I have always been a competitive person, an ambitious person, I wanted to be the best. Who doesn’t want to be the best? After I had my kids I put pressure on myself to be the Pinterest mom, the Good House Keeping wife and still keep my competitive advantage in the workplace. I would constantly look at the women around me and compare myself to them, dissecting them to figure out a plan of how I could be better, how I could make myself stand out among the crowd. I found myself in a situation where I was so focused on the next step and achieving the next milestone that I became comfortable being completely miserable. My holidays were filled with Pinterest fails, but of course those weren’t the ones I posted on social media, those were thrown in the trash as I had a meltdown on my kitchen floor. It turns out some of the best housekeeping I do is ordering pizza and calling my mom (still at 32) to help me with the overwhelming laundry load because having 3 kids, a full time job and trying to be the best is just too much.
It is just too much.
I had a moment of clarity when another parent complimented me on how empathetic and kind my 8-year-old daughter is. My daughter was inclusive and instead of comparing herself to those around her to measure if she was “the best” she was just always simply her best self. It dawned on me, how can I raise a confident and independent daughter if I can’t lead by example? It was time to stop comparing, stop being miserable and time to define my own happiness. It was time for me to be leader in my own home.
My happiness includes having a great support system at work where I feel like I am contributing, but it does not include titles or a strict timeline I have to follow, my hard work will get me where I want to go. My happiness includes spending time with my family, the dishes and the laundry can wait, I would rather have happy kids than a clean house. My happiness includes being proud of myself, being proud of my kids and what we have built together in our community.
This morning as I was getting ready for work, we realized that my son (about to turn 2!) did not have any clean shorts, so we had to dress him in the only outfit that would work with today’s weather, that being lederhosen. I am not going to compare him to what the other kids are wearing, I am going to laugh and smile and be proud of my creative thinking because at the end of the day, we are all just doing the best that we can and being the best we can be – happy!
Emily Cranmer started the nonprofit organization Future Lady Leaders with the mission of introducing girls to leadership skills at a young age, focusing on confidence, creativity and compassion. The organization's goal is to address the confidence gap between young girls and young boys, and to give girls the self-esteem to embrace their inner leader – however they define it for themselves!
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