Step in to Your Shoes as a Role Model
The other day, I read through an interesting article by Laura Clydesdale titled “This is How Your Daughter will see herself as a Leader”
Having a daughter, the title caught my eye but her first sentence really caught my interest. In it, she cited research that said:
Only 4% of surveyed American consumers could name a famous woman in tech and 25% of those named “Alexa” or “Siri”. Almost 60% of those individuals could name a famous male in tech.
My first reaction was, “Wait…what??”
But, then I thought about it a moment and realized it’s true. And, sadly, these trends aren’t unique to the tech space but in leadership across our country. Education, business, government…
How can our girls know leadership if there are so few female role models to show them how?
While things are starting to change and today’s women empowerment movements are bringing many more female leaders to the forefront as well as starting to create positive change in how women are viewed, I believe there is a lot we can do in our lives today as moms to be role models of leaders for our girls.
You may think, “But I’m not a leader. I’m a stay at home mom/employee at a company/middle manager/fill in the blank.” But you are so much more!
As single moms, we are the leaders of our homes. We must manage all the aspects of our lives – the schedules, the financials, chores, cooking, our family’s health. We must show strong leadership qualities every day.
With a little further research (and my own experiences) on what makes a good leader, I realized just how many traits of strong leadership moms possess. Tap into yours today and become one of those role models your kids need!
Honesty and Integrity
As divorced women, we have a track record of sticking to our core values and beliefs. Help show your kids what this means and how important it is to stand by what you believe in no matter how difficult it may seem at the time. You, if anyone, know the value of this key leadership trait. Role model this in how you speak about your ex to your kids (which can be hard). Hold your head up high as much as you are able and be proud of how you have stuck to your beliefs during the most difficult of times.
We may not realize it, but we have the opportunity to inspire others in so many moments of our day. We inspire by showing our kids how to act when the going gets tough. We inspire them by setting an example of the person we want to become. We inspire them by showing that we are human and make mistakes but are able to correct our path and celebrate our successes. Find those moments to inspire and celebrate them along the way.
Commitment and Passion
I don’t think there is another role in the world that is more committed and passionate than a mom. We do everything to make life better for our children (admittedly sometimes too much!). Let them see how committed you are to making things work. Don’t let it all happen in the background. Show them how you get your hands dirty and let them get right in there with you sometimes!
While we can all struggle with communication (I currently have a tween and this is definitely a challenge for us), moms are constantly refining our communication skills. Interacting with a toddler versus a kindergartener versus a third grader versus a tween versus a teen are very different languages. Plus, throw in having to successfully communicate with your ex? Trust me, even if you’re not perfect all of the time; this is one area that you are constantly role modeling for your kids.
Another area we regularly role model is accountability. Giving our kids support when they are struggling, helping them realize and learn from their mistakes, holding them accountable for their actions; these are all traits of a great leader that you do every day as a mom.
Moms couldn’t survive without a little delegation in our lives! It’s almost impossible for us to get everything we need to do completed in our day so we have to figure out the key things that we need to do and delegate (or let go) of the rest. Talk to your kids about how you make these decisions. Go through your to do lists and see where they can help (this helps with role modeling accountability as well!). Empower them to take control of their tasks and let go of the little details that don’t matter (read our So What? Blog for tips here!).
Creativity and Innovation
If anything, we are creative. We constantly have to think of how to make things work. No groceries in the house? Figure out how to make dinner from the random things in the fridge. Need a costume for school tomorrow that you just found out about tonight? Pull out the old clothes bin. Have to get two kids to events at the same time? Figure out how to make a copy of yourself for the evening. As moms, we are constantly thinking outside of the box. Let your kids in on this thinking or even brainstorm together how you can problem solve.
This is an important one (and often missing in leaders), especially when you are divorced. You and your kids are and will continue to go through a lot of different emotions throughout your divorce. As moms, we need to do our best to understand the challenges our kids face and understand their pain so we can help them work through it. And, as appropriate, help them understand our challenges and pain. It’s just as important to show that you are human and suffering (and the positive ways you deal with it) as it is to understand your kid’s emotions.
The world may not be quite perfect yet in giving our kids an equal number of strong women leaders as role models but we embody so many key leadership traits in our everyday lives as moms that we can step up and help fill that void. Pick one of the traits above and focus on it for a month. Talk to your kids about it. Embody it. Be their role model. It will make you better and next time someone asks about a great leader, you’re kid will say their mom…any they’ll know exactly why because you have taught them what a true leader looks like!