It is 2:30 in the afternoon and I have just finally gotten around to putting on some make-up and combing through the snotty mess of my hair. Needless to say, I’m not feeling too glamorous at the moment.
I feel more like a used Kleenex.
Both of my kids have nasty colds—messy, snotty, icky, yellow, slimy colds. Despite my best efforts to wipe their noses, my children continually seem to find my pant leg, shoulder or hair to blow their snot on.
To top that off, my son is potty training. In between wiping noses and dodging coughs, I’ve been cleaning his wet and/or soiled underwear, pants, socks and shoes.
I have to admit that I used to be and could easily still be, one of those girls who loved a power suit. I appreciated getting up in the morning, putting on a stylish business suit, slipping on a fancy pair of heels, and heading off to work.
Back in the day, I lived in the city and had a job where that was appropriate. With things to do and places to be, I felt important.
I felt like my job was making a difference, and I had the power suit to prove it.
Although I do try my best to stay aware of “What Not to Wear,” I unfortunately haven’t traded in my business suit for a designer diaper bag, top-of-the-line stroller or even a new car.
Nope, now I just have snot covered mom clothes and a suit of a different kind.
While my old business clothes don’t fit or are no longer in style, these days I try to put on a different kind of power suit, one that doesn’t empower me, but others.
It is the attitude of encouragement. It is the brave smile when the kids try something new, the high five when they accomplish some small feat, and the kisses that heal a thousand wounds.
It is the words of encouragement to a friend, the listening ear and the meals for new moms.
We wear our attitudes like garments of clothing. We put them on and take them off, and they are as obvious to others as the shoes we are wearing.
When I wear the attitude of encouragement, I don’t think twice about the blood that is staining my brand new jacket when my son busts his lip. I don’t dread cleaning the training toilet—instead I clap excitedly when it is used.
While the effect of a business suit can be to make you appear “as important as” or “more important than,” the suit of encouragement makes others feel better and stronger.
Strangely, by empowering others I feel more important, not less. I suppose this is yet another example of the paradigm that it is better to give than to receive.
I know my husband is reading this and will hold me to whatever I write (like last week when I was anxiously checking my iPhone to see how people responded to my blog about not using an iPhone), so I’ll be very honest.
When I feel like I’ve come to the end of the work day, I often want to take off the attitude of encouragement and change into something more comfortable, like the can’t-you-see-I’m-watching-TV attitude or the I-shouldn’t-have-to-change-one-more-poopy-diaper attitude.
I get a little cranky, just like the kids do. Although I understand when the kids are tired, I still don’t allow them to misbehave, and I expect them to get better at controlling themselves as they get older.
It is the same for me. I’ve made some progress during the day. It is time to start making some progress in the evenings. I bet a good attitude will get more comfortable the more I wear it.
Maybe someday I’ll get to wear a business suit again, but hopefully I won’t forget to first put on the suit of encouragement that wields actual power, not just the appearance of it.
We wear our attitudes like garments of clothing.