Recently PepsiCo CEO, Indra Nooyi spoke at the Women in the World Summit in Manhattan and shared an old letter that she found from her then 4yr old daughter. “Dear Mom,” it read. “I love you. Please come home. Please please please please please come home”. Indra insists she has no regrets, but looks back and says it “hurt like hell” trying to balance career and family. If she could, she would advise her younger self to “be careful of your choices.” Most of us working moms can relate to this struggle of wanting to be there for our children and finding it impossible to be present as much as we’d like while climbing the corporate ladder. Obtaining higher rank comes with loads of perks and feelings of accomplishment, but how does it affect our families long term?
Women were created to nurture and raise children, and to be great helpers – it is our natural gift. Now of course, we are capable of doing so much more, and not every woman wants to get married and have children. However, to those that do, our families need us more than ever.
Our children need us to help them feel loved, secure, and complete. Anyone can watch and care for them, but in most cases no one will do it like us. Not the daycare, a nanny, grandparents, or any other stranger or familiar. All of these can be great people to supplement and help out, but who our kids really want is us, mom. When we are not there, we condition them to become indifferent to our absence and sooner or later we are the ones wishing they would call and come home.
They need us to show them how to balance independence and codependence. Leaving kids to fend for themselves makes them very tough and self-reliant, yes. But are we raising cold-hearted daughters who can do everything on their own and yet don’t know how to allow a man to lead in the home? And what about our boys, are we raising women-hating sons who don’t know how to let a woman help them be great men for their families and the community? When we actively raise sons and daughters who can complement their spouses beautifully (which requires some degree of codependence on both sides), then the whole community benefits because there is nothing they can’t accomplish together.
They need us to protect them and keep them out of trouble. Older kids left at home by themselves have so much opportunity to get into things they shouldn’t – pornography, unprotected sex, bad company, inappropriate media, drugs, the list goes on. These things won’t enter every home, but there’s no way to be sure they won’t without being there to counter the influence and keep them out.
They need us to be the example, just by our presence and everyday living. To show girls, among other things, how to run a household and raise a family. To show boys what a wife and mother should look like. If we are gone all the time and allowing someone or something else to raise them, they lose out on these valuable lessons. These ideas may sound old-fashioned and non-progressive, but look at where we are today. More than half of families end in divorce. Our communities are dying from poor diet in the home, depression is running rampant, and too many of our children are ending up behind bars. Women, mothers in particular, have so much power to change all of that by being more available to their children and providing a peaceful, healthy environment for them.
Stay tuned for ideas on how to do just that in part two.
Written by Leslie Matthews, Staff Writer, #MyGirlSquad