By: Jane Stark
I was fortunate enough to spend last Friday with a room full of like-minded and inspirational mothers at the Leading Moms Conference 2013. What really shone through that day was that no matter what your story, we can all share in the challenges, triumphs, laughs and of course tears of motherhood together. It’s a bond that we all share and no one can take away.
The conference theme of the day was “play” –Defined as: engaging in an activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose – and while each speaker laced their own thoughts around play, I noticed a few other “sub-themes” emerge that lend themselves to achieving a state of “play.”
|Letting go of the Outcome:|
When we detach ourselves from what the outcome of something is, it takes pressure off and that “thing” becomes more enjoyable. Anna Rice (Two Time Badminton Olympian) illustrated this nicely in the story of her journey to the Tokyo Olympics – she said the Olympics weren’t about winning for her; it was about her experience and the enjoyment of playing the game. Once winning didn’t matter, it was easier to enjoy the experience.
Being vs. Doing:
Many of us are so caught up in what we have to “do” each day that we are forgetting to “be.” Being is where the magic happens, where we experience and enjoy life – where the “play” happens. If we don’t slow down and appreciate the here and now, what are we ever going to get from life?
Lead by Example:
Kelsey Ramsden (Profit W100 Winner & Cancer Survivor) summed this one up nicely “Be the person you want your children to see in this world” – No pressure here! But in all seriousness, if we as mothers and role models cannot let go of our daily stresses, high expectations and struggles to keep up with the daily rat race, then how can we expect our children to do the same. We need to show them the way, to create a safe and welcoming environment for our children to express themselves and truly “play.” How do we do this? We create the same safe space for ourselves first. It’s like when the airlines tell you to put your oxygen mask on first, you can’t help someone else if you haven’t helped yourself.
Finding the Perfect in Imperfect:
We need to let go of this aim for perfection. It often stops us in our tracks from doing the very things we need to do or should I say, “being the person we want to be.” Christine Magee addressed this in her keynote when talking about balancing her high-profile career with two children at home. She said, “I’ve learned that balance is getting comfortable that I am always going to be a little uncomfortable.” I sometimes wonder if “balance” is just us striving for that “perfect” life and to achieve it we have to get comfortable with the “imperfect”.
Great speakers telling genuine stories, a fashion show from Art Knapp (who knew Art Knapp sold clothes! And I’m not talking rain boots & gardening gloves) and two musical interludes from Monica Morong (WorldHipHopMom) and Tara MacLean-Grand made for a fun, dare I say “playful” day of inspiration, energy and grounding.
I look forward to seeing what next year brings.