• J Mess


I might seem mean now, but you'll thank me later. Or you can thank me now.

A couple of years ago I attended a leadership conference for work. It entailed gathering feedback from your colleagues about your leadership style and using that feedback to learn about yourself and in turn become a stronger leader. Many of my colleagues at my old company went through this same training at different points during their careers and for some reason most people were quite hush-hush about the experience and mostly about their results. Probably because some of the results were harsh-harsh. The colleague survey was anonymous so people really went to town on you. I quite vividly recall some of the survey questions because I took that damn survey so many times for other colleagues and it took almost 2 hours each time. Questions like, "does this person like to take all of the credit or do they allow others to shine?," "does this person enjoy the spotlight and demand recognition?"

So I'm sure you're dying to know. What kind of leader was I? My results were something like Master/Commander/Attacker domineering overall bitchy person. Scientific right? Or in other words just the perception of every woman in a leadership role. I cried on the shoulder of some older dude I was partnered with who worked in an airplane factory (Boeing I think, wonder how he's feeling these days...) and whose colleagues had labeled him something wonderfully lovable like Team Builder/Stabilizer. I vowed never to return to work again. I threw out the notebook that contained my fate and the little "bell" I was supposed to leave on my desk for people to ring when I was attacking or commanding. Or in other words getting things done efficiently and not dealing with anyone's BS. It's okay. I'm not still bitter about it. (I am.) Because these days instead of running a team of creatives, I run my house like a Boss Mom.

You can call me Master, Commander, or Mom. It doesn't matter, it all means the same thing.

Don't get me wrong, I am far from a "Tiger mom." Unless you call my child a baby, then I will cut you. But I do like things done a certain way and a little order and routine never hurt anyone. I do not run a Captain Von Trapp household though. Quite the opposite, but possibly still with all of the weird singing. I work hard to create these routines that I think bring a sense of calm to our days.

And I never thought I'd be the kind of mom that needed recognition all of the time but now that you mention it, I wouldn't mind a monument going up of me. Or even just a bust. Being a mom is supposed to be selfless right? But, I have to say every now and then it's nice to be over-appreciated. Or even just regular appreciated for all of the nonstop hard work. Do I take all of the credit? HELL. YES. I. DO.

I marinated that child in my womb for 9 months. I let him share my space, my nutrients, add 50 pounds to my body. I endured as they sliced me open, removed a baby, then all of my insides, and then put my insides back in. I barely survived as the sole food source otherwise known as milk cow for 6 months, waking up every 3 hours in the middle of the night to provide nourishment. And now I make him breakfast, get him ready for school, drop him off, pick him up, entertain him for 3 hours, make him dinner, give him a bath, get him ready for bed, do his laundry, do his dishes, sing him songs, read him books, make sure his shoes and clothes fit and if they don't buy him new ones, make sure he's happy and knows he's loved, amongst the many millions of other things that keep a tiny helpless human alive everyday. Do I allow my husband to shine? Sure he can shine whenever he wants. In fact, he can be super shiny every weekend. But do I take all of the credit? HELL. YES. I. DO.

Because being the primary caregiver is exhausting. And those days when I just want to crawl back into bed and hide all day, or hire a short-order chef to make dinner, I can't. There's no escape. Because I made this small human and now I'm responsible for him. Stuff needs to get done, and I have to do it. So basically what I'm saying is moms work hard and I see you. All of the dinners. All of the help with homework and projects. All of the carpools to activities. All of the playdates. All of the birthday parties. All of the halloween costumes. All of the trendy clothing. YOU GO MOMS! And to my own mom, oh god why didn't you warn me?!??! Nevermind, I know the answer...


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