Mother = Leader
“I am endlessly fascinated that playing football is considered a training ground for leadership, but raising children isn’t.” — Dee Dee Myers, former White House Press Secretary
In a little over a month we will be celebrating Mother’s Day and a few days after I turn 42. For many years I have dreaded the week of Mother’s Day and my birthday. I would spiral into depression in the weeks before and finally start to shake it off around Memorial Day. In other words…May was not a month I looked forward too.
God makes all things new! I did not battle depression over the holidays and I won’t go into that abyss in May. But this history of depression gave me pause and I felt the need to evaluate it. This is not me revisiting my sorrow and trying to revive it, I want to understand why so I can turn to God before I am over my head. I consider myself to be a rather self-aware person, that is not an accident. I pick apart the things I go through and how I respond. I try to do better in the future.
I have talked to women I know from work, church and even my family only to find none of us are 100% happy and satisfied with the job we are doing as mothers. We all talk about our failures and shortcomings. Our stories are vastly different. Some have working Mom guilt, still others feel guilty for not contributing financially to the home. Some rehash the mistakes and poor choices they have made and how those choices impacted their children. In short, none of us have it all together…or do we?
A good leader evaluates progress. They look for methods to make procedures more efficient and to achieve desired outcomes. They schedule and work against deadlines. They manage a budget that, if mishandled, result in ruin for the project or an entire organization. Sounds like being a Mom to me. We are hard on ourselves because we are constantly trying to figure out how to do this mothering thing better. The kids did not come with handbooks. What works for one child, fails for the next. (Like managing a team of individuals.) The correlations between the home and the boardroom are practically endless.
Champions in the Background
Women have felt they needed to be silent and supportive. We do need to be supportive. Divisive women are a danger. We do not need to be silent. We need to trouble shoot in our churches and our workplaces with the same tenacity we utilize at home with our warring children. NEWSFLASH!!! You do not have to be perfect or have it all together. Be real. Be yourself. Be committed.
Ladies, we can speak up and not be divisive. If our hearts are truly in line to see positive change, to empower fellow Christians and spread God’s word…we can stand up and let our voices be heard. However, make sure your heart is in the right place. Are you being a change agent or divisive. There is a difference. We must be authentic to who we are in Christ.
“Presenting leadership as a list of carefully defined qualities (like strategic, analytical and performance-oriented) no longer holds. Instead, true leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed… Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.” — Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook
I have a great deal of faith in the staff at my church. Why? First I believe they have hearts chasing after God. Second, they are authentic. I have seen no attempt to put up a façade of perfection. Some of our staff is quite young. They are still developing the assorted skills that come with a mantle of leadership. Those of us with years of experience leading teams, raising families and such could storm in a dictate what they do right or wrong…that would be divisive. Instead, there are quiet, loving conversations geared at solving problems, not placing blame. As a mother, the instinct in to come at people like a lioness, but attacks solve nothing…they only give Satan a foothold in the situation.
Ladies, as we encounter young parents, young church leaders and even established leaders, we must approach each situation with a measure of grace. We have each been forgiven much in our lives. We have embraced and enjoyed the mercy that God bestows on his children. We owe it to others to be authentic and address issues with love, grace and mercy.
You are not a perfect person or perfect Mom. None of us achieve that title. You are authentic. You could be a driven, career-focused, powerhouse of a leader. You may be the domestic engineer of your family…which is no less demanding or important. The point is…be you. God gave you certain talents, motivations and desires for a reason. When you hit a slump, as we all do, reach out to your fellow warriors in faith. Accept that each of you carries a measure of weakness, but together you are stronger than any foe.
Motherhood…scratch that, parenting is the ultimate training ground for leadership. We are constantly negotiating, sometimes with terrorist. We balance the budget, plan events and organize peace treaties between rival siblings. Do not be afraid to expand your skills and use them to build your church up. Help develop young leaders, support established leaders, and most of all bring strength to the body of Christ.