Friday, June 29, 2012

Mommy Rising

A powerful group of women is rising in the world right now. We were professionals in our fields, we waited to have children, we stepped out to raise them, and now we are back. But motherhood did something profound to us. Our "mid-life" crisis coincided with having our babies. We stepped out of our previous existences. We came face to face with questions of who we are, our purpose in the world and how we want the world to be, and we are redesigning both motherhood and the world from the inside out. Our generation of moms are redefining home. When we speak of home, we are not talking about the place we sleep at night, but the world we live in.

Not content with the model that a woman has to become like a man to have success in the world, we have become entrepreneurial, approaching ourselves and our families as businesses. Some decided to change their lifestyles in order to stay home. Others found ways to remain connected professionally, juggling work projects with childcare and playdates. Together we have lifted motherhood to a choice and not a requirement, we have encouraged and required our partners to be our real partners in parenting, and with the help of technology, we have found a way to be out in the world and inside our homes at the same moment.

Photo by Kathleen Keagy
We also discovered other moms as resources. No longer in the years of seeing each other as competition, we are re-entering our professional worlds having practiced a model of collaboration where our survival depended on our ability to connect with the strangers we met at the neighborhood park, library or meet-up. Together we became school lunch crusaders, grassroots environmentalists and educational reformers. No longer the silent angels in the house, we have voices, and make them heard on our blogs and in community-based organizations. Far from being the isolated islands of our grandmothers, we have reached out to tell our stories.

Now that our children are growing up and need less of our undivided attention, it's time to write the next act. But I see many of us hesitating, waiting to be acknowledged, thinking that we need permission or a platform before we begin. To that I say what I have said to many a student in my writing classes: "The story is already there. You just need to find a way to get it to paper." Or the canvas, or the stage, or into a business venture. When you are creating something that hasn't existed before, there will be no user manual. Funny, that sounds an awful lot like being a mom. No one gave us permission to be moms or provided us with special training. We have been figuring it out as we go along with the help of fellow moms, blogs, internet groups, workshops, conferences and a few good books. We learned that if we reached out, we could find the help or encouragement we needed.

Do I know exactly how we'll get there? Nope. But I do know one thing: being a mother and nurturing the growth of another human being has given us an incredible model of the creativity, flexibility and stamina we'll need to do it. As a good friend once told me as he hired me for a job in a field I knew nothing about, "I can teach you what you need to know about this business, but you have what I can't teach." Try that on yourself the next time you get discouraged because you have been out of the professional waters for a few years. Because people are going to reflect back the energy you send out into the world. Tell them that you have mastered transformation. And you are exactly what the world needs now.


  1. Thanks, Kathleen! I love this for so many reasons. I also appreciate the encouragement. Love, Allison

  2. Great piece, Kathleen! This will be fun to revisit as women find they have more power than they thought possible. Your permission for reinvention is inspiring and visionary. Congratulations for being featured on MorphMom!

    1. Thank you, Kris! This means so much as you are a powerful, visionary woman making it real right now!