All the moms out there understand how much of the Mom Job includes cheerleading our kids throughout all the stages of their lives. What I didn’t expect was how much our kids would be MY cheerleader throughout the various stages of my entrepreneurial experiences.
Whether Nate and Bebe were 5 and 2, respectively, or now at 12 and 9, they’ve always let me know how much they believe in me and that I’d triumph in whatever I was trying to do.
I think there are two reasons our kids would get an A in Cheerleading. First, John and I have made sure the kids know WHY we’re working so hard toward our goals. We’ve always been so vocal because we knew that our efforts affected them— whether it was not being able to always be at their beck and call, having to stay quiet while I’m doing a call or a webinar in my home office, or missing a birthday because of an important trip—and understanding what and why we were doing, and what’s in it for them, would make it easier to deal with.
Second, we wanted to make sure that our kids learned the priceless lesson of watching someone set a goal and work really hard to accomplish it, even in the face of doubts, challenges and mistakes. I read a long time ago in a parenting book how powerful it is to talk out loud to our kids about struggles and doubts we’re thinking. So that’s what I’ve done all these years. They’ve been able to see that even Mom has these kinds of thoughts, and they get to follow my thinking while I come up with a different mindset or a solution. Now, I’m sure much of it was mere noise to them, like the grown-up voices in the Peanuts cartoons (Wah Wah Wah Wah Wah). But I know that some of it HAD to get in there. Because they’ve said it right back to me, just when I needed it most.
I’ve also shared countless stories of our business partners with them, regaling the reasons why these people jumped off the entrepreneurial cliff, the challenges along the way and what led to their triumphs. These stories have come in real handy in the last couple years as our kids have dealt with injuries that have sidelined them from their passions, math lessons that were tough to grasp, bullying and more.
I guess you could say Nate and Bebe’s childhoods have been filled with personal development messages from two parents who have built careers out of cheerleading others onto business success, more confidence and better health. And it’s one of the most rewarding parts of being a mom when I hear one of the kids give someone a pep talk. With increasing frequency, that someone is themselves. It means that if I’ve taught them nothing else, I’ve shown them that if they work hard and stay positive and get out of their own way, they can do anything. On the many days that I’m a hot mess and feeling like a total Mom failure, I cling to this knowledge.
That’s why it was no surprise the other night when Nate and I were having our precious end-of-day chats and he asked me how I was. Not “Hey, how are ya?” This 12-year-old doesn’t ask superficial questions. He wanted to know “How ARE you?” When I explained that I was feeling anxious about a new project, unsure it would be any good, he grabbed my hand and looked at me with those still impossibly huge chocolate eyes. “Of course you’re afraid, that’s normal. But you know you can do this, and the people who are meant to get something out of it will love it. You know you’ve got to go for it, right?”
Bebe, who should’ve been in bed already, rounded the corner and asked what we were talking about. Nate happily summarized it all for her. “Oh, so basically you’re reminding mom that she needs to EFF FEAR.”
Wherever did she hear that?