Let me start by saying that I am a white woman that grew up in the Midwest, in an area that was predominantly white. So, I am NOT the ideal person to be teaching on racism. Without even knowing what was happening, I’ve been brainwashed into subconscious inherent racism. This is the unfortunate case for many white people in America. Decades of systemic racism has led us to believe that people of color are inferior. So what do we do?
Well, we start the work of becoming an anti-racist. According to Ibram X Kendi, historian and author of the New York Times bestseller, “How to be an Antiracist”, an anti-racist is someone who is willing to admit when they are being racist and willing to recognize the inequities and problems in our society. There is so much unlearning to be done. Beyond the work we all need to do on ourselves, we also need to be intervening in the systemic racism brought upon our younger generations. The earlier we can teach them to be antiracists, the sooner change can be effected within out society as a whole. This job is a tall order, but we all need to be doing it, not only in the month of February to honor Black History Month, but on an ongoing basis over the course of many years. After all, for most of us, the systemic racism has been ingrained in us over many years, so it will take at least that much time to reverse it.
As a child, I was a complete tomboy. My best friend was a boy who loved hockey, getting dirty, and riding bikes. This was the 90’s so we were able to run amok in our neighborhood with relative “safety”. We climbed trees, played hockey, rallied the neighborhood children for kickball, and caught all the little critters we could. To childhood me, boys were the coolest and got to do the coolest things. They got to run around with their shirt off when it was hot out. They could pee outside since they could do it standing up and didn’t need to wipe. They also were allowed to have short enough hair to get away with not combing it. I wanted to be just like the boys, because they had it good.
My parents were very neutral about my experimenting with “boy” traits. I got my hair cut short, wore what I’d now call gender-neutral clothing, and even tried peeing standing up for a while (not sure if my parents knew about that one.. – Sorry, Mom. I’m guessing there were messes). I distinctly remember an incident when my family went out to eat at a local diner. I decided to “dress up”, wearing black pants, a collared, long-sleeved shirt, and a blue button-up vest. I had my short hair slicked back and slightly parted to the side and I was looking good. While we were finishing our food, it was time to order ice cream. The waiter asked my mom, “And what would your son like?”, referring to me. My mom corrected him and he apologized. I told him it was OK and internally I was beaming with excitement. What an honor to be called a boy. After all, they were the coolest.
As I was adjusting to being a mother of 2, I found myself frustrated, anxious and feeling like something was missing. Of course, I had 2 beautiful, healthy children, a great husband, and supportive friends and family. Even during a pandemic, I still felt supported by friends and family. (Thank you social media, internet, and delivery services!) Yet still, I was feeling discontented. There’s nothing like that initial post partum period to send you reeling back to a person who gives and gives to others, leaving nothing for yourself. Especially when there are two needy littles. It seemed like my cup couldn’t ever get filled back up.
Finally I realized what was missing. I wasn’t making time for me. Face palm moment! When Patsy was a newborn, of course it makes sense that I wouldn’t have a whole lot of time for me. But now that she’s over a year old, it’s easier to think a little more clearly. I’m able to recognize what I’m needing. I am the type of person that needs a certain amount of time to themselves to get their energy. I just wasn’t getting that. I was going through the motions, taking care of what needed to get taken care of, and not investing in myself like I had begun to do on a regular basis over the past couple of years.
To all the mothers, sisters, wives, single ladies, step-sisters, sister-in-laws, and female identifying beings. You are exactly who make the world go round. You are brave. You are fierce. Your intelligence knows no bounds. You are the silent leaders of this world and you deserve so much more. Know your worth and realize that you make an impact whether it’s recognized or not. Continue reading “An Open Letter To Women”→
When I learned I was becoming a mom for the first time, I was fully prepared to lose myself to motherhood. Motherhood was something I always aspired to. That was a major life goal of mine. I was under the assumption that my full identity would be wrapped up in who I was as a parent. I would put all my dreams and goals on hold until my children were old enough to start being self-sufficient and then I’d figure out who I was as a person. As time went on, I was feeling stuck. I loved being a mother and wouldn’t trade it for anything. However, I wasn’t as fulfilled as I thought I would be. I went complete 50’s housewife there for a moment and boy am I glad we live in a day and age where that’s optional and not necessarily expected. I was still working part-time from home but felt I needed to handle all of the things because my husband obviously wasn’t capable. [Insert facepalm] It’s crazy what kinds of stories we make up about our situation, isn’t it? Continue reading “The Power of Personal Development”→
When your couple becomes a trio for the first time, things change quickly. Routines change. Your surroundings change. Your schedules change. Suddenly, one parent is thrust into a role that they didn’t realize came with that tiny, adorable human being. This role is deemed “family manager”. Somebody has to keep all your ducklings in a row. Someone needs to make sure each family member’s needs are met, appointments get scheduled, the household continues to run, and the baby stays alive. In my home, I’ve assumed this role. I think this role is often taken on by whomever is more instinctively inclined to take it on. Our brains are just better wired to worry about all of these things and see the bigger picture, while our partners are more inclined to focus on one thing at a time. Even if your partner is incredibly helpful, there’s still one of you that generally keeps the train moving. Continue reading “How To Be A Leader In Your Family”→