As we often do on December 31st, my husband and I conduct a year end review. We continued our annual ritual this New Years Eve afternoon sitting on Adirondack chairs sipping wine in shorts and flip flops in the Florida 85 degree weather.
Jim said he wanted to kiss this year a thankful good-bye, saying how grateful he is for certain academic and professional successes. His book, The Four Pillars of Politics was published this year. He will be returning next month to the academic world after an absence of 38 years. And he was instrumental in the election of the first Democratic governor in a deep south state in over a decade (John Bel Edwards won the Louisiana governor’s race this past November). A couple of real estate transactions have also freed us from some financial burdens. This recap was a welcome one compared to those in recent years when economic concerns had been particularly plaguing.
I felt a twinge as I contemplated my own professional performance over the past year. I was unable to identify any one particular achievement. I’m very grateful The Jeremiah Project (the creative arts program I direct) has had a very good year, thanks in large part to a fabulous Board and staff. I’ve been dogged in my determination to expand the reach of my Be Brave. Lose the Beige blog and spent many hours working in our political business. But no particular achievement stood out in my mind. Then it dawned on me….I’ve devoted major chunks of 2015 to mothering. While my children are quite grown up, they nevertheless, still require mothering. And, like many Lady Boomers I know, I donned my SuperMom suit, saluted, and rushed to their aid.
This year has been a blur of:
- Airline flights
- Telephone time
- Car travel
- Baby sitting
- Economic support
- And so much love
I would not have traded a minute of the time I’ve spent with my kids. I’m honored to be needed and to feel so welcome in their lives. This time commitment, however, has taken me away from the pursuit of my own passions. Mothering requires a great deal of creative engagement; it’s been hard having much left over for my own dreams.
But sometimes I find myself wishing we got “credit” for our mothering skills. Why can’t mothering be quantified and valued in the same way professional achievements are? Women can often be dismissive of the work we do for our families, like it doesn’t “count” since we aren’t financially compensated for our work.
To All of the Mothers I know and have yet to know, I raise my glass of champagne to toast you today. I say to you and to myself, all those miles, all those conversations, all that love, “counts” as worthy. All of the work we do helps make the world a better place. That has to count for something, right?