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

 

Overrated: Acting Your Age

Many of you know my age, but if you were meeting me for the first time, would you accurately guess it?  Time after time I’m told I look younger than my calendar years.  God bless you!  Other than taking great care of your body and your skin, one of the keys to looking younger than your years is to avoid dressing your age.  Allow me to explain.

I am often asked about age-appropriateness when it comes to clothing, makeup and hairstyle.  I believe you can look chic and current at any age.  There is no reason why someone must dress ‘old’ regardless of their age.  One should never give up on style. ‘Old’ dressing paints a graphic picture in my head of mu-mu dresses and orthopedic shoes. Not on my watch, sister!

Here’s how not to look old:  add a touch of youth to every outfit.  I whole-heartedly believe certain styles are best worn by certain age groups.  However, if you add a youthful color to your ensemble or wear an accessory that harks back to your younger years, you will most assuredly throw the hounds off your tracks.  No one will ever guess your age.  Don’t go overboard.  Notice I said to add ‘a touch of youth.’  A mom in her daughter’s outfit will always look like a mom in her daughter’s outfit.  Learn to use a light touch when adding youth to your look.

 

For your viewing pleasure, I am modeling my favorite spring / summer handbag.  It is a simple cotton bag that could be carried by a young woman at least half my age.  But I immediately fell in love with it when I saw it.  I wasn’t sure how I’d make it work, but I was willing to give it a try.  My trick when I carry it is to balance the look by toning down the rest of my outfit and making sure everything else is age-appropriate.  A little bit goes a long way.