Wednesday, January 24, 2018

It's OK to have Dust in the Corner: A tribute to my Grandma Vera

For those that know me well, this quote is one that I have lived by for almost two decades.

Let me explain.  Many years ago I attended a Women's Jewelry Association Conference called Women in The Know.  I was a young working mom with a small toddler at home. There was a panel of speakers talking about all sorts of topics.  One topic was how to handle a busy work schedule and still be a mom.  One woman, Randi Shinske, made the comment, "It's Ok to have dust in the corner". When I heard this it was as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I had such an AHA moment.  You mean other women struggled to do it all? You mean other women sometimes felt inadequate? It was the most unbelievable feeling, to know that I was not alone, and there were other women who just couldn't make the bed everyday and live up to that perfect image of what I thought it meant to be a mom.

Yesterday, I left to go on a business trip to California.  When I landed I found out my Grandma Vera had passed away.  I hopped right back on the plane and came home.  Thinking about all the great memories I have of her, and all the wonderful times we had, the one thing that sticks out is that throughout it all, she always worked.  She was the one who saved every penny and invested it, allowing her and my grandfather to have a little kitty when they retired and enjoy life.  This was back in a time when most women did not work. There wasn't the support structure and acceptance of it back then as there is now.  I wish I talked to her more about it, how it made her feel and how she managed it all.  I can only look to her actions and use them as my examples.  Ironically, I never saw dust in her corners. She seemed to do it all. But now I wonder, how did she make it appear so easy? Who was her support structure?  

I realize being a mom is not about brining cupcakes to the class, or making sure the house is perfect. It is about so much more. It is about being there for your children. It is about being a role model for your sons and daughters. My grandmother was always there for us. She made it seem so easy. She was such an inspiration.  She always made me feel special and important.  She encouraged me to follow my dreams, and always told me that she knew I could do it.

As for being a working mom - sometimes it is just so hard to be present and in the moment, but that is what counts.  We always made it a point to have family dinners. No - I did not cook everyday, I tried to some days, but the reality is that it did not matter who made the food, just that we ate together.  No TV on in the house during dinner.  Phones were put away.  We talked. That was our time.  Yes, it get's harder the older they get, the more activities they have, but that just meant that some nights we ate later.  Did we eat together every single night? No. Between their schedules, and my busy travel schedule, that would have been impossible. But we really tried to as much and as often as we could.

I was listening to the news today, and heard a segment about Senator Tammy Duckworth.  She is the first sitting Senator that will be giving birth while in office.  And New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who is also pregnant.  She made a comment "I am not the first woman to multitask".  Women have been working and having families for many, many years.

Today I think we have come a long way.  Women supporting women is such a strong system, and allows us to thrive.  I remember feeling guilty about missing things when the kids were young, and feeling inadequate sometimes, and a friend told me "Guilt is a useless emotion.  A happy mommy makes happy kids, and if working makes you happy - go for it!"

So to all you working moms out there - know you are not alone - you are perfect in your own way.  My grandma always told me how wonderful I was - so I am telling you too - you are amazing! Remember - It's OK to have dust in the corner!

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