Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Sometimes You Have to Untie Their Shoelaces

The classic metaphor about moms with young children is that the kids are tied to mom’s apron strings; in other words, it is the mom who decides when the kids will be set free.  This metaphor is misleading for two reasons:  first of all, you should know by now that you will never catch me (or many other moms for that matter) in an apron.  And secondly, I think this metaphor has it backwards.  It is us moms who are tied to our kids, via their shoelaces.  It is our children’s decision when to venture off into the world on their own.  They decide when they can go down the slide at the park solo.  They decide when they can dress themselves.  And they decide when they can tie their own shoelaces, thereby setting us free.  
I have come to realize that a mom’s independence or ability to indulge in following her own dreams, without a debilitating case of The Guilites, seems to be inversely related to how old their children are.  In other words, the younger your kids, the more tied to Mommyland you are.  I know when I first got pregnant and entered mommyhood I never wanted an escape from Mommyland.  Just the opposite actually.  I wanted to drag every single one of my friends in there with me.  I forced them to relive every poopy diaper, every hiccup, and every bottle (of milk, not wine as per usual) with me.  For once in my life I didn’t give two cents what Perez Hilton had to say about the latest Hollywood gossip (unless it involved a celeb having a baby).  And I had no idea how my husband was able to get up every morning and leave our son to go to work.  I couldn’t even stand it when someone else got to hold our baby, so I couldn’t imagine leaving him completely for any length of time.
The problem with this is that after a while you start to lose yourself in Mommyland.  Each day your child grows a little less dependent on you until you are forced to realize that your sense of self has become dependent on them.  Then it hits you – one day your kids aren’t going to rely on you anymore, the shoelaces will be untied if you will, and your sense of purpose and worth will disappear.  
Which is why it is so important to escape Mommyland every once in a while.  Alice and I escape by writing this blog (hence the title).  We both have a passion for writing and realized that we needed to do something just for ourselves so our self-worth didn’t solely rely on whether or not our kids ate all their vegetables.  But everyone’s passion is different, and whatever yours is, you should make time to go out and follow it.  Even if that means you have to do it at 1am as Alice and I are often forced to (check out the publish dates on the last few posts – I am so not kidding on this one!). 
A mom I know in Toronto has taken this idea to the next level.  Not only has she taken the initiative to follow her passion for business, but she has used this passion to help organize an event that will help other moms, and anyone else for that matter, learn about how to achieve success, be at peace and follow their passion.  Together with Stuart Knight Productions she has helped bring the Top 10 Event to fruition. 
Basically this event consists of ten celebrity speakers (Brett Wilson from Dragon’s Den, Canadian Idol Judge Jake Gold, Kelly Carlson from Nip Tuck, and Rex Harrington from So You Think You Can Dance just to name a few), who each have a story to tell and a lesson to offer, coming together in one evening to share their insights with you.  The problem with so many of us is that we don’t know what our passion is, how to find it or how to pursue it.  What better way to figure out the answers to those questions than by hearing from others who have been there, done that and succeeded more than they ever imagined?  The best part is that a portion of the proceeds of this event goes to support the Stephen Lewis Foundation, so not only are you helping yourself by attending, you will be helping others as well.

One of the most important lessons I have learned in life is to grab hold of the opportunities that come your way – you don’t want to live with regrets, constantly wondering ‘what if’.  This event is one of those opportunities.  I for one will be attending.  If you are going to be in or around the GTA on August 4th, 2011, get your tickets now because they won’t last long. 
As parents it is up to us to set the example for our kids.  If we want them to follow their dreams than we have to set the example by following ours.  So for one night I am going to untie the shoelaces and slip away from Mommyland for a while, and for once I will refuse to feel guilty about it.  I’ll just tie the laces back up in the morning and the kids will never know I was gone. Unless they see me later on T.V - did I mention this event was going to be filmed and airing on Slice in the fall?  Get your tickets now - I'll see you there.

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