Shortly after my daughter was born in 2003, I found an online "mommunity" (can I claim inventing that word?) called "Maya's Mom" and met many wonderful ladies in all stages of mommiehood - TTC to moms of adult children. It was an online home; I think my homepage was even set to Maya's Mom. Time passed and Maya's Mom was bought by/sold to Babycenter.com, and the separate Maya's mom site was no more. We "refugees" sought each other out on Facebook and MySpace. Quite a number of us still stay in contact, such was the close-knittedness of our group. I had not found its like since.
Until yesterday, that is. According to the site,
"The Mom Pledge is about women standing up, speaking out, and coming together to eradicate online bullying among moms. The time has come for us to take the power back and own this issue."
How cool is that? So, last night, I proudly became blog#395 in The Mom Pledge Community.
So, how to express what this pledge means to me? I thought I would take one principle per day (or maybe per post would be a better way of putting it, seeing as my motivation has been tremendously cyclic this year) and elaborating a little.
"I am proud to be a mom. I will conduct myself with integrity in all my online activities. I can lead by example."
I am proud to be a mom.
Most of my life, I've allowed people to tell me I'm not good enough, I don't do enough...you know the drill.
When I was a young child, I saw an advertisement in the local newspaper for one of those "little miss" pageants. I went to my mother and told her I wanted to enter. She said something like, "So many girls enter and only one can win." What I heard was, "You're not good enough." (Although in retrospect, after choking through a couple episodes of "Toddlers and Tiaras", I think my mother did me a HUGE favor!) I hope that's not a generalization of pageant moms. I just have trouble with spending hundreds of dollars on costumes and teeth straighteners etc etc etc, that give little girls the idea that they are not "enough" in and of themselves.
When I entered college, I was a musical theatre major. I was so painfully introverted that I could not audition for shows...which was a definite drawback in that profession. At the end of the first year, I had to present a scene with a partner, and depending on the reviews from the professors, I would proceed or not in the program. My partner was a second-year student and at her audition (a week or so before mine) one of the professors said, "Let's just make this your audition as well." Needless to say, it went well for her and not so well for me. (But to be painfully honest, another week or so probably wouldn't have made much difference.) If I remember correctly, one professor wrote, "Should find something else to do. Has no future in theatre."
So I changed my major to business, which thrilled my mother as she thought musical theatre was waste of time.
Ten years and several jobs later (none of which were using my 'full potential' apparently), I went back to college (at a small, private instution, rather than the big state university) majoring in finance. One day I saw an audition notice for the campus production of "The Importance of Being Earnest". I thought, "I should do that." Then I saw that the final auditions were that afternoon. Immediately reasons flooded my brain as to why I 'couldn't'...no time to prepare, too much competition, no future in theatre..."
Thank goodness I went anyway. I got the part of Lady Bracknell. For the next 5-6 years (until my oldest child was on the way), I did an average of 5 plays a year. There was only one musical, although I sang in several plays. One was an original play by Aden Ross, titled "Ladies Room", set in the ladies room in Caesar's Palace casino in Las Vegas. I was a housekeeper who sang Aretha Franklin songs while she worked. The first couple of weeks I would not sing in rehearsals. Finally, partly through the encouragement from (and the exasperation of?) my play-mates (that sounds vaguely bad, I think) I "sang". By the end of the run, I had no trouble singing in front of people, even at the local karaoke bar.
My oldest son (now 14) was born 5 months before his father and I got married. This was another "not good enough" on me, I guess. My mother said after the wedding, "I'm so happy I can finally introduce you as LuAnn, her husband, and their son." Although to be fair, she was a lot more supportive during the pregnancy than I had anticipated. She drove me to a couple of pre-natal appointments. Once, she sat in the outer office and prayed that I would come to realize that "all this medical intervention" was not necessary. (During the delivery my blood pressure ranged from 180/160 to 40/30...so I THANK GOD for our ob "Dr Robin" and all her medical intervention. My MIL flew in from California as soon as DH told her they were going to induce. She actually got to hold DS1 before I did, and I was pea-green with envy for years after that. (Now I'm just kind of wistful. *lol*) She took video and even the day after, I looked like the Michelin man...my whole body was swollen because of the blood pressure problems during delivery.
Let me state that I am also proud of my son (and his siblings). I mean, how many kids can say they caught the garter at their parents' wedding? *lol*
During my life, I've been on the receiving end of enough bullying (online and off). Like many people, I have said, "That's one thing I'm NOT going to do when I have children."
...that's one thing I'm NOT going to do when I'm online. I choose to act with integrity on and off-line. I choose to be a good example to my children, friends and associates. I choose to extend an invitation to do the same to my family, friends and readers by joining me at "The Mom Pledge".
Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment and your blog address too!