The Day I Was Asked to Move

woman pointingHonestly, I have struggled with low self-worth and marginal self-confidence since moving to Seattle two and a half years ago. I have worked my entire adult life, pulling in a decent paycheck to cover my expenses plus a few extras. Now that I am the new girl in a city where I have few friends with a business that is relatively unknown, I am making about zero. Although I am taking excellent care of my family, I am equating my business net worth with my personal self-worth. I know this is the wrong way of viewing it, but it is a difficult mindset to alter.

I was recently asked to attend a $150 per plate (suggested donation) luncheon for the second year. I am new to Seattle, and although this is a hefty sum for my business, I accepted because, me forever being the optimist, you never know who you will meet and the connections you might make.

My table captain texted me the day of the event telling me she had oversold the table by one and that I would be sitting nearby. I was not bothered because I knew I could make good connections regardless of where I sat. I arrived uncharacteristically early to see I was not only one of the first to my table, but I was also sitting at the table of my original table captain. Great!

I settled in and I began chatting with each person as they arrived. I was delighted to see one lady I recognized from last year, and I waved and smiled as I drawled, “Heeeey!!!” across the table. I was having a nice time!

About five minutes before the program was to begin, I noticed a small hubbub off to the side. My table captain and another lady were speaking to each other. Suddenly, my table captain asked me from across the table if I would move so this other lady could sit down. I was stunned and embarrassed. I quietly told the gentleman seated to my left I was being asked to move, and I quickly gathered my belongings and vacated the seat.

As I sat one table over in my new seat, I was rattled and hurt. The little self-worth I had remaining was spent. I felt tears welling up despite telling myself not to be upset. That’s when I knew I had to leave to avoid making a scene. As discreetly as I could, I left with my $150 check still in my wallet, and I cried in my car all the way home. As I recounted the story to my husband that evening, I cried some more.

To be made to feel you are not welcome, not good enough or not important hurts beyond description. To be fair to my table captain, her actions were not a personal attack. She was simply accommodating those who had been long-time supporters at this event. However, I was taught one makes the newcomer feel the most welcomed of all.

Because I am an optimist and I look for lessons in the trials of life, here are three things I took away from this difficult day:

  • Know your place at the table. You may not be good enough to be at one person’s table, but you sit at the head of your own table and you have the seat of honor at many tables of those around you. One person’s opinion of you does not define you.

 

  • Keep saying yes. Do not allow one bad experience to send you into hiding. Keep your head up, remain true to yourself and continue to accept invitations that come your way. Keeping your heart open is a vulnerable position, but closing your heart is damaging to you and to those around you.

 

  • Remember the lesson when it’s your turn. One day I will be the table captain so to speak. That will be my opportunity to handle the situation differently, making all in my company feel as though they are the most important person in the room.

 

Bethany2015-8795Parting thought: If one day you are asked to move (either literally or figuratively), my advice would be to do so quietly and gracefully, holding onto the knowledge that you are valuable beyond measure.

My Advice To New Moms

PRINT_MG_6479-3I will preface this blog by saying I am not an expert in raising a child. I have 6-year old twins, but this by no means makes me an authority. I read one or two books on caring for a baby before the birth of mine, and that was it.

I was asked by a soon-to-be mom for my motherhood advice. I proffered what was on my mind. She loved it. So, I thought I’d share it on my blog for others who may appreciate it, as well.

  • Don’t go it alone. We’ve all heard “it takes a village” to raise a child. Truer words were never spoken. Don’t try to do everything yourself. If others offer to help you, let them. You will need breaks, and you will need extra hands. Find a mom group in your community for advice and support, for play dates, and, most importantly, for Mom’s Night Out!
  • Trust your instincts. You will be amazed at things you will “just know” because you are their mom even when they cannot tell you what is bothering them. You will learn to read their cries and their moods. However, call the pediatrician and nurses as much as you need to. You will need their guidance.
  • The baby phase goes fast. Try to enjoy it, but it is okay if you sort of hate it sometimes, too. There will be days when you are over all of it. That is fine, and that is normal. (See point #1 about Mom’s Night Out.)
  • Feed your baby however you need to. Advice on breast feeding changes constantly. Do what you can and do what feels right to you and your baby. Each situation and baby is unique. If breast feeding doesn’t work out for you, your baby will be fine! I pumped milk for seven months for my twins and guess what? Once they started crawling, they were sick all the time, and they pretty much stayed sick until two months ago. I am sure I gave them good nutrients, but do not put a lot of pressure on yourself to make it work.
  • Your life will be messy and disorganized. This includes your schedule, your house and don’t get me started on Mommy Brain. It’s real. Just know that one day you won’t have bottles spread all over your kitchen counter, or diapers filling up your trash. You will get back to a new normal, which will still be a bit chaotic and messy, but not as much as the baby phase.
  • You will be a GREAT mom. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “I am a horrible mother,” either from other women or inside my own head. No, we are not horrible. In fact, we are fantastic. Do not feed yourself negative talk ever. You will have your own strengths as a mother. They may not be the same as your mom’s nor will they be exactly like those of other moms around you. But your child will think you are THE best mom ever. And at the end of the day, that is all that matters.

IMG_8618Have fun, be yourself, don’t compare, and by all means, sleep as much as possible!

My best,

Bethany

(Photos of Nathan & Vivien as infants by Dahlia & Daisies Designs.)

What I Learned at the YWCA Luncheon

I had the immense pleasure of attending the YWCA 2016 Seattle luncheon yesterday where I sat with many talented, smart business women, including our table captain J.C. Johnson and Dr. Constance Rice, along with WA state senator Bob Hasegawa of the 11th District. I must admit I knew very little about the YWCA before attending; however, their goal of eliminating racism and empowering women stirred me.

IMG_0180As a mom of twins, I know personally many tasks associated with parenting fall to the mom, and I have enjoyed this important role since their entry into the world over five years ago. But as I listened to Natalia Arredondo speak to us as a former program participant who came to the YWCA as a broken woman with a baby, no job and mounting legal troubles, my heart was heavy with the burdens moms carry of raising their children, attaining and keeping well-paying jobs and building a quality life for their families. It is difficult beyond words, and I am so grateful the YWCA is there to lift up women who need people to believe in them while they may not believe in themselves.

As I listened to the keynote speaker, University of Washington’s president Ana Mari Cauce, share with us about a study of mothers and daughters she conducted at the outset of her career, it made me think of my relationship with my daughter. Would she and I would have the same fights that Dr. Cauce said are most common between mothers and daughters: staying out too late, hanging out with questionable friends, and cleaning her room? Probably! However, by working through those issues with careful, thoughtful conversations, we will survive!

Dr. Cauce also spoke about racism, which we often think of in obvious terms, but she spoke of an unconscious bias that is in each of us for which we must own up to. She said, “We are the problem, but we are also the solution.” Amen to that, sister.

Two high points I took away from yesterday are: (1) Higher education empowers a woman’s financial freedom – only 3% of women with a bachelor’s degree live in poverty compared to women without a high school diploma of which 40% live in poverty. Stay in school, ladies! (2) My role as a mother is the most important job I will ever do. My career progression may stall as I spend time with them in these formative years, but this is a short season.  I am equipping my children to make positive contributions to our society and our world.

Thank you, YWCA, for fueling my gas tank. The job of “mom” is the hardest one in existence, and we need these little pick-me-ups to keep us going!—Bethany