Monday, September 21, 2015

Sometimes You Have to Break a Few Eggs

Hey, look what happened to me this morning as I was in a hurry to make the kids some breakfast! Splat. Broken egg. Wasted food. Wasted time cleaning it up. Clumsy mommy. Luckily, I still had a few more eggs in the carton and as I stood there watching them cook, I thought of this old saying...
"If you want to make an omelette, you're going to have to break a few eggs."
In addition to being literally true, it's a good reminder for activist moms like me who are juggling other roles like "mommy" and "wife." 

A work in progress
I've noticed that on days that I'm the best homemaker, I'm not the best advocate. When I'm on a roll being Best Mom, chances are high that I'm not simultaneously winning the award for Most Empathic Wife. Whenever I'm really killing it with my advocacy work (having a number of face to face meetings in a month or taking a trip to DC), that's usually when my husband and I have the most disagreements about household cleanliness. When I'm totally on top of everything and getting compliments from my husband on how organized I am...those are the times when I've not written a single word on my book-in-progress for weeks. It's great, of course, to feel appreciated for being an attentive mother and homemaker, but those aren't the only things I want to be. What a bummer to realize the only time I excel at homemaking is when I'm blatantly hiding and procrastinating on working on the biggest, hardest project in my life (i.e. the book-in-progress).

This used to depress me...until I started paying attention to what was happening to other moms around me and realized I wasn't alone. I started hearing more and more stories like mine, especially from mothers who were still navigating careers along with motherhood. Many of them aren't advocates, but a lot of us are thinking the same thing anyway about our multiple-identity lives.

Meredith Boggess shared some of her thoughts with me about making the transition to motherhood. "The hardest adjustment for me to make was to not try to be the best at everything. It just isn't possible," she observed. Meredith is a successful Director of Marketing at Buckingham Family of Financial Services, a wealth advisory firm based in the St Louis area. She continued,
"Being the best employee, the best wife, the best mom, the best's all too much to keep up with all the time. To try to do all of that stresses out the kids and the spouse as well as the mom." 
When we talked, it really hit me that I could get much farther by dropping the word "best" out of these inner-voice conversations. Of course, I'm not the first person to figure this out and that's why you can go out and read a book called "Good Enough Parenting" or a blog called "

These may not be examples of the calmest 
ducks, but they're cute!
For the record, every time I see Meredith, she's always a calm and very well put together lady. Which makes me think of another quote that comes up on the internet a lot (cited as a quote from many different sources, including actor Michael Caine): 
"Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like the dickens underneath!" 
Voila! A delicious masterpiece!

I don't think there's ever any mom that ever has everything totally under control. But I do think the thing that keeps me moving forward is to keep my eye on the goal. Some balls may be dropped. Some eggs may be broken both literally and figuratively. But for the most part, my family is able to bounce back from my missteps as long as everyone is communicating and trying to be as kind to each other as we can be...and together we are saving lives and ending poverty. A beautiful omelette, indeed!