Recently I had the great privilege of presenting to a group of Mompreneurs in Quincy, IL. This event was sponsored by a wonderful client, Golden Bridges, that wanted to give back to the entrepreneurs in their community.
The moms were treated to an evening of networking and enjoying the wonderful pairings of local wines with chocolates made by the mom-owned business, The Yum Factory. The owners Brittney and Julie are not only excellent in the kitchen, but they are also a lot of fun too. They even found wines to pair with my book, a white smooth dry wine called Apple Crisp and a fruity, but not too sweet, wine called HorseLick. How fun!
After the networking, I shared the reason I wrote Motherhood, Apple Pie, and All That Happy Horseshit and four major concepts that I wanted them to think about: Sacred Space, Even Super Mom Needs Help, Life in Weeks, and Accountability. It was great fun for me to read from the book, especially when one of the women I reference in the book, Nancy Waters, was in the audience. Nancy was and is an important part of my support network. However, it was also a bittersweet moment for me as just two weeks prior, my dear friend Katie Wood, that introduced me to Nancy, died unexpectedly.
Our Life in Weeks concept shows how short life can be with a graphic displaying 4,200 weeks as boxes in rows of 52. This idea that life is short is covered in the book and we have a computer program, developed by Nancy’s son, Forrest, to show this. Our Life in Weeks tool allows the reader to plug in their important milestone dates from their own life and it is based on a life expectancy of 82 years for women in the United States. Katie died suddenly at 70 years old. This concept in the book has become even more poignant to me as I think about Katie and how I was planning to deliver a copy of the book to her that week.
Katie and Nancy were such a major part of my support network when my daughter Alaina was little. Katie helped me realize that I had to find my Sacred Space because after moving across the country, leaving my career behind, and being a full-time Mom, I had started to forget who I was and what was important to me as my own person. I have been blessed to have such astute supportive women in my life.
As part of the evening program, I gave the women attending an assignment. I asked them to write down on an index card a list of three people you could call if you had a family emergency and needed them to step in for you; then on the back, list the three people you would call if you needed business advice. The only rule was, don’t list your spouse: you already ask them enough and they are likely to be struggling themselves if there is a family crisis. I gave the women five minutes. I thought it would be super easy to list 6 names in five minutes, but I assumed they might want to think about it. After 5 minutes, I realized they were struggling. They didn’t have a list in their head, they were considering this for the first time ever.
I realized that many of them saw themselves as the person who helped others, but didn’t want to impose and ask for help. We talked about reciprocity and paying it forward and discussed how asking for help was not a weakness. In fact, it demonstrates a level of maturity to know when you need help so you can step out of the day-to-day overwhelm.
As the program came to a close, I invited the women to look to each other for support. Many of them had met that night for the first time. I also suggested that they could also strengthen their relationships by forming an accountability group. It was a delight to me to hear the request when we did the round robin “What was your biggest takeaway?” question, that they wanted to determine how they could meet regularly.
Have you considered who you’d go to for help? Take a minute to think about it now and make a list of your own. You never know when you will need it.