The first thing I learned with this seminar is pretty obvious; don’t expect to attend on time, a seminar on motherhood which starts at 9am. After swearing at every car driving under 50mph for the entire 40 minute drive, I arrived at the car park at 9.15am and was met by a swarm of other women all wearing the same expression –pissed off. I deduced that these women were all mothers on the same course too.
We stood as a collective around the parking meter, emptying out giant ‘mumbags’ to find purses and already becoming a support unit to each other. A glamorous but particularly harassed looking woman asks if I have change for a fiver and I joke about how much we need this juggling motherhood advice to which she said “I’m the keynote speaker”. Ohh… credible lady, she is obviously one of us!
I arrived in the seminar room and tried to shove the ‘Billy No Mates’ feeling to the back of my mind. In my work, I regularly turn up to functions and events alone, so I did my usual tactic…head for a cuppa/bubbly/biscuit; whatever is on offer. I passed comment to a nearby ‘Billy’ about how daft it is to run a seminar at 9am, her reply became a conversation starter for me with every the women for the rest of the day – “I am the organiser”. I was so on a roll!!
So, having determined to avoid offending any other woman for at least the next hour, I found myself a seat near the front. The harassed keynote speaker was introduced as Amanda Alexander from @coachingmums along with another speaker who’s name, I’m sorry to admit, I can’t remember. Mrs ‘Nameescapesme’ was first to present. She had a series of charts, graphs and motivational quotes. Perhaps she was nervous, and I don’t blame her as us mums can be an intimidating bunch; particularly when we are wearing our ‘Ok, go for it, tell me exactly how well youare coping with the is career v motherhood shit and how exactly Iam failing – I.. dare.. you’ faces. Regardless, I don’t remember a thing that poor woman said.
Next up was Amanda and the first thing I thought was “Wow – how is it humanly possible to look that good in a tight dress like that after having kids?” I visualised myself grabbing my bingo wings and a stapler…the rest of the picture was a bit gruesome and even in my fantasy, I still never achieved Madonna’esque biceps. I was thankfully pulled back into reality by Amanda telling me to eat a frog. Eat a frog!! I ain’t French! WTF?
Eat That Frog it turns out is a book by Brian Tracy. In this book he tells us how to stop procrastinating in order to get more done in less time. From this point, Amanda gave a series of scenarios about procrastination and the way in which us mums beat ourselves up in desperate attempts to seem superhuman. With each scenario, I felt myself sink deeper into my chair as my jaw hung lower and lower. Has this woman been covertly spying on me over the last decade? How could she know that I don’t do ironing, but instead shove it in a cupboard / bottom of wardrobe out of sight until my bi-annual ‘I got nothing to wear’ freakout? How could she know that everytime I am supposed to get something urgent done for work, I contemplate my strategies over a cup of tea – for an hour at least!? How could she know that I have a complete inability to ask for help for fear of looking like I can’t cope? This chick was freakin me out!
I shamefacedly looked around the room expecting all the other women to be all smug-looking at their achieving sanity, beauty, money, marriage and superhero status – just like ‘She-Rah’ on the podium. What I saw instead was a full room of face-palm. The lady next to me leaned across and whispered “I haven’t done ironing in years”. My neighbour on the other-side then leaned in too “me either! I dry it all flat on the radiator and then I don’t need to iron”. Ohh, I felt a sisterhood brewing. “I iron in the morning, ontop of a towel, on the coffee table” I whispered back. Silence. Their eyebrows in their hairline quickly leads me to think that I am apparently too ‘out-there’ for their sisterhood and I slink back into my chair and ‘Billy No Mates’ status. Amanda reveals that she pays someone else to iron her clothes. “Rub it in why dontcha” I mumble as I reminisce about the days when I used to have an ironing skivvy…he won’t do it now we are divorced; petty git!
Throughout the seminar, I picked up some great tips and some motivational mantras but most importantly, I discovered that I am not an utter failure when I find myself struggling, but instead I am a flippin ‘She-Rah’ too! Me and all the other women in the room, as well as every other mum/businesswoman/wife/friend out there. This seminar gave me perspective. On a daily basis I organise my two kids’ daily school and social calendar, my own work (still hoping for a social calendar), hubby’s tasks, feeding everyone, shopping, caring for extended family, bills, friend’s dramas, housekeeping *cough*, exercise *cough & splutter* and a multitude of new and demanding tasks which crop up to interrupt my full day of beating myself up for not being the social, sexy cyborg that TV and magazines dictate that I should be…in heels and skinny jeans. No wonder I feel like I’m losing the plot but yet, here I am, managing to achieve almost all of my to-do list almost every day. I’m the bloomin Bionic Woman! So, today I say “yay me”, even if I have just sent my kids to school in 3 day old crumpled clothes.