Friday, November 18, 2016

When I See Me in You

We are hitting the three month mark since I went back to work full time with three young children at home. If you follow any of my ups and downs it’s definitely been an up and down experience. Some think social media is the reason for women’s drive to want to do it all, have it all, be it all. However, I think for some of us that drive exists long before we’re aware of social media.

I attended my oldest daughter’s parent teacher conference this week. As a parent I couldn’t be more proud. The teacher gave her raving report of a strong work ethic, with perfection tendencies, a kind heart that is friendly to everyone but respectful of authority, and she's an “own her behavior and mistakes” kind of kid. The girl is seven but I have no doubt the child will succeed in life. But at the same time I watched her walk out onto the basketball court the weekend before to try a sport she’s been bugging me to try for a year now. Just like with the past two sports she’s tried and eventually found success with that first attempt out there she came off the court upset with herself and frustrated and with a  bit of what I considered a poor attitude because well, she’s not that great at it yet. She didn't meet her own expectations. She’s intimidated by older, better kids and self conscious of her own skills.

This girl is so many of us grown successful women at seven years old. That drive, that passion to succeed, to do it all, be it all is present way before we hit adulthood, motherhood, and are ever aware of the window into others’ lives on social media. As I’m giving her a “talk” on the way home in the car after this first attempt at basketball it’s like a smack of reality in the face that I could be talking to myself.

I don’t want to kill her drive or her passion, anymore than I want to kill my own. However, I know all too well as these last three months have shown me once again, that sometimes we can’t do it all, be it all. That realization is blow to our self confidence.  I told her she’s not going to walk out onto a field or court and just be great. She’s going to struggle. It’s going to be hard. And that’s OKAY I told her. She’ll still be great despite her struggles, despite the rough starts, despite the poor game performances sometimes. Just like I’ll still be great; just like you’ll still be great.

But we as women and unfortunately even as little girls we are more times than not our harshest critics. No one sets the bar higher for us than we do ourselves. I think that’s okay, but it’s also okay to realize we have our limits when we reach them. Reaching them don’t make us failures either, and this is something at seven years I feel a sense of desperation for her to know and understand now. Going out there to give our best or try something new, but falling short isn’t the end all be all. There’s so much more to our greatness than that failed moment. Just as I told my daughter  it’s just a moment and it doesn't change all the other great things that make her her. Or me me. Or you you.

So to the mothers or the seven year old girls that watch us I say this:

It is our passion for the things we love, the commitment and high expectations we hold for ourselves, the getting back up and trying again when we fall short of our own or even others' expectations that are the greatest parts of us. That greatness even on the worst days and moments is still there. Don't ever forget that.




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