This weekend, my son got his first bike.
It’s the kind without pedals, meant to teach him balance. Riding it is all he wants to do. All the time. And when I look at his little face, so totally focused on his task, I can see myself.
My energies tend toward extremes. If I do something, I want to do it 100%. Otherwise, I feel that I lack commitment. That I’m somehow an imposter.
Whatever I’m tackling, it can’t be anything unless it is everything.
So being a stay-at-home mom was a struggle for me. Although I love being with my son, much of the Mommy lifestyle is outside my comfort zone. I find all the activities, classes, and play dates physically and mentally draining. And for awhile, I beat myself up for that. I felt that if I wasn’t giving it everything, I wasn’t doing it right. Or worse, that I didn’t deserve this awesome opportunity I had been given.
But we can’t shame ourselves into being something we’re not.
At some point, we have to accept that we are who we are and move forward. My kid will be just fine, even if I’m not the most outgoing Mom on the playground. And my career will be fine, too, even if for now, I can only squeeze in a few hours after bedtime.
Like the bike with no pedals, it feels awkward and scary. But eventually we find our balance.
Over the weekend, I helped throw a baby shower for a good friend, and as I watched folks gather to offer their support and congratulations, it occurred to me:
Wouldn’t it be great if we threw a shower for a new manager?
Like parents-to-be, new managers are embarking on a new stage of their lives. They’re taking on unfamiliar tasks and new (terrifying) responsibilities. Wouldn’t it be nice to shower them with gifts and good wishes? Shouldn’t we come together to give them the tools and support (and cupcakes) they need to embark on the management journey?
While fun to imagine, it’s probably not going to happen. But one element of the baby shower that did stick with me was the opportunity for guests to share a piece of advice for the new parents.
“Sleep when the baby sleeps” “Always carry two of everything”
As I wrote down my words of baby wisdom, I considered what I would write if I could only give one piece of advice to a new manager. Here’s what I came up with:
It’s okay to admit you don’t know everything. Your team knows you’re new to this. Be confident in your abilities but ask for help when you need it. Your team will respect you for it.
How about you? What singular piece of advice would you give to a new manager?
In less than a week, I will be braving a cross-country, red-eye flight with a two year old.
This is our first plane trip as a family and our longest extended stay away from home. To say I’m anxious would be an understatement. My mind has been racing with what seems like a million things to plan: Figuring out what to bring on the flight. Getting the house and dog ready for the sitter. Anticipating what gear we’ll need once we’re in New York. My blood pressure rises with every new thought. But today I finally sat down and made a list. And, amazingly, I feel much better.
Why do I always forget how calming a list can be? Until it’s on paper, it’s an infinite string of things. But once it’s in a list, it’s a plan. And plans I can handle.
Here are some of my favorite thoughts on to-do lists:
Even my hair was freaking out about this trip.
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