One night recently, I spoke at a PTO meeting about conscious parenting. When I arrived home, my daughter Faith (who is one of my biggest cheerleaders) inquired how it went. I explained that the PTO members were really excited about the plan and want me to come back to launch it in a few weeks. Faith jumped up and down, hugging me, exclaiming “I am so proud of you, Mommy! You are doing great work!” I explained that when I teach conscious parenting to other parents, I am helping them to have as wonderful a relationship with their children as I have with her. She smiled knowingly.
When we went up to bed that night, I told her the basic history of women over the past 60+ years and how women used to be expected to grow up, get married, have children and stay home to care for the house and the kids. If they wanted to work, too bad, because our society did not support that desire. Then, Gloria Steinem and her contemporaries realized that women had a lot to contribute to the world and helped women to get into the work force. Then suddenly, women were told we could “have it all” and women my age and a bit older attempted to have it all – the great marriage, big house, children, and career – and in the process, volunteer for everything that came along. But this caused women to feel a great deal of stress and we began to realize having it all is perhaps a fantasy – at least having it all, all at the same time. I asked her if she had friends who’s moms work full time – she nodded. Did she have friends who’s moms stayed at home – yes again. Did she have friends who’s moms work part-time like I do, home a bit and at work a bit – yes again. I told her that what I hope I am modeling for her as a young girl who will grow into a woman is that it does not matter what she wants to do – the important thing is to figure out what makes her feel fulfilled and do that. If she wants to be a stay-at-home mom, she should do that. If she wants to work full-time and go to work at breakfast and come home at dinner and that makes her feel fulfilled, she should do that. And if a combination of the two feels fulfilling, she should do that. She does not have to do what society expects of her – she will be most “successful” in her life if she understands herself well and does what makes her feel fulfilled. (I use the word success in a context not implying strictly financial success, but the kind that makes you feel like you are living your life in alignment with your highest calling.) If she can achieve that, all of her loved ones will see how good she feels and it will rub off onto them, the same way my fulfillment rubs off onto her. She hugged me tight, told me how much she loves me and rolled over to go to sleep.
Reflecting on our talk later, it continues to amaze me how beautifully my work supports my parenting and my parenting in turn, supports my work. And what it also reinforces to me is that when each of us are in alignment with our true selves, have identified our calling and are using the gifts that God has given us, the Universe really does conspire to help us, as Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist tells us.