As a blogger, I’m fortunate to attend a lot of events. Events that have a speaker. Who’s a mom. Who’s motivational. Yes, I should be the most motivated blogger on the planet these days.
But last week, two of those motivational mamas had me slamming on the brakes. In a good way.
The first was at Disney Social Media Moms Celebration On the Road. (My friend, Finding BonggaMom, wrote a great recap of the event here, for those of you who are interested. It was a wonderful event!) The keynote speaker was Mindee Doney, founder of Boogie Wipes and Juice Box Consulting. She promised us “truth bombs” and “magnificence”. And, while I love a lady with a sense of humor (and a cute dress), I wasn’t sure how many more truths I could be bombed with, given my three years of attending similar events for bloggers. (It seems I might be getting jaded, my friends.)
She started in on her story and it was just as I had expected. She was just a mom with a baby who had a runny nose and an attitude problem. A tissue wouldn’t do, so she put a little saline spray on it, and, voilà! Boogie Wipes were born. Mindee found a partner, the product took to the shelves of stores everywhere, and this little mom was going big time. But then came a truth bomb. In the midst of all of this, she had let her kids down, her marriage had fallen apart, and she’d even had to take a step back from the business, which — in spite of promises and legal agreements — left her with nothing when the company was sold for millions.
I sat there wondering what I would be doing if that were me. Heck, motherhood has me feeling raw — r-a-w — these days. I can barely handle the disappointment of being late for my kids’ dental appointments, for goodness sake. So, then, and only then, did I really start listening to Mindee. Because this wasn’t simply a get-rich-quick talk. This was real.
Yes, Mindee got real. Like tears-pouring-down-my-face real. (Did I mention I’m feeling raw these days?) She made all of us face the simple truth that we have to accept who we are. Now. There’s no going back. And being a mom is h-a-r-d. But the only way to truly thrive as a mom, is to dig in and do it. To embrace ourselves and our strengths. (No Pinterest for me, I guess.) To empower our families, friends, and support network to help us — without worrying about if they do it “right”. (I think my village will appreciate this.) To expect that good things will happen, even if we work smarter and take time to really focus on family. (I’m trying, my friends!)
While I have three pages of notes, I’ll simply share a few things Mindee said (loosely quoted — I’m afraid I’m a slow writer) as food for thought for you. Picture a beautiful, energetic, heartfelt woman, if you will…
We go. We do. We pack. We buckle. We organize. We clean up… But we also witness discovery. Fascination. Whimsical glee. Tenderness. Caring. Compassion. Growth. Newness. Transitions.
There are endless things a mom has to do, and we can’t all be supermom at everything, but we can choose the areas where we WILL be a supermom.
While your kids do need you, find the moments they’re really just being lazy and empower them to do whatever it is they think they need your help with.
Start as you mean to go. People’s expectations of how you work/volunteer/etc are your own fault.
Good stuff, right? Oh, and the kicker? She’s got another product that’s about to come out. That’s right. She did it again. But with an entirely different approach so that she does the portion of the work she’s good at, while outsourcing the other parts. She’s figured out how to make it work so that she’s invested in her family and her company — each with its own time and focus.
Now that’s inspiring.
Then, last Friday, I was invited to a small blogger luncheon at Zuckerberg Media, home of Dot Complicated — an online newsletter helping families get the best out of technology. You may recognize the name Zuckerberg. It’s kind of a big one in the valley. And it’s about to become bigger, because Randi Zuckerberg (former head of marketing at Facebook) has got something pretty great going too.
After the small, but might team showed us around the studio (where I got to do a mock TV talk show interview with one of the hard-pressing SVMamas), about 15 of us — Randi included — sat around a table talking. To each other. With our phones off. You see, usually at blogging events, you’re spoken at, and encouraged to tweet like mad. After all, influencers (ha, that’s what they call people like me) are there to influence. And mad tweeting is a great measure of influence — and inspiration.
But let me tell you, this group of savvy women (some of my favorite bloggers were there), who usually sit side by side at events starring at a screen, they came alive. The conversation was insightful, humbling, and honest. We all admitted to our challenges with technology — be it an addiction or a fear of how our children do/will use it. And, while I did write a few things down because they were awesome insights, there was one moment that summed it all up for me.
Randi told us that after years as an executive for one of the hottest companies in the world (my words, not hers), when she was going to have a baby, she decided she needed a change. She offhandedly joked, saying something to the effect of, “So much for leaning in, I decided I needed to breathe in.” Yes. That’s exactly it. That’s what we all need. To breathe in.
That’s why I wrote a piece about my Summer Tech Resolutions for Dot Complicated. That’s why Mindee’s talk hit me with such impact. And that’s why, as I was sitting next to a woman who was way out of my league, I felt like I had a new friend.
Well, as the entrepreneurial mom of a two-year old, Randi is still one busy lady, but she’s also someone who seems to be getting it right. Sure, she’s dedicated to building her business, but she’s also someone who goes on a date with her husband cell-phone free, simply leaving the phone number of the restaurant for the sitter. She’s someone who lets her son cover her arm in wonderfully slimy snails. And she’s someone I can cheer for as an example of a successful woman — and mother.
So ladies reading this, rock on. In whatever you’re doing. Because I have no doubt whether it’s a mean cupcake, a DIY project that would make me drool, an ability to not look at your iPhone all day, or a kindness and patience that has other mothers falling to their knees, you’re doing something so awesome I can’t even believe it. And that, my friends, is reason to be proud of yourself.