14 years ago, I sat in a Modern Political Theory class at Clemson University. I had just two more semesters left to go before graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech and Communication Studies and Political Science. I was already studying hard for the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) and had eager aspirations of attending the University of Maryland in order to get a Master’s Degree in Political Communications. From them on, I was going to attain a job at the State Department and possibly get myself a job somewhere overseas. Then and only then would I consider my life to have been a success. Needless to say, my life didn’t go down that path, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a success.
14 years ago, the thought of a husband and children was not a part of my life’s dream. It didn’t seem to fit into the equation of the goals I’d set for myself. Plus, at that point in my life, being a wife and mother was just ho hum. It was average and there really wasn’t anything spectacular about it. I needed more than just average. There would be no success story found anywhere there, or so I’d told myself.
The past few years of my life have helped me to change my view of what success really is and I’d like to share it with you all, especially for you other mothers out there who are perhaps not doing what you thought you would be doing with your life years ago. I do have my Bachelors Degree from Clemson University and I did manage to go to grad school, albeit not at Maryland, but through Webster University and it wasn’t in Communications, but instead Business Administration. I’m not exactly using any of my degrees at this point, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a success.
I’ve met quite a few mothers who feel that they need to find a way to balance it all in order to be successful. Many of my friends still feel that having that illustrious career is what makes them successful. They feel that the world judges them because they are women who have children and a career. But, here’s an idea…maybe your children could be your career and you could be just as successful at it or more so than at some corporate America job.
The past couple of weeks I’ve found myself reflecting upon my life and the choices I’ve made…where they’ve led me and how I feel about the end result. And here’s what I’ve found, my life is more successful now than I could have ever imagined stationed at some Embassy or political post overseas. How have I come to that you ask? Well, here are a few examples of how I measure success, especially as a stay at home mom to a 2 & 1/2 year old and a 2 & 1/2 month old.
Last week, Davey met one of my former colleagues from my days in Corporate America. He reached out his hand, shook her hand and said, “Nice to meet you.” Success! I have a very well mannered son.
Davey saw another child crying over the weekend at a rugby game. He walks over to the child and says, “It will be alright, would you like to play with Davey?” Success! He’s empathetic and concerned.
Davey walked over to his friend at church on Sunday and began singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star with her and even held her hand. Success! He’s learned the words to the song and is such a happy little boy to sing along with his friend.
Every Tuesday morning that I take Davey to school, he immediately walks over to his teachers and hugs them both. Success! I have a loving child.
Every Tuesday that I pick him up from school, he tells all of his friends goodbye, taking the time to hug each one of them. Success! He’s a friend to all.
At every meal, he doesn’t eat until he’s said the blessing and thanked the Lord for what we have. Success! He’s learning the importance of thanking God.
And at least once a day, I’m asked to read Jesus to him, which means Davey would like a Bible story. Success! He’s learning about God!
These are only just a few small examples of what makes me feel successful not only as a mom, but as a woman and as a person in general. I don’t make tens of thousands of dollars and there are days when I feel like my job as a mother is just a complete failure, but when I see my son, outgoing, loving, smart, and well-mannered, I know I’ve been a success. When I see his smile every morning (and Henry’s too), I know that I’ve been the most successful person I could ever be. I’ve birthed two beautiful boys, both inside and out, and I’ve managed to mold them into children who will become successful adults as well. And again, their success won’t necessarily be measured by awards and dollar figures, but more about the character and integrity they have as young men.
I am a success.