Parenting and Work…Not Oil and Water
As I revise this website to reflect my evolving work, some essential pieces of earlier work move forward with me. This oldie but goodie – an essay from May 15, 2009 — is one of those pieces. May it serve as a reminder of integration for you. ~ Mollie
Parenting and Work…Not Oil and Water
Parenthood is a tricky subject because there are all different types of parents and all different types of kids. If there is one area where “one size fits all” does not fit, parenting would be it.
I strongly believe that when we start judging other parents, we have no room to love and support them as they strive to do one of the hardest jobs in the world. We need to help each other any way we can.
My intent for this post is to inspire parents to help their children… by fully embracing work they love and that they feel matters. Counterintuitive? Stay with me…
There are so many lessons for your children as they watch you completely and fully embrace your unique talents and passions, and make a big contribution to the world.
Whatever your work is, share it openly with your children. Move from a place of guilt (“I have to go to work”) to a place of strength (“I love helping others through my work”).
When you passionately and openly commit to your life’s work… in front of your children… without conflict… you model full and authentic living.
So, what inspired this? The following letter I received from my 11-year-old daughter on Sunday morning:
Happy Mother’s Day Mom!
Mom, Happy Mother’s Day! I want to thank you for everything you have done for me. I love you very much, I think about you all the time and I know you think about me
You are so amazing with everything you do, and I don’t know how you can do it all. Your heart is always open for anyone who needs your love. You always help me out when I need your advice or when I am hurt, and make me feel better.
I am so proud of you and all of the work that you do to help out your family and other people. You are so, so beautiful and fit no matter what anyone says or thinks. You deserve way more than 1 day to do whatever you want when us kids are pulling you around everyday.
You are the best mom anyone could ever want and you’re my mom. I want to be just like you. Pretty, nice, smart, and everything you do. I have tears in my eyes as I’m writing this. I just wanted to say thank you for being a great mom for your 3 kids, and a great wife for Monte. I love you so much.
I’m sharing this letter word for word as written with only my child’s name deleted… and noting a teardrop where it fell on the page (hers, not mine. Mine fell later but I kept them off my precious letter).
My youngest daughter then gave me a M-O-L-L-I-E card:
My mom is awesome
Orange is her favorite color
Likes to play with her kids
Loves to walk
I enjoy her because she cares about me
Enjoys her job
What immediately struck me is that both of my daughters mentioned my love for my work and helping others… right alongside my love for my family.
These do not need to be in conflict. These do not need to be separated.
Have you been telling yourself they do?
From time to time, my kids ask, “Mom, if you could have any job in the world, what would it be?” My answer: “I would do exactly what I’m doing. I love being your mom. And I love teaching people how to create their best life and make their unique contribution to this world.”
This is my passion. What is yours?
Identify it. Go after it with zest.
Give yourself permission to be fully and authentically yourself.
Even… especially… to your children.
You will create a more meaningful life, be a stronger role model, become a happier parent, and use more of the gifts you have been given during this short time on earth.
A warm and loving bow to all of you mothers doing your best to raise your children. (Dads, your well-deserved day of recognition is coming up!)
Originally Published: May 15, 2009