One of my goals for this year was taking my time for myself, time in my own head. On some level, I knew that I just wasn’t feeling and acting like myself, and a big part of that was never really having time to be alone with my own thoughts. It’s something I’ve been struggling with a lot in the past few weeks – Harley has been on school holidays, I feel like there is a constant moving to do list, plus I want to connect with everyone I can before we leave. It’s leaving me very little time to daydream or waste time, which is crucially important for anyone, but particularly for those in the creative field.
You see, there was something I heard a while back on a podcast about how to write good copy. The guy explaining it was saying that while there are certain rules or guidelines to help people write better social media posts or emails, the reality was that it was something that was caught, not taught. I liked the sound of that expression, but it got me thinking about those things I’ve learned and done well with, and how I acquired those skills. While education, research, and learning are certainly important and also something I continue to pursue, I do think that concept of caught, not taught, is vitally important, and ties back into the space in my head thing.
Today is Mandela Day here in South Africa, a celebration of one of the most iconic leaders of the modern world. One of my favorite quotes from Nelson Mandela is “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Any task can appear insurmountable, and then you chip away, take baby steps and all of a sudden it’s done. It’s sort of the basis of goals or resolutions – you aspire to something, but then need to figure out what exactly you will do in order to get there. I made three main goals for 2017, with a series of sub-goals along the way. So here is an update on my 2017 goals – how successful am I after half a year of striving?
To be honest, I think I’m actually doing better than I give myself credit for. So much of life is filled with mom guilt, with feeling inadequate or like I’m spinning my wheels, but actually I’ve made some pretty huge strides. I knew that I had these goals at the start of the year, but I didn’t make a vision board or anything, so they weren’t always at the front of my mind. Instead, I was focusing on all the little steps I had vowed to take to get there. Looking back now, I can see just how far I’ve come… at least on some of these goals. So here’s a reminder, and then an assessment.
You all may or may not remember a while back I was talking about how everything felt like hurry up and wait. That there was a rush of activity, and then nothing. Well, ever since we heard congratulations at the consulate, it’s pretty much been 100% rush and a whole lot of stress. I will write about all of it soon, I promise, but first I want to talk about mom judging and Baby Dove. You see, only a couple days after we heard “congratulations” at the consulate, I was flown down to Cape Town like a celebrity for the South African launch of Baby Dove. It was a wonderful event that allowed my amazing mom tribe to all be in the same room for one last time before we disperse around the world.
It was also special because of the actual launch. And no, I’m seriously not just saying that because they flew me to Cape Town. In fact, I was totally prepared to be super snarky about the event, mainly because I’m a naturally sarcastic person, but also because I’m so jaded by gaming events that I figured a silly event about soap for babies couldn’t possibly be meaningful. But it was. In fact, you can see my movement from excited but still totally sarcastic, to moved and tearful, back to sarcastic (because let’s be honest, I was never going to live without my jaded view of things for long) on social media, which I Storified for you.
This post has been sitting in my drafts for far too long. You see, the amazing Eleanor tagged me in her #RockingMotherhood post, and I’ve been meaning to write mine. As a way to remind myself, I added the title to my drafts folder, and it’s been sitting there, waiting to be written for weeks now. What is it about bragging about the ways I’m rocking this motherhood thing that’s making me totally unable to write? Why can’t I sit and list what’s going well – it’s not that I think I’m bad at motherhood or something, but it’s just been a post that’s sat there, totally refusing to write itself in my head.
Now that school holidays are underway, I’m spending pretty much all day, every day with the kid. And while it’s wonderful in many ways, it’s also really hard to get anything done. But she’s napping now, so why not appreciate the moment. Allow me to pause, breathe and tell you all the ways that I think I’m rocking this motherhood thing.
I’ve been lucky enough to be able to connect with moms from across South Africa and the world. Moms from countries where women are fully equal to men and moms from countries where they are still fighting for every ounce of recognition and appreciation. While almost every woman will assert that she loves her husband, that he is helpful and she couldn’t do it all without him, most are still frustrated by a lack of appreciation for all that they do. Even worse, some partners truly don’t even see what they do. So it’s time for us all put our foot down together, to claim what is our true role – we are the head of the household.
Now, let’s be clear here for a moment. If you’re familiar with American tax law, or just traditional family dynamics, you’ll know that men/husbands are typically considered the head of the household because it refers to the person who pays 50% or more of the household’s expenses. And yes, finances are important and can’t be downplayed – we all need money to live. Without someone earning the money, we wouldn’t have shelter, food, medical attention, education… the list goes on and on. But if money simply poured into a household, it still wouldn’t necessarily be allocated to the right places and life wouldn’t magically be organized for everyone. No, that’s the role of the real head of the household, the woman.