I attended a luncheon recently called, “Changing the Dynamic. A discussion with successful female entrepreneurs on how gender and diversity affect business decision-making, strategy and progress.”
I was attending the Tom Tom Festival and was excited about this discussion. I only recently realized that I am a closet feminist. I didn’t grow up as one. I’d always thought that was for bra-burning, flaming liberals. I’m left of center, but not flaming. I wear a bra, it’s not an option for my body to go bra-free, and until recently I’d never marched or demonstrated for any cause. That is until the Women’s March in DC after the last presidential inauguration. I wrote about that experience too.
Over the last several years, I’ve spent more time thinking, writing and posting about the power of women. We add value and have ideas that need to be heard. How do we gain the amplification we deserve? I thought this luncheon would be a great way to hear what others thought and find ways to maximize the power of women.
However, I was struck by something different. Don’t get me wrong, there were many things of value in the discussion. I met some amazing women and much of what the panelists shared resonated with me. I also was struck by one speaker’s view on motherhood. Her take was that you have to miss your offspring’s childhood if you want to make it. She talked about how when she was building her business, she missed football games and all of the traditional things. She talked about how her grown sons still harbor hurt feelings. She was dismayed by millennials’ desire to be at home for a few years when their children were very young.
Maybe she’s right. If you want to be a cutthroat female entrepreneur, you need to give up your role as a mother. Those weren’t her exact words, but that’s what it felt like and I had a visceral reaction. NO. I am a mother first. Maybe I will never be the kind of businesswoman she is, and I am totally OK with that. When I travel all over the world to deliver motivational speeches and write my best selling book, I will do it on my terms. I will be the mom I want to be AND I will be successful. When I have staff working with me, they too will have work life balance. Together we will celebrate their milestones and their roles as mothers, fathers and colleagues. I don’t buy what she’s selling for one minute. There are too many women who are successful and have that balance that say otherwise. Is it different? Yes. Is it still good? Absolutely.