“Over-parenting or fostering dependence, as she describes bailout behavior, has the potential to undermine children’s personal confidence and robs them of the grit they’ll need to succeed in the real world, after they’ve left the safe bubble of home.”
I will tell you, I never remember my parents bringing something I forgot to school. They were at work, at one point in elementary school my mom was teaching at my very school. She was not going to leave to bring something I forgot. As my dad would have told me: “Tough luck.” He was not going to go out of his way to take care of things that were mine to remember. That was my responsibility. He never thought of it as “letting me fail.” He just knew I would learn the hard way to remember — whatever the consequences of my choices.
Change happens for us all every day. We do not always realize how much change hits us on a day-to-day basis, often because of how we handle the change. At some level we all have a bit of dislike to change. Some individuals are more flexible than others, some are more set in their ways or routines, and yet others relish the freedom and excitement of having things constantly changing in life.
Whatever level of tolerance we have for change, we often do not have a choice of if it happens to us. Whether that means changes at work, at home, with our family, there is change that happens by choice and change that we would rather not come close to with a ten foot pole. These past few weeks for me have been emotional to one extent (thank you hormones) and a little nerve-racking on another level. I know I am not the first woman to have a baby, and I know (because everyone tells you) that my life is about to change in numerous ways. Some of those changes will be amazing, and some will knock me on my ass.
I have to say that what has been hardest (besides my body no longer being mine, the endless peeing, and little to no sleep because of the endless peeing) has been being a professional woman with a team. When you read about others that go on maternity leave, they talk about the baby side of it, but what they do not really talk often about is what it is like for the working mom. I have been working since I was 9 years old. I had a paper route, and babysat kids in the neighborhood. This means that I have been working non-stop for the last 28 years. The most time I have taken off (other than a period when I was laid off), is the two weeks I took for my wedding/honeymoon. I have never not worked for a longer period than that.
Now, judge me all you want, as I think some mothers might — when I say it is going to be hard for me to be away from work. There are some pretty involved and intense projects happening in the coming months and, while I have the most amazing team, it does not make it easy for me to be away from it all. I have poured my heart into the work and my team, and having a child does not necessarily change my dedication to my work. Sure, some of my priorities will change when I meet Mini Conk, but I also want to raise a son that not only understands the importance of hard work, but also sees that I have an identity that is different from just being a mom.
Folks rarely talk about how hard it is for a working mom, instead I see more judgement that my place as a mom is at home with my son. Why should I have to choose, and why should I be judged for how I want to live my life? As more and more women have leadership positions at companies, not only do the rights for women having children need to change, so does the behavior for how we treat women that work and want to do both.
Boundaries. Some of us are good at setting them and others are not. I ebb and flow in my stance on boundaries. It depends on the situation and it depends on who else is involved. What I do know is that each and every situation I am in creates the moment to decide how I am going to handle my own boundaries. There are different levels of boundaries we must monitor on a day-to-day basis.
Maybe we have a family member that asks too much of us and we always say yes, or maybe it is how they treat us, thinking that there is only one way or one answer to a problem. It could be that they completely disregard our thoughts and opinions and think about what they want, or what they think we should do with our life, never understanding that we have to make our own decisions. A friend might take too much from us in an unbalanced way. A child that has us wrapped around their finger. A boss that does not allow no for an answer.
All of these can be challenging situations depending on who is on the other end of the conversation. Often I think that others do not know how their demands on us affect us. They expect others to have their own filters, to be able to say no when they hit their limit. That is unrealistic though. Love, guilt, compassion, and never learning to say no have a strong hold on us. Often we do not want to disappoint those we love, so we say yes, we move forward with no boundaries and suffer the consequences. Whether that means we allow too much on our plate, we get burned out, or we find that we become resentful.
Speaking up for what you want and what you are willing to do means you create the life that feels right to you. Even if that means upsetting an in-law, sibling, friend, or co-worker. You are only you if you speak up for what you need. That might mean saying no. It might mean saying yes — but with specific limits. At the very least take time to listen to your inner voice and decide what you truly want. Then you can battle the naysayers in your mind, speak up for yourself, and ultimately create the boundaries you need. Definitely not easy, but doable?