When you dive into the depths of the challenges of motherhood, it can be hard to make it back to the surface. Some days you come up for that quick breath before going back down to retrieve the survival dive sticks… but thankfully there are also the days when you get to crawl up the ladder, sit on a chair on the pool deck and gain the oxygen that you need before you have to navigate the waters again.
This past weekend I attended the BlogHer conference down in Orlando and experienced the chance to fill my lungs with that air.
I breathed some of it in through keynote speakers who inspired my soul. Some of it was floating in a cocktail by the pool. Some of it was simply realizing that I had taken the time to choose myself and unignore my passions.
But the most energizing oxygen I took in?
The connection with other women.
I learned about so many journeys. I was inspired by success through struggle. I felt the power that IS being surrounded by people who want to make a difference and not have a box drawn around them that they have to stay in.
While I certainly met a few people who were there to push their own agenda, I also met ones who simply longed for an agenda to have. And I also met people who were interested in mine and how we could work together to build each other’s up.
On the very first day, I was standing in the registration line with fellow writer Dana Kamp of 39ish Life. We had previously “met” in an online group… but it was our first time being face to face and there was something in me that knew that we were meant to be friends.
As I was completing that thought in my head, she reached into her bag and pulled out a folder that said “Be Yourself,” and then handed it to me and smiled.
“This is for you.”
Turns out she had seen my video where I shared my insecurities about packing for the conference… revealing the all-up-in-my-head-ness about my clothes that was putting a hole in my unbridled excitement about taking the trip.
And she saw the opportunity to help me push through that with her support.
Dana is a Mom of four boys. A writer. A wife. A person who lives in the same world that I do where there is barely enough time to keep up with our own lives let alone consider someone else’s.
But she DID consider mine.
She thought of ME… someone who is a stranger in most definitions.
Her gesture was simple and grand at the same time.
Because as women – and especially as mothers – we spend a lot of time caring for our families, managing the schedule and making sure the people around us have their needs met. So, in that moment, to be shown that I was the one being thought of in return, was a gesture that sunk deep into my mama heart.
We could all take a page from Dana’s book…. the chapter that reads: “Slow down, SEE people and embrace the chance to lift them up.”
We need to MAKE time to support the people we feel connected to. We need to offer support when we have it to give. We need to remember that just as much as we need to be loved, other women need to be loved too. And sometimes we can receive the fulfillment we need when we choose to fulfill the hearts of the people around us.
I think we all hope to believe that’s what we are. But Dana’s gesture was a reminder to me that I can do better. I can be a better fellow mom and human being.
That in the ten minutes it takes me to Facebook scroll in the morning, I could use that time instead to send a note to a friend. To check in on someone who I know who has been struggling lately. To talk about kindness with my kids.
We have the time and the selflessness in us. We just have to stop making the waters that we swim in so deep that we make it harder to find the surface, breathe in the air and remember who we are and what we are capable of putting out into the world.
When I pulled the folder from Dana out of my bag when I got home, its “Be Yourself” message challenged me.
What does it mean to be “myself?”
I certainly hope it means to be a little more like Dana.
Selfless. Aware. And a relentless advocate for the women around me.
(Dana and I after conga-lining through the BlogHer closing party.)