International Womens' Day: How mothers rise out of the ashes. 3 steps to create a new reality.
Momentarily we are experiencing a crisis showing us the many imbalances and injustices of our time. Please forgive me if I'm not going into that in detail. I guess we all experience them and see and feel them daily.
In this article, I would rather like to offer a different lens on the situation of working or future working moms. Or moms in general. Some solutions.-
We are at a crossroads. And we, meaning us mothers, must do everything to bring perspective into this dark muddy path.
So here are my nuggets of solutions for those of you seeking solutions. On how to turn them into flow towards a bright future.
"Only in darkness can you see the stars" - Martin Luther King
So let's begin.
Currently, my observation is that there is a lot of blaming. And I don't judge that as a bad or good thing. I just observe.
We demand from politicians the system, anything outside to give us better workplace incentives, better security, better support in homeschooling. Some of us blame the patriarchy, "white men" even.
What we do is:
We are asking for change. We are asking for a star, a bright new reality.
And righteously so.
But the problem with seeing and going to reach for the stars here is.
For a change process to be successful,
we must be mindful of what change actually needs from US to be successful.
So it's not just ANOTHER reality. But in OUR OWN interest.
Cause truly if we demand "mom" and "dad" politician and system to do everything FOR us, they might do that. But maybe build some star in their very own interest....
So, here are 3 steps I want to offer. As food of thought. And questions for you to take action on all of them. Your food for action.
Helping you create the star you truly want.
1. A vision
Most change processes fail because they lack direction.
If you don't know what the new reality should look like. You'll get lost, overwhelmed, confused, frustrated, and burned out.
Saying though: "Not like this current situation" simply is not enough to move forward.
It must be specific, how it looks like, feels like.
The more specific you can be. "Like working from home whenever I want to. Not focusing on time anymore but on the outcome getting my project over the finish line." That's specific. Instead, saying: "No more 9-5" is just stating what you don't want and creates a vacuum. No star at all.
So here is food for action.
- What would be your ideal picture of the way you would want to integrate your work into your life?
- How does the new star look and feel like?
- What's happening here?
- How do you interact, collaborate, spend your time?
You see, I often hear moms use the word
"It's like war…complete stress 24/7."
And very understandably so, when they go into details.
- But what if now it's the time to change that?
- What if you'd go all in and ask yourself: how does this star look like?
- How do I want to live life altogether?
I know. I can hear you say:
"But Hedi, I have to keep this job." And if "I don't do this, my boss will kick me out."
Ok. And I see you struggle. I really do.
But now is your chance.
Have you considered all your options?
Have you asked around for help?
Just as an example. I often hear moms say that they planned on co-parenting, meaning splitting the kids' responsibilities with their partner. And then the baby comes, and partner says:
"No, I can't go out of my job any longer than 2 weeks."
"I'll lose my reputation."
"I'll be left behind, and so on." ...
But here is the thing. Did your partner even ask? Or is the fear so great and overwhelming that "no, it's not possible is the only reaction".
Whenever there is a change process and YOU want to profit from it, be true to yourself and ask yourself honestly: is this really what I want and how I want to lead my life?
Another helpful question might also be:
- When my kid is 18, what do I want him or her to say about growing up?
Or another one:
- How do I truly feel about raising kids together with my partner?
Write everything down, sort out your thoughts and ideas. If fear comes up, write it down too. Breath. (Sounds lame, but it calms down your nervous system, your fear)
By writing down, you start to distance yourself from the thought and fear. It's no longer in you, doing all sorts of fun control games. It's outside, and you gain control.
We are often so narrowly focused that we do not even consider another route or solution. A single mom brought me up, and she did not have any financial support. She got help from outside, and it worked.
Which brings me to the next step:
Change processes are successful, meaning things, people start to change when there is a high level of urgency.
Now you might feel a rising urgency already: fatigued, filled with sadness, a great feeling of misunderstanding.
Now ask yourself: What will happen if you keep doing this? Where will you be in a week, a month even?
And secondly: What's action can you take? What actions can be birthed from this urgency?
Sometimes it's communication and a cry for help. To your boss or partner.
Sometimes it's an action that gets birthed from raising your standards.
"Enough is enough"
"I deserve better."
And righteously so.
Think about Rosa Parks who raised her standards birthed from urgency in a millisecond. She decided NOT TO get up for a white citizen on the bus ride anymore. Enough!
And by her brave action she caused a massive change—a civil right movement which lead to new laws and new rights. Bamm.
So an urgency with an action. She said "enough" and showed "enough".
Always remember: "You get what you tolerate."
So here is some food for action:
- What can you do to show, communicate or even create that urgency?
- What can you do together with others to start a movement?
3) Step-by-step, Experimenting Forward
We tend to get stuck and circle around the issue: Like a spaceship circling around planet "problem". So fascinated by it's shades of grey and darkness. By the inhabitants causing each other pain and fear.
But that means we'll never reach planet Bliss.
Problem circling makes you stuck and gives you zero energy.
Sometimes even puts you into problem trance...round and round and round....
To get to planet bliss, our new star on the horizon. We need to break free. To change course and use our precious energy on the new reality.
Now, although we have created a vision and know what it should feel and look like. It's not just magically popping up, unraveling, screaming at us: "here I am."
Now we begin with the actual process to create the star we want.
And the only way that this can be successful. Meaning fitting into our reality is not my creating another high-level concept, another treadmill approach, another plan we wait for months.
"you have a plan until you get punched in the face." - Muhammed Ali
You go one step at a time. A testing phase. You adapt.
For instance, meaning, say you, reached out to your boss. Telling him you know what:
"I can not do 9-5 anymore. But I can very well finish all my projects in the time we collaboratively agree upon."
Ok. Fine. Then you don't go ahead and write a massive concept, or newsletter to all employees saying: "This is how it's done from now on."
You declare it as the step-by-step testing approach.
Meaning you say: "Ok let's try this approach for the next 2 weeks or month. Till the project's deadline and then go back and evaluate what worked what did not and iterate accordingly."
That's the next step then.
You move forward in a way that makes sense on all ends.
You can also do this with your partner.
First create a vision on how you would truly want to integrate work into your life. Or even do that process together.
And then you ask yourself: What can we test right now for the next 2,3, or 4 weeks.
To see: Does this work?
Iterate and move on. That's how change is done. That's how change is smart and doable.
Some other questions as food for action:
- What are 5 first steps that could bring your closer to your vision, your ideal picture of how you would truly want to work?
Because it's sometimes scary to dream at first, but it's what creating a new reality means.
If you can hold it in your head,, you can hold it in your hands. - Bob Proctor
Like building a house. You first have the vision, saying something like: "We need 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, an open kitchen for us to cook in and have fun."
And then you start building.
We forgot that we are human. We forgot that our imagination is our core asset.
But if you don't do that, I mean dream. Even dream big. Others might do that for you and use their power and determination to make it a reality.
But it might not be in your interest at all.
Be the change you wish to see in the world. Don't give your power away.
You are more powerful than you think and what people want you to believe.
You are a creator. That's why you are here.
I love you so much,
I hope this helps.
Take good care & till soon