I feel like there are a lot of us out there. The women that had extraordinary childhoods with incredible mothers who told us we could rule the world. The hardest part for me becoming a mom was the absolute fear that I wouldn’t be as good as my mom. It was/is terrifying. My mom decided to stay home with me after I was born. She was planning on going back to work but quickly told my dad that she just couldn’t do it. On paper it financially wasn’t going to work out. But they prayed and somehow all ends met. We grew up in the traditional sense. Dad worked hard and mom ran everything else. She paid the bills, made every meal, sewed costumes, dried tears, videoed our plays we wrote and packed down the minivan for family vacations. When you hear about a family backbone my mom was the poster mom. She could have created Pinterest, Mint.com and written children psychology books.
When I graduated as valedictorian of our high school everyone wanted to know what I was going to do. ”What are you going to be, Alicia?!” I always said what was appropriate but thought in my mind, “A mom like my mom”.
Side note: Women are seen as boastful, mean and having ulterior motives if they speak of their accomplishments. If you’ve read “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg you know what I am talking about. It took me a long time to write the sentence about being valedictorian. I’ve spent my entire life down playing anything I’ve earned with the goal of being liked by other people. I am making an effort to acknowledge myself more in hopes of being part of the culture shift to equality and building other women up.
My mom always told me I could do anything. Literally anything I wanted. So I did. But when Annalise came along I became torn. Completely torn into two halves. First, Chris and I had started our own business. I love what I do. We are constantly growing and learning. But now I am a mom. How can I be just like my mom if I work too?! And boy oh boy does everyone have an opinion about what you “should” do. Working moms couldn’t fathom me giving up my career. Stay at home moms couldn’t believe I wouldn’t “just let Chris take care of the business”. Every moment I spent working I thought about my mom playing with us girls in the floor and dancing around the living room to the Body Guard soundtrack. When I went for a walk with Annalise I worried about an email I hadn’t sent yet.
I still don’t have this figured out and I don’t really have to. But I am becoming more okay with doing what I want to do not what I think I should be doing. I want these things:
1. I want to be a strong woman. I want to be part of the movement for women to be leaders in the work force. And not just professionally but helping others gain confidence and pride in themselves. You earned it woman! Now shine on!
2. I want to make huge messes and have dance parties with my daughter with my phone on silent. I want to record bike parades and load down the car with snacks for a road trip. I want to be able to stop working when I want to be present with her. Not half there mentally.
3. I want to stop saying, “I work from home” when people ask what I do. Yes, I do work from home. But I am an entrepreneur who owns a marketing business right next to her husband. I earned this by working just as hard as he did. I am equal parts entrepreneur and mother and I kick butt at both.
4. I want to tell my daughter that she can be anything she wants to be.
So if you are one of the in-betweeners – the women who grew up with a strong mother who pushed you to do anything you want but you’re stuck feeling like you can’t be as good of a mother as she was – hang in there. We can figure this out. It isn’t easy. And we will make mistakes and wrong decisions. But if it helps… there are more of us out there than you think… and we rock!