By Jenna, Contributor
Last week I attended BlogHer, and while I only attended one session (quit it with the side eye) – it struck a deep chord with me. The session was titled “Success on Our Own Terms: A Discussion with Huffington Post Women.” Included in the discussion were: Lori Leibovich (executive editor at the Huffington Post), Christina Norman (most recently the CEO of OWN – Oprah Winfrey Network), Jane Buckingham (CEO of TRENDERA), Janice Min (editorial director of the Hollywood Reporter), and Susan Stiffleman (AOL/ HuffPost Parent’s weekly parenting expert).
So many quotes made my ears perk up; I selected a few to share:
“…if I don’t figure out how to take care of me first then I am no good for anybody else. I am no good for my husband, kids, friends or parents and those are all jobs that are really important to me…” – Christina Norman
This is something my therapist told me over a year ago, but it’s something so easily forgotten, especially as mothers. Sometimes I find that weeks, even MONTHS go by before I realize I haven’t read a book, painted my nails, allowed myself time for ME. That time is so important to keep yourself level.
“A lot of times you will have a choice between responding to one more email and getting one more post out and you have a child in front of and you there’s an opportunity there and that those opportunities are not repeatable.” - Susan Stiffleman
When re-reading this quote, I realize it could possibly make me feel guilty, but that’s not why I wrote it down. It’s because there ARE moments where I’m on my laptop at home checking my email or wrapped up in Twitter and Abby is peeking over the computer screen, slowly trying to push the screen closed. And how is ANYTHING more important than spending time with her? She and I will only be in this moment at this very time.
(in discussing a study the New York TImes did about parenting) “…they interviewed children and said, what would you like to change most about your parents?…the number one answer was they wished their parents were less stressed out…You have to just come to the realization like if I don’t look at my iPhone for four hours, that’s fine and life will go on.” – Susan Stiffleman
Holy crap did THIS ONE ring deep. I know that being stressed out is just a part of having a job, but I remember wishing my parents to be less stressed when I was young. You forget how easily kids pick up on EVERYTHING. And I know that Abby notices us glued to our phones and computer and complaining about work and it makes me feel horrendous sometimes. OUR parents didn’t have those techie distractions. Just one more type of distraction to deal with.
(Let me pause to say right here, my nearly 2 year old daughter Abby walked up to me and yelled “MAMA CLOSE IT” and tried to close my laptop because I wasn’t paying attention to her. POINT TAKEN, ABBERS.)
And finally, my favorite quote from Susan Stiffleman (whom this has clearly become a love-fest for):
“Imagine we put our palms together and I started pushing against you what will you do? Push back. Human instinct is we push back against what pushes against us…if you come alongside someone rather than at them, so that you don’t engage in a instinct to push…to have this power struggle and have this be a competition.”
This one makes so much sense, and can be applied almost anywhere. Life isn’t a competition. When we get stressed or tired or even just naturally, we start to go at people – pushing them, instead of trying to help or be less confrontational. This is a theory I plan on sharing with my husband so that we may be more productive when things get hairy, rather than pushing back on each other.
I think as working mothers we can really be hard on ourselves, on our spouses, and sometimes without knowing it, on our kids. Our work is just that, WORK. It does not define us as mothers, but it is a part of who we are as a whole. It’s up to us to
make sure that it does not overcome what is important: our families. Sometimes we just need to step back and make sure we’re taking care of ourselves, and give ourselves credit for juggling the many hats we wear.
(The complete transcript is available at BlogHer here.)