The Right Words

WordsSometimes finding the right words can be the hardest thing to do. I’m referring to those moments when what you say – and how you say it – reveal who you truly are and what you stand for.  Even as a writer, I feel that my words often betray me, especially with those that I love the most.  Expressing the depth of the love that you feel – or a heaviness of concern for someone that you care for – can become all muddled and jumbled, and in the end, make you end up saying things that you don’t really even mean.

It’s said that there is no other bond like a mother with her children – and I’m finding that this may be the hardest – and most important – area of our lives to find the right words.  Our children start out as extensions of ourselves – they’re a part of us.  And although they become their own people, with the same right to make decisions –and mistakes – as everyone else, their lives are still inextricably tied to ours.

smiley mom and daughter on grass (Photo credit: MyTudut)

As the mother of teenagers, the attitude of my children is now one of “chill out and back off – I know what I’m doing.”  Luckily, my children have been respectful enough not to say that directly – but it’s most certainly the vibe of the times around here.  And I know that as much as I might hate to admit it, I really have no other option than to do that.  I can exercise my obligation to offer advice and “guide” but beyond that, I now have to reach deep and find the inner strength to sit back and wait – then either breathe a sigh of relief or step in and pick up the pieces.  If I’m not careful, there could be casualties at the stage of the game.  These nagging fears could easily strip away the hard-earned inner peace that I’ve found – and at worst, actually alienate and distance me from my children.  It’s a tough line to walk.

Mother holds ChildOf course I know that this isn’t just my experience, but that of every parent that’s ever been.  My Sicilian grandmother, two generations ago, often said “when they’re little they step on your toes – and when they’re older, they step on your heart.” I never really liked the sound that but now I do understand it.   Our hearts are tied together, for better or worse, stronger than any marriage could ever be.  You cannot divorce yourself from your child. At a core level, some part of you leaves a light on for them – waiting for them to return and bring along with them that all-consuming joy that they gifted you with as babies.  I suspect that even seemingly uninvolved mothers, who’ve chosen not to be a part of their children lives, must live out every joy, pain, triumph and heartache with their child, if even in their own imaginations.

So, as a mom with children on the verge of becoming adults – I’m sitting here clumsily trying to learn some new parenting skills – patience, tact and wisdom – all presented with unconditional love. And the right words will be crucial.  I cannot allow my fears for the “what if’s” of life to flavor this conversation.  I have to believe in the strength, integrity and goodness of the souls that I’ve helped to raise – and their ability to find their own way to happy, authentic, and fulfilling lives.  It may be the toughest task I’ve ever taken on – but the one thing I know for sure is that each new day brings with it the opportunity to do better.  And although my words will surely fail me from time to time – there’s always another chance to get it right.

Copyright © 2013 Material is copyrighted but free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address. Marci Wise is the author of Pain, Passion & Purpose. “Like” us on Facebook.

Promoting “True” Female Empowerment

CBS Morning News
CBS Morning News (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The CBS Morning Show has been featuring a week-long series on female empowerment in the workplace  and it brought up a very disturbing point.  It was stated that in the minds of company bosses there are two kinds of women – those who are nice – and those who are ambitious. I felt my stomach sink when I heard those words said out loud because I know from firsthand experience that it’s true.  I remember interviewing for a position early in my career only to have the job go to a less experienced colleague, fresh out of college.  When I asked my boss why I wasn’t given the position, he simply stated that he thought I was too “nice.”

Yes, I actually pride myself on being friendly, cordial and fair – so I certainly couldn’t argue with the fact that I was nice.  But I also pride myself on conducting myself with professionalism – and in doing so hold myself and others to a high standard.  He was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to reprimand or fire employees that weren’t performing up-to-par.  I realized then that I was being stereotyped.  In fact, I would have no problem communicating that information to a subordinate, not through emotion but simply through concrete examples of situations where expectations were not met.Yet, I never got the chance to prove that I was right.  Also complicating the career landscape was the fact that my appearance has often attracted attention.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m no bombshell.  I don’t “work it” Erin Brockovich-style with tight skirts and low-cut blouses, but I do care for  my appearance and try to look well-groomed.  And while I’ll admit that this fact may have opened a few doors for me, it also placed a glass ceiling above my head.Glass_ceiling

Whiney example number two: When I was working as a videotape editor for a nightly newscast, I prided myself on making use of powerful editing techniques to give a story maximum impact.  When my superior told me that my piece had been chosen by another manager to inspire his department to edit with with a little more finesse, I was pleased.  And my boss was pleased too – until he discovered that it was my piece that was chosen – laughingly saying “Oh, now I understand…”  Ouch.  How could I ever hope to fight people’s deep-rooted perceptions?

Granted, I’m in my mid-40’s so perhaps my examples are ancient history. I certainly hope that things have improved a little with regards to gender bias.  Since were seeing more and more women – strong women – achieving super-success, I would say that must be true.  It’s inspiring – and it makes you wonder about the amazing potential of a future world where the dominant feminine qualities of kindness, compassion, patience and commitment will further color the landscape.

Instead of running from those attributes, or dumbing them down in exchange for the acceptance of others, we should honor them and allow them to carve out new roads to more enlightened destinations. Beauty, tolerance and a nurturing nature offer us a doorway to a more peaceful existence – and I can’t think of a more powerful thing than that.

Copyright © 2013 Material is copyrighted but free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address. Marci Wise is the author of Pain, Passion & Purpose. “Like” us on Facebook.