The impact of my leadership on my daughter has been the greatest concern for me. I can talk issues through with my husband. He understands why I feel called and the decisions that I make through these discussions. It is more difficult with my daughter. Her understanding is limited and self-focused, even though she is a caring child, through the simple fact of her age. There are times when MOPS to her is synonymous with Mummy leaving. I definitely spend more large blocks of time away from her than I ever have with weekends away for training and conferences, and meetings during most weeks. If that was the only outcome of my leadership, it would not be worth the sacrifice.
Dealing with mum guilt is an ongoing battle for me (as I share on the MOPS Australia leaders blog here). There are times when she is upset because I am leaving. There are times when I am on the phone or computer with MOPS business (even though I try to contain it to times when she is not around or involved with something else). It would be easy to wallow in that place of guilt if I didn't focus on the positive outcomes of being a mother who is in leadership.
If you have a daughter, you likely have a similar idea to me of wanting her to grow up strong, with a compassionate heart and the skills to make an impact on her world. Children learn best through the modelling of the adults in their lives. I have the opportunity to show her how to work hard for a cause you believe in, how to be a leader and how to love the people in your life. I can show her how to put a priority on family without having to sacrifice everything that you are and are called to. I can model my faith being worked out in real situations and how to seek guidance. I can model how to take care of myself physically, emotionally and mentally while serving in a role. I have to be practicing all of these things in my own life to be able to demonstrate it to her. It is just as easier (or perhaps easier) to model unhealthy ways of leading, serving, overload and burn out. Knowing those little eyes are watching stirs me to be a better leader.
I am blessed to be involved in an organisation that is geared to mothers being leaders. I am able to take my daughter along to meetings at times and work around my family for the usual business of my weeks. The day to day choices come down to me being intentional with my time and getting organised. I am far from where I want to be with this but I am a work in progress. There will be times when I get it wrong but there will also be times that will have a life-long impact for good on my daughter.
What has been your experience of being a parent and being a leader? Have you ever thought about the impact for good it can be on your children?
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