OHBD 2015

OHBD 2015

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

To: Superhero Mom

"Mom Rap"
Hey, you’re the best mom, and
no one can do your job, like you.
When they try, you just say,
“No, I’m the best.”
And they go shoo, but there
should be more focus on you,
for all the hard work you do.
I have one son that is best described as a enigma wrapped in a conundrum. He has trouble with many simple things like tying his shoes or not spilling his lunch down his shirt. But he can do complex math and reads well beyond his grade level. He often loses himself in books and in his imagination - a bit like you see in this picture.

He also is moved by music. He can memorize entire songs including the accent of the singer. He is partial to songs that tells a story with distinctive rhythms. He also enjoys including lots of enthusiastic hand motions. Audience is optional.

Although a chatty child by nature, he struggles to express himself verbally when he feel deeply about something. In those instances, he will write. I have found notes he wrote not directed to anyone. I am not sure but they appear to be his attempt to voice what is going on in his head where his oral abilities fail him.

One time, he walked over to where I was working at my desk. He put a folded 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper on my desk next to my laptop and walked away. I picked it up to see what it was. The front of the sheet said, “To: Superhero Mom.” I opened it and inside was the “Mom Rap” above. As I folded the sheet after reading, I saw his self confident closing on the back side – “From: Awesome Son.”
I may not always understand him but it appears he understands a bit about me. I felt my heart swell and my eyes fill. What he wrote included themes us working moms could do well to remember:
1. You are a Superhero to your kids
2. You are the best
3. No one can do the job like you
4. You should give yourself credit
5. You should be acknowledged
6. What you do is hard work

Here is to you “Superhero Moms” out there! This Mom Rap is shared and dedicated to you all. From: your Awesome Kids.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Just Start

There are things I learned over the years I wish I had appreciated earlier. One of those is to “just start.” It sounds deceptively simple. But it is hard. I am generally a perfectionist and want to do it well. I wait for the right moment or enough time – both are generally concepts rather than reality in my life. Motherhood provided a good example the power of just starting. As I blogged about previously, I did try to wait for "the right time" there too.

Before I became a mom, I was working as an associate at a large Chicago law firm. I was judged in large part on my billable hours. I was also relatively newly married. I never felt there were sufficient hours in the day to accomplish what was expected at work and spend quality time with my husband. About three years into that job, I had my first son. Then out of pure, unadulterated necessity (presented in the package of my precious baby boy), I no choice but to find minutes and hours that didn’t exist before to be the mom I wanted to be. I needed to be proactive to make it happen. I requested a flexible work arrangement. I found ways to be much more efficient and brutally prioritize how I spent my time.

But I realized at some point the previously impossible had become doable (at least most days). Other smaller choices I made followed this same path. I loved to write when I was growing up. I had grandiose ideas for science fiction books. I would plan out all the chapters. However, I abandoned creative writing once I headed off to college. I had in the back of my mind “some day I will still write a book.” I really didn’t think I could write for myself on top of my work and now three kids. But adopting our daughter from Ethiopia truly moved me and I wanted to give back. So one day, I followed a compulsion to start to pay it forward and wrote my first blog.  It was around her first Halloween with us. Pictured is my inspiration to “just start” writing. I found the experience and response immensely satisfying, Over the past few years, I expanded into more blogs and a column.

I constantly experiment to find when I am most creative so the words flow out with minimal effort. The act of putting thoughts into a concrete form helps me sort through and understand issues otherwise swirling around in my head. I can’t do it as frequently as I want and it is not the same as penning a best seller . . .but it is good and it is enough for now. I constantly need to remind myself of my successes each time my mind says, "But you don’t have time . . "

If I have passion about the effort, there is a way. And I found doing so provides unexpected fringe benefits. Blogging helped me as a mother examine my chosen path, find enjoyment in more of the little moments, and better connect and understand my kids. I draft professional documents in my current role so resuming creative writing (with help from good editors) and reading lots of others writing beefed up my skills. I can now write better and faster.

For me, the biggest hurdle was getting over my own, self imposed, mental obstacles. Each time I do it, I find success. I still need to pace myself and set realistic expectations. But once I start, I know I am on my way and the excitement propels me forward. It's akin to the feeling I had when I first rode a bike and my dad let go. “Wow - I am doing it!!!” And I wanted nothing more than to keep going.