Why do we do this?! Why do we feel and say these things?! What we have to say is VALUABLE and our voices matter! It's ok to speak up and own it!
I told her about Sheryl Sandberg's book Lean In - a book that really changed my professional life. Although this book is written for the working woman, I think it's a great read for anyone. In fact, I shared this title with a teacher who shared it with a BHS student! Powerful stuff! Building female leaders before they even leave high school!
Upon hearing another colleague (who has 2 small children at home) say that she felt bad for having an "off day" in her classroom, I thought of three pieces of advice I would give ANYONE on ANY given day.
- Lean in. Is there something you want in life or in your career, but you're too afraid to go after it? LEAN IN! Go get it! What do you have to lose?! No excuses. Reading Sandberg's book really made me look at opportunity in a different way and has given me the confidence to take professional risks I wouldn't have taken before. LEAN. IN. (I say this to myself daily!)
- Stop apologizing. I find myself beginning many emails with "I'm sorry for the delayed response" or "I'm sorry I can't meet with you on that day." I have started deleting those apologies and just stating the facts. "I can't meet with you on that day but next week is open." Why do we feel the need to constantly apologize?! It's ok to be kind and direct and NOT apologize constantly.
- Be kind to yourself. We ALL have "off days" ... ESPECIALLY as working mothers. We need to be kind to ourselves and know that it's ok to not be able to give 100% every single day. (That's even hard for me to type!) I have to practice what I preach, though. Having a demanding and career and 2 small children at home isn't easy, but I am going to cut myself some slack and allow myself have those 90% days (both at home AND at work!).
I remember making the decision when my oldest child was born to "have it all." I hitched up my big girl pants and literally said out loud in the hallway, "I can have it ALL. I can be a good mom and a good employee and not totally lose it."
Well. That's only about half right. :) On some days, I nail it. On some days I fail it. But every day I wake up wanting to be the very best version of myself for my kids, for my teachers, for my husband, for my friends ... and that's enough for me. It has to be enough for me or it will never be enough for everyone else in my life.
Lean in. Stop apologizing. Be kind to yourself.