One of the ripple effects of not being protected as a kid is a lingering skepticism and distrust of adults and authority figures. Looking back, I don’t think it’s surprising I found my most rewarding jobs caring for the elderly in nursing homes and psychiatric settings. I found the fragility of their bones and minds and spirits incredibly motivating, knowing that they needed me to eat, drink, wash, dress, not be alone in the unsettled landscape of their minds.
Old people. Children. Animals.
I’m less sure what to do with the self-possessed, the put-together, the women with blowouts and enviable work/life balance. If you’re still doing a lot of healing work, there can be something pretty shaming about people who have it together. And, admittedly, sometimes people who have it together could stand to work on their presentation skills (you’ve seen the “hot Facebook mom” post and backlash, right?).
So yeah. I’ve spent a lot of my life gravitating toward the less threatening types. Peers, people I can help.
There are benefits to this (like it’s awesome and low stress), but as I’ve gotten older I’ve also started to feel the down sides. The beautiful thing about two year olds is that they want to do everything for themselves. And truly: it’s a great way to learn. I am all about puzzles, for example, and I fully support letting kids dig through anything in the house that isn’t dangerous or fragile+sentimental. But there are other times—like getting out the door by 8:45—where it would be really awesome if your toddler would take your word for it when you explain how a shoe works.
I need some mentors in my life too.
Some wise women. Some grown ups. Some people who can tell me when I’m making amateur mistakes and how to save my energy for the real work of life.
The most obvious obstacle (ok, besides hating the phone and having no time for lunch) is that the world seems to be short on flinty-eyed, ambitious hacks who were also once stay-at-home moms with toddlers and a domestic streak. I would LOVE to find the complete package, but even small pieces would be awesome.
Basically Gandalf with a typewriter.
I feel like there has to be such a wealth of experience and insight and support out there. I’m just not sure how to find it. I’ve tried joining writers’ groups and participating in writerly things, but serious writers are hard to find. One surmises they are probably at home. Actually writing.
I’m keeping my eyes peeled, but in the spirit of Oprah, I am also putting my intention out there into the universe.
2014 would be a magnificent year for mentors.