Other People's Opinions
My mom has a saying:
"If everybody worries about themselves, then everyone's worried about."
When I was a little girl, I never knew what she meant by that. As an adult, it seems obvious--MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS---but I think she meant it a bit deeper than that.
A few days ago, an amazing woman and friend confided in me something that I felt the need to address with all of my tribe. She told me that even though she loves the positive messages that I put out for moms about following their dreams, she was afraid to really follow hers because she was scared what people (family, friends, acquaintances) might think.
She was afraid they might think she was selfish, or that she wasn't a good mom. She feared they would see her as neglecting her husband, because she wouldn't be available for him 24/7.
She worried about how other people would view her choices. Not that they were bad ones, or intrinsically wrong in any way. She was just concerned that her choosing to have something that was just HERS would be frowned upon.
Being me, I told her to not to worry about the haters. I told her that she needed to follow the dreams that were put on her heart by God, and she needed to run towards the completion of her goals--full speed ahead. After all, that's what I preach day in, and day out on Taking Back YOU.
But then, I thought about it. I thought about the faces that I get when I tell someone that I'm an entrepreneur with a lifestyle brand geared towards moms. I can't even begin to tell you how many times people have asked me what my REAL job was, or upon learning that I ran an online brand, offered other (more legitimate) jobs that they thought that I should be doing.
I can see why she would be afraid, and I don't blame her for her concern.
Folks, the world is definitely not here for women who are choosing to follow their own path. Maybe it will be one day, but for right now... the vision for many is, shall we say... lacking.
So when I think about my mother's advice, I realize the brilliance of her words.
You see, I'm the first woman in my family to graduate from college with a 4-year degree. I went on to get a Master's. That was unheard of when my grandma was coming along, and though it was more acceptable by the time my mom came of age, it definitely wasn't the norm.
And don't get me wrong. I had haters. Oooh, girl! I had people that had something to say at every step of my academic career and, subsequently, my work life. I can't tell you how many comments I got called out on the fact that I wasn't married yet, or that I didn't have kids because I was so worried about working.
Do you know how many times people (my extended family included) have actually told me that being a dance instructor wasn't an actual job? Girl, I wish a had a dollar...
And never mind the fact once I got married and had my son, the comments got worse. The idea that I would work AND have a child at home---THE SHAME! THE HORROR!
But I never let those people get me down. I heard them, but I didn't listen because I knew, I know what God wants me to do with my life.
So my mother's words are so much more than MIND YOUR BUSINESS, they are my permission to follow my dreams, no matter what other people think.
Mama, this is your life. Absolutely no one else can live it for you, though they may try. They can try to dictate what you do, but at the end of the day, you've got a pact with God. You are living and breathing for a reason. You've got a job to do, and that job is NOT to allow other people to keep you from doing it. Even if they mean well.
I'm sure you can think of plenty of reasons (one might even say "excuses) not to "do you". But other people's opinions shouldn't be one of them. You have to worry about yourself and your happiness. It's not selfish, it's necessary.
And those people that are judging you, remember they were too scared. They were too afraid to do the thing that you want to do. They were too worried about other people's opinions to follow their own dreams. And at the risk of sounding a bit harsh--Heaven knows you don't want to end up like them!
To all of my tribe, and to mamas everywhere---follow your dreams, and show these haters how it's done!