that only you can make to the society. And for me that meant six years of being a wife and mother and community leader, and can I tell you something sister-friends? Society values the poop out of that. And oh, let me tell you, we are working on building an empire for getting paychecks into the hands of those workers. Because I’ve found that vocation isn’t defined by four office walls or a box of any kind, and is only defined as the thing society values in your gifts. And so…forget what everyone else thinks. Blaze your own vocation path. And leave a trail for others.
SPARKS IGNITE WHEN YOU LEAD YOUR LIFE WITH LOVE
As I say in the book, my life changed when my sister told me I needed to be a charismatic leader for my family. It was in that moment that I realized that I needed to work on myself – and, pretty much, figure out all of the above – in order to slide into homebase when I’m 120, fist bumping to a life well led. And so I started figuring out this leadership thing, and what it meant to even be a leader of my own life. And sister-friends? It was the moment that I started doing so with love for myself, for my own unique and multi-faceted diamond, that the world answered and started igniting for me. Your life is worth sparks and fireworks and life and passion. Conquer the first three and sprinkle on a bit of self-love? Forget about it. That’s when Superwomen take flight.