Growing up I was told I can be anything.
A teacher, a school psychologist, an entrepreneur, a writer.
So I worked hard, went to school, earned my degree and landed a job I loved.
Then I got pregnant and my life deviated from the plan I had worked so hard to lay out for myself.
I found myself on a mommy track where the road is anything but straight, views of the horizon are not always clear and there are hills, sharp turns and plateaus. Becoming a mom to first one, then two girls, has caused new, unforeseen, ambitions to bloom within. It’s not enough to just want things for my girls – I need to demonstrate the traits and characteristics I want them to learn, lead by actions that will actually back up my words.
So many times I’ve asked my daughter to be patient, yet I’m the most impatient person I know.
I aspire to show my daughters how to practice patience by actually being patient myself. I want to have the ability to kneel by my daughter as she attempts to dress herself, not rushing her or doing it for her, but staying in the moment until she asks for help.
I aspire to be strong and assertive, the way I want them to be. Because I want them to be leaders and risk takers, to be inclusive and non-judgmental. I aspire to demonstrate those traits myself, whether that be taking a risk at work or showing them how having your voice be heard over the din of clashing opinions or naysayers is empowering.
I aspire to be the mom who knows when it’s time to have fun; who, rather than focus on all the chores or errands that need to be run, leads a game of freeze dance or hide and seek. I want to show them how much dancing in the rain, jumping in puddles and playing in dirt can be. But I also want to show them how to have fun while also being responsible.
I want to be brave, sensitive, kind and strong, just as I want them to be. So perhaps what I need to do is pull them into my arms instead of send them to time-out during a heated tantrum to show that empathy and kindness can cure many things.
I want them to understand that everyone – including them – are human and capable of mistakes. Sometimes they will hurt others or make bad decisions, have their hearts broken by those they love, and feel like the world is crashing around them.
But I want them to understand that they will rebound and learn from these mistakes, and be stronger, hopefully better, because of them.
I want them to be open to experiencing life and love, to not be afraid if their plans go awry or standstill paralyzed by fear. I want them to be assertive and mindful of their surroundings and those they trust. I want them to live life knowing I will be here for them to listen, to offer advice or suggestions, to enforce punishments and tell them when they are wrong.
More than anything I aspire to be the mom, the woman, their person, their reference point to show them they can do anything they want to do; be anything they want to be.
For that reason I will continue to work on me, push myself to new limits if only to show my daughters all that women are capable of once they set their sights on something.