I'm not a Mom
I adore Rachel Hollis.
Maybe because she's tiny and passionate and energetic and awkward. Her super fun lash and hair extensions, Jay-Z quotes, and Rachel-isms.
Maybe because she is an unabashed work-a-holic who has stripped down so much of the advice of the personal development world to some basic truths backed by her own story and experiences.
Maybe because she wrote a book and no one published it, so she published it and has kept writing. Because she is kind and tries all sorts of things because trying new things makes her happy. Because there is always a next thing and a new achievement.
Because she cried on insta when she made the New York Times Bestseller list and I, for no apparent reason, cried with her.
If Elizabeth Gilbert is my #spritualgangster, Rachel Hollis is my #weirdbrainmentor.
Like Liz, because I talk to them in my head like my #besties, as one does, I identify with Rachel. In all kinds of ways. So when she calls herself on some of her excuses, I call myself on mine. I don't have #mommyguilt, but I don't need to have kids to get the point of her story.
Do you know one of my HUGEST excuses for not getting out there and saying what I want to say and chasing down my dreams of helping women avoid or get out of burnout, pain, depression, anxiety,grief? This is literally my number one excuse and it feels like truth.
I do not have enough credibility to help other women because I'm not a Mom.
Read that again.
Maybe once more.
THIS is in my head all of the time. I've seen it play a surprising role in my life as a lawyer, and my role within a lawfirm. I feel it in my friendships and how they space out in time and expression as they have this whole new set of life experiences.
My wife and I chose not to have children on purpose, and it was a decision largely based on conversations with members of my family throughout my life.
But I still feel an ocean of unworthiness and lack of qualification.
Even when talking to my sister or my best friend, I worry I should hold back, because what do I know?
I'm not a Mom.
And I'll spare you the list of times and places when that comes up in my mind in response to a decision I make.
But Rachel takes the momminess out of it. She does her work because she loves it and it's who she is. Sure she identifies benefits of being a working mom for her kids, but that is not her motivation. Her work exists on the same plane as husband, kids and self-care.
Her message is about HER LIFE. Not her kids.
I identify with her stories about being a Mom because for her, it's another thing that is a part of her.
So I wonder how much of this story about "I'm not a Mom" is about me and how much it is about people who don't identify with all the other parts of me. Maybe the kids are irrelevant, but my lack of concern about pilates is a deal-breaker. Maybe me being a lawyer just doesn't vibe with her idea of the person with whom she wants to do business.
It's a challenging idea, because then it suggests that some women with kids will think I'm the bees knees and ask me all the ways I can help them get their ten-year old more emotional support for school bullies and focus for studying math and playing the piano.
Others will think I have no clue about how to help them support their kid's health with oils. That I lack the experience and qualifications to tell her that basil is the best oil to use (heavily diluted) for her seven-year old's earache, but if she doesn't have it, melaluca works great too. And maybe some peppermint to help with the pain.
I have to be okay with it. At some point, I made peace with the idea that I just wasn't going to be the right lawyer for some clients or some firms because I didn't have kids. Even with some companies or teams. That some friends will find me less valuable because what do I know.
I have to believe that the friends I have cultivated over the many years love me for all the different parts that make me who I am and not because they are relieved I don't have kids.
Because I know that if I can identify with #mommyguilt, some woman out there with kids can identify with #nokidsnoshame.