I’ve been reading a lot lately about Women in Leadership, Tribal Leadership, Team Dynamics, mommy wars, body image, Leaning In versus Leaning Out, having a seat at the table, eating at the table instead of the counter, sibling rivalry (that never never ends), gay marriage, divorce, Syria, the evilification of Mylie Cyrus while ignoring Robin Thicke, power and politics and motherhood and love.
Today I took a break from all that and we had a lazy day, as declared by my six year old son. His goal was to remain in his pajamas and not leave the house. (He only modified his plan when our neighbor came over to visit, so he put on some pants.)
As I was preparing to write this post, I dug into my photo archive. I was looking for a specific kind of picture, depicting me back when I was CAbi consultant. More on that in a second, but I was quite struck by how few photos I have of myself. I suppose this is not surprising given that I am often wielding the camera. But is important to note. I found this one from Christmas 5 years ago. (Nick refused to wear shoes. At least he agreed to see Santa.)
So this weekend I was invited to a CAbi party by my friend Kristina, who is the hippest mom I know. She is the kind of person I wish was my next door neighbor, because every time I interact with her my life is a little bit better. (She is also a devoted reader of my blog, which elevates her into the upper echelon of people I know.)
So here’s my story about CAbi. Carol Anderson is a clothing designer who basically got fed up with her industry. She was tired of designing clothes as dictated by the buyers at Nordstrom. She is an artist, and she is devoted to creating clothes that are flattering, that make women feel better, and that show off her unique style. She got together a few of her friends and decided to create a line of clothing and distribute it directly to the consumer through these friends. I admire her.
About a year before that photo above was taken I went to my first CAbi party. (It’s written that way because it stands for Carol Anderson by invitation. I cannot write it any other way, having consumed the Kool-Aid and all.) I was staying home with my boys after years of being a career woman. I needed my own income, I needed some interaction outside of babies, and I loved every article of clothing I touched. I signed up immediately.
This photo accurately depicts my life at that time. I was a kid wrangler, but wasn’t my jacket adorable? Too bad you can’t see the shirt underneath because it was one of my favorites.
The women who are successful working for Carol Anderson are the ones who treat it like a profession. They live and breathe the brand, and make it their own. It’s one of the most empowering group of people I’ve ever been around. I didn’t realize how much I missed it.
So now I work in a male-dominated industry, and I spend a lot of energy proving myself as educated, talented, credible and smart. Some of the people are never going to consider me in this light, and sometimes it’s because I leave the office in time to have dinner on the table at a time that is beneficial to my family.
There are challenges with every career. Right? When I sold CAbi I struggled to have credibility too.
I believe that women can have a career, support their families, be financially viable members of society while spending time in the classroom, picking kids up from school, monitoring homework and clothes and lives.
Yet I spent so much time apologizing for what I was doing. I felt bad for asking people to help me, but in the end isn’t that what we should be doing? Don’t I firmly believe that we should gather together, drink wine, have fun, and help our fellow woman?
I do firmly believe that. Yet I consistently step back, take my foot off the gas, watch other people live out my dreams.
I would love this post to end with NOT ANYMORE!
But really, tomorrow I will go back to work, make dinner, go to a Cub Scout meeting. At least today was pajama day.