I find it so much easier to focus on my leadership skills in my business and organisation settings. This is the natural default of where our minds go. The most important leadership role I have, though, is not in those arenas. It is in my home where I hold the title of ‘mother’. Do you see yourself as a leader because you are a parent or do you dismiss the importance of this role? I am taking a few minutes to step back and reflect on whether I am becoming the mother I want to be for my daughter. Does anything else even matter if I mess this up?
Why is it so much harder for me to invest into this part of my life? I think the very importance of it makes me avoid it in my mind. Fear of failing as a mother carries so much more pain and weight than failing in any other area. Being a ‘good’ parent seems so much harder to quantify than being good at the work I do. There is so much information out there, along with judgement and conflicting opinions that I get overwhelmed at times. Survival mode sucks me in and I don’t take the time to figure out what I want to be doing differently.
Where do we start?
Leading myself well as a parent starts with needing a vision of the mother I want to be, both as an individual and in a team with my husband. When was the last time you sat and thought about developing a vision for your parenting? This needs to take into account who we are and who our children are. The vision I have for myself may look nothing like yours. That’s okay! When we have this picture of the family we are building for the long term, we can filter our everyday decisions and moments through this lens.
Stepping Up In Leadership excerpt
This excerpt from a chapter of my book, Stepping Up In Leadership (releasing as an audiobook in May!), gives part of my vision:
“If you have a daughter, you likely have similar hopes to me— you want her to grow up strong, with a compassionate heart and the skills to make an impact in her world. Children learn best through the modelling of the adults in their lives. I have the opportunity to show her how to work hard for a cause you believe in, how to be a leader and how to love the people in your life. I can show her how to make family a priority without having to sacrifice everything that you are and are called to. I can model my faith being worked out in real situations and show her what it looks like to seek guidance. I can model how to take care of myself physically, emotionally and mentally while serving in a role. I have to be practising all of these things in my own life to be able to demonstrate it to her. It is just as easy (or perhaps easier) to model unhealthy ways of leading, serving, overload and burn-out. Knowing those little eyes are watching stirs me to be a better leader.”Stepping Up in Leadership: Reflections from the journey– Jo Koepke
I know I will mess up at times (or daily!). I am a work in progress and so are you. We can show our kids how to be human- making mistakes, owning them and restoring relationships. What an opportunity to show them how to have compassion for themselves and others. We want that for our kids then forget to do that for ourselves. I may not be the mother I want to be yet but I can take steps in that direction.
- Say yes to a game instead of focusing on something on my to do list
- Put down my phone to be present with her
- Do what I say I’m going to do
- Listen, really listen, when she is talking to me
- Keep working on problem-solving strategies together rather than imposing my agenda
- Make time to exercise, journal, pray and decompress so I can be healthy
- Look past the behaviour to what struggle is at the root of it.
I can never be a perfect parent. Neither can you. I can keep growing and becoming the mother I want to be for my daughter.