LeaderMoms & MomLeaders: Happy Mothers’ Day!
Words can connect or divide us, enrich or diminish us. On Mother’s Day, we propose a simple language upgrade: Instead of saying “working mom,” try replacing it with LeaderMom. Where you might say “stay-at-home mom,” try MomLeader.
We are finding that this language can help us communicate respect, claim the value we create in multiple sectors, and foster compassion and appreciation for each other. Here’s why:
All moms work.
Some of us work for pay. Many of us volunteer. Most do the majority of childcare and domestic work.
Whenever we remember to communicate in ways that foster respect and pride, it makes a huge difference.
From the moment we coined LeaderMom™ in conjunction with our research panel of high performers, women started using it to describe themselves. When we use MomLeader to describe our friends and neighbors, they smile because it acknowledges their contributions, histories and value.
There are many female leaders in our midst who may not yet think of themselves as leaders.
Too often, it’s easy to think of leaders as being of a particular mold — male, taller, more aggressive or ambitious. If you value what MomLeaders bring as forces for good and capacity builders in our neighborhoods, schools, faith institutions, and communities, it is powerful to name that as the leadership it is.
Relationships among MomLeaders and LeaderMoms can be amazing.
We have seen people watch out for and support each other. “It’s crazy sock day, and I know how busy you are so I grabbed an extra pair for your kid” and “You are thinking of going back to work…I’d be happy to help with your resume or write a recommendation”…or just “How was your day?”
Relationships among LeaderMoms and MomLeaders can be challenging.
All women – those who work outside the home and those whose work is primarily in the home – can feel judged for not being or doing enough. Or, we may judge ourselves and unconsciously project those negative emotions onto each other. Either way, we may “armor up” with an “I have it all together” defense. Likewise, we can all feel under-appreciated. MomLeaders can feel taken for granted when a bunch of kids show up in the backyard daily, devour snacks, and no one asks if it is okay or says thank you for supervising. LeaderMoms can feel overlooked when neighborhood or school events are scheduled for 9 AM, or if we are not invited to get-togethers. There can be hurt feelings on both sides. No wonder we sometimes neglect to celebrate each other’s joys and wins, whether in fitness, self care, family or finance. Communicating our respect for each other can help us navigate these challenges and value each other’s choices, capacities, and victories.
New language can make non-linear career paths (that’s all of them) a bit easier.
Flip the terms when you are on maternity leave, when you downshift or upshift your schedule or role. If you are a LeaderMom who steps back or sideways from the workforce or opts to run in place for a while, or a MomLeader who wants to step back into the workforce, having language for that shift will help. Let’s not pretend life is a straight line or a ladder always going up. Career and home life are nonlinear. When our language flexes with our reality, it eases our journey.
How we think of ourselves can help us navigate a day with healthier work-life boundaries.
If you want to be mindfully present with your families or at work in any moment, try on these shifts: from 8AM-6PM, I am a LeaderMom, from 6PM-bedtime I am a “MomLeader.” Human connections matter. Let’s adapt to what is real, healthier and conducive to better decisions, and not promote a toxic workaholic standard.
For now, our request is simple. Try LeaderMom and MomLeader. See if it sparks different energy.
If it does, please follow that energy (and us).