I’m a boss (sometimes). I’m a mom (all the time). However, I never call myself a Boss Mom.
I’ll preface this by saying that I make no judgment about the titles that fit for anyone else, but for me, I’ve never felt like those words together, as a label or a hashtag, fit quite right. I’ve never centered myself and all of my other identities around who I am as a mother.
Yes, I am a mom, and I love my [not so] little people. I’m also a writer, coach, and a million other things. I’m not a “_____mom,” I am “AND ALSO mom”… Boss AND ALSO mom. Writer, coach, woman, AND ALSO mom.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll keep saying it, words matter. The words you use matter. They evoke emotions, deep feelings, and associations about how we view ourselves both as individuals and as we fit into the world. So make sure the words you use match who you are and what you feel.
The times in my life where I’ve felt the most out of control, as if I was floundering or trying to catch up (or even keep up), were the times when I made assumptions about how or where I should be centered. This was especially true when I assumed that becoming a parent meant that my identity and everything I did should suddenly be qualified through my lens as a mother. I wanted to be me AND a mom.
Obviously, my kids play an enormous part in who I am and everything I do, but in some aspects of my life, I need to be ME first, and I need to do that without feeling the dreadful mom guilt that used to plague me.
How are you centering yourself? Does it fit? Do the words speak to you or feel stifling?
I, Lauren, the person, am at the center of my identity, not my momness. That’s me, it’s not everyone, and it might not be you. For me, it’s an important distinction to make and to be aware of because the pressure to do it correctly (the expected way) shouldn’t outweigh who you are and how you actually feel. I also believe you should be clear about how you center yourself; it’s crucial to understand what drives you in each decision and action. It can dictate why some situations and circumstances are easy breezy and why others feel overwhelming and out of alignment.
I felt lost, like a fish out of water, when I had three young children and believed (or tried to convince myself) that everything I did should revolve around my kids and me as a parent. That internal disconnect also appeared when I was younger and assumed that my identity was tied up in my career, which might have been fine when I loved my job and loved the corporate ladder I was climbing.
And then I changed my mind, or I just changed. I no longer wanted to work in an office. The idea of a free lunch wasn’t that exciting when I had to eat it at my desk in Banana Republic pants (with a button and zipper…GASP!) and a cashmere sweater. But, that felt like my identity; how do I now shift and change and become something new? If I had centered myself (ME) and not perceived my value or worth to be wrapped up in my job title, it might have been a little easier to wrap my head around moving in a new direction.
Similarly, as a mom, if I immersed my whole world in being a mom and doing everything through or around that role, I might have felt guilty or overwhelmed or desperate when other things came along that spoke to me, but I didn’t know how to make them fit into this role.
Being a mom might be the only role I haven’t outgrown or changed my mind about. It’s also one of the roles where I give myself the most flexibility and freedom to make what I need in each season. Similarly, it gives my kids the ability to need different things from me and need me in different ways as they navigate through various stages of life. By not assuming that this role is static, we’re all taking the time to check-in and assess what still works and needs some adjusting.
Are you centering your identity around something that doesn’t feel like it fits? Or something that doesn’t feel like it should be at the center of everything you do? Are you permitting yourself to change your mind, think different things, and explore new options? As we round out another year of holidays, busyness, and obligations, do you feel centered in the decisions you’re making?