By Lisa Cloud
I wear so many hats in my life – I’m a daughter, sister, caregiver, friend, employee, leggings lover – but the one I take the greatest pride in, well most days, is being a mom. Wanna know a little secret about me? Here’s some real talk for you – motherhood has knocked me down a few times. Okay, fine. A lot of times. It’s bruised my ego, heart, confidence, will, drive, spunk and so much more. I’m so Type A. Like really, really Type A. Did I mention that I’m Type A? I could sit here and list all of the Type A traits I possess, but will spare you the gritty details.
What isn’t a secret is that motherhood has changed me. I know you’re thinking well DUH – of course it’s changed you, lady – that’s part of motherhood. It’s less about you and more about the kids. Uh, yeah. I get it. I get it every single day. Especially when they insist on eating dinner every single night and doing their homework. Why are they so needy!?!? (That’s a joke by the way. My kids eat usually a homemade dinner every night AND do their homework. I said usually though sometimes it’s frozen pizza or delivery Chinese food. Time is of the essence, people).
While being a mother is hard at times, it’s easily one of most rewarding roles I’ve ever had. That’s so confusing, right? It’s actually made me learn a lot about myself and forced me to learn some very tough, yet valuable lessons that are applicable in every part of my life – especially in my career.
Allow me to present ‘5 Reasons Motherhood Has Helped Me Let It Go’. I’m sorry, not sorry if you have the Frozen song stuck in your head right now.
1. Ditch the idea of perfection. Everyone’s idea of perfection is different, right? One of my heaviest struggles with motherhood is that I’m a perfectionist. I have an idea of what most every situation should look like and if/when it doesn’t fit into that pretty little box then I can go into meltdown mode. Life isn’t perfect – you do your best and honestly, sometimes the best memories, laughs,work, projects and/or solutions come from imperfections. Be open to that. In the words of Vanilla Ice – ‘stop, collaborate and listen.’ Your best successes could come from those.
2. Ask for and accept help. Everyone wants to be supermom. It’s exhausting. Come talk to me around Valentine’s Day when it’s time for the class parties and I’m stalking Pinterest to find THE best homemade card. It happens, don’t judge me. I’m learning that it’s okay to send pre-made, store bought cards or letting Grandma help out because other things are more important and I can’t do not have enough hours in the day. There’s no harm in trusting your team/village/posse/people to lend a hand in whatever capacity possible. They wouldn’t be in your life if you couldn’t trust them or they didn’t add some type of value, right? As hard as it is, delegating is key these days. Asking someone on the team to use their solid skill set only makes life better. I promise.
3. Appreciate and grow from the struggles. We all struggle in some form or fashion. It’s just human nature. I’m learning to not beat myself up about what I can/can’t do and to celebrate what I can. I’m learning to use my struggles to change perspective and see a different side of the situation. This allows me to be more flexible and agile, thus not wasting the struggle but growing from it. That struggle might be a game-changer, hail-Mary or a key puzzle piece at some point down the road.
4. Pick your battles. This is a practiced art every single day in my house and life. Sometimes I want to go out guns blazing but honestly, as a mother and person – I AM WRONG. My way isn’t the only way. Being able to admit that is difficult too but I have to be strategic with my words and choices. I can’t argue with my almost 7 year-old when he can’t find his shoe but I know it’s right where he left it. I know this because as soon as I walk over to the hall closet, he’ll magically proclaim that he found. I’ll try not to be super annoyed that those three seconds could have been spent elsewhere but, I digress. If a client tells you they want XYZ on their project and won’t budge, then be creative giving them XYZ. It’s not always about what we want. There are other people to consider
5. Follow-up. Follow-up. Follow-up. I have to remind my kids to put their shoes on every morning. It’s true. One would think that they’d automatically put them on before walking out the door so they wouldn’t have to hear me ask the same questions over and over again. Nope. Motherhood has taught me not to assume something is getting done because 9 times out 10 —it’s not. It’s not a blatant sign of them not wanting to do it, it’s because something else is more appealing and shinier, grabbing their attention span from the task at hand. We’re human. It happens. Taking a few seconds out the day to follow-up can save one’s sanity. Trust me.
Motherhood is different for every woman and there’s no one-size-fits-all model. There’s no manual. It’s about the individual, what’s important and works for them. For me, it’s about small details, realness, transparency, openness and humor while learning to let go of things I can’t control. It’s trial and error. Lots of tears, laughter and side-eyes – from both mom and kids. I mean, if I can’t laugh at myself then who can I laugh at? It’s not like anyone is keeping score but just in case – Motherhood 948, Lisa 10.
You always were a good writer and you just proved it again. (And you’re probably a good mother too!) Miss you Lisa, continue with what you’re doing.