As a woman I have high hopes for 2018. The unmasking of the dirty (not so) little secret of workplace sexual harassment as embodied by the #metoo movement and the record number of women who ran for office in 2017 lends itself to the sense that women have found their voices and aren’t going to be quieting down anytime soon. 2017 has given us momentum but we need to keep the progress rolling. As working mothers we have serious skin in this game. So I’ve resolved in 2018 to do what I can to support my fellow working mothers.
1. I will make the struggles of other working mothers my business. Look I get it, a lot of us are just barely making it through our days. From the minute our feet hit the ground each morning we are in go mode: go to the gym, go to the office, go to the kid’s activities, go to the kitchen to cook dinner and make lunches for the next day, then go to sleep so you can do it all over again. And God forbid you or the kids or the dogs get sick, or your tire is flat, or your parent ends up in the hospital. Because you have to keep going. So when another working mother is having a challenge at work it’s easy to tell ourselves that it isn’t our business and that we simply don’t have the time or energy to get involved. But starting this year I will challenge myself to make it my business. Always. Because one working mother’s fight affects all of us. If all of us working mothers take a vocal stand against the challenge each of us face we will educate our peers and leave a legacy of not just a tolerant workplace but one that embraces and supports working mothers.
2. My door will always be open to my fellow working mothers. When I am at work I do very little in the way of socializing. I’ve always felt that I’m at work to make money and if I’m not being productive I want to be home with my family. That doesn’t mean I’m not nice, I just don’t have a minute to spare on idle chit-chat. But I do want to make time in 2018 to connect with the other working mothers in the office and let them know I’m here for them. So often as working mothers we grin and bear whatever burdens we are dealing with at the moment. We are so afraid of failing as mothers or in our careers that we tend to bottle up whatever might be bothering us. We tell the world and ourselves that we are fine so we can get through our days. But this year I’m going to make the time to ask and then listen to my fellow working moms. I won’t be an accidental confidante in 2018. This is the year I will be purposeful in creating a safe space for my fellow working moms to let down their guard, unburden themselves, and not be fine.
3. I will lead by example. One of my favorite sayings is “you must be the change you wish to see in the world.” The story told behind this quote is that a mother brought her son to see Mahatma Gandhi and asked him to speak to her son about not eating sugar. Instead of offering advice he asked the mother to come back in two weeks’ time. When the mother and son came back two weeks later Gandhi offered the boy advice as to how he could eliminate sweets from his diet. When he was done the mother asked Gandhi why he hadn’t offered that same advice two weeks earlier. To which Gandhi responded that two weeks ago he still ate sugar himself so he wasn’t able to offer advice when he hadn’t taken that journey himself. So this is the year I will eat my own cooking. I will be more vulnerable. This is the year I will ask for help from my fellow working mothers when I need it. This is the year I will let my guard down and get real—and not just in print where it’s easy for me to be honest but in real life where being imperfect isn’t comfortable. This is the year I will be the change.