A note from Fairygodboss President and Co-Founder Romy Newman:
Dear Fairygodboss Family,
Whenever I speak about my career, I always feel compelled to start out by talking about my amazing, accomplished mother, Pamela Newman. My mother has made a tremendous career as a corporate Insurance Broker. As a matter of fact, she’s kind of a legend in her industry. PBS even made a half hour show about her career, calling her “arguably one of the most influential women in America that most people have never heard of.”
So talk about a Fairygodboss. And, an incredible role model.
As many of you are enjoying the holidays with family, we have exciting news for our community: My mom is officially joining the Fairygodboss fold. She’ll be contributing regular columns, giving her advice and perspective about having successfully built a career as a working mother.
So now, for something completely different…here’s some advice from my mom.
P.S. - We never, ever had caviar for breakfast.
“Let It Go”: A Mantra for Working Moms
By Pamela Newman, President and CEO of The Newman Team
Aon Risk Solutions
I recently watched the movie "Bad Moms." I really loved it. I think slathering bread with peanut butter and serving it to someone under the age of six is exquisite. I adore ignoring bed time. I love taking pre-teens to R- rated movies.
The expectation on today's mothers to be simply perfect is astonishing. It is also terrifying and not always necessary. Children are durable. Children have an inner tracking system that often guides them to the right decision.
Here a few thoughts to help navigate away from the ALWAYS HAVE TO BE PERFECT Syndrome:
1. “Fresh Troops” provides you pockets of time to regain sanity and will. “Fresh Troops” are substitutes for yourself. Even though your plan is to spend every waking moment with your treasured children, you will improve your day and their day by having a babysitter, grandmother or neighborhood teenager relieve you for a couple of hours.
2. Find a hobby that entertains both of you. My son, Ted, and I spent much time together designing inventions and new business models. We kept a notebook called “Ted’s Ideas for Inventions”. When Ted was 4, 5, 6 and 7 years old, he explained the idea he had for an invention to me and we, together, wrote it up in the “Ted’s Ideas for Inventions” notebook. We also developed business plans for “Ted’s Ideas for New Businesses.” Our mutual favorite was designing a store that only sold socks -- but sold socks for everyone for all occasions.
3. A colleague suggested that the transition of coming home from work to parenting can be made smootherby a bubble bath and/or a glass of something bubbly.
4. Encourage your kids to be flexible. My daughter was great when we installed her grandparents to care for her when she had the mumps and we had to take a long scheduled business trip to Alaska. She was also good-natured when we asked her to care for her brother. Her flexibility demonstrated a capacity for being people-oriented, which I see in her as an adult.
5. Encourage independence. My children both mastered the subway system of New York City by the time they were ten years old. As they grew older and visited other cities like Paris and London, they made it a point to learn that city’s subway system as a first-day activity.
6. Let someone else be a mentor. My children benefited by having someone other than myself teach them how to swim, play the piano, and perform in a play. I might have done the training differently or even better, but learning from multiple mentors also teaches cooperation.
7. Make certain undertakings with your children outrageous. We giggled, for years, over ordering pignoli nuts from New Mexico to pass out for my son’s third grade classroom presentation. Our family liked the movie Legal Eagles so much so we saw it four times. We celebrated New Year’s Eve in a Chinese restaurant, often ate caviar and cake for breakfast, and didn’t do the laundry even when it urgently had to be done.
Perfection is great. Fear of not being perfect is not great. Let it go.
Dr. Pamela J. Newman is an international insurance broker specializing in Fortune 500 clients worldwide. She is President and CEO of The Newman Team at Aon PLC. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Economic Club of NY and is a past President of the Financial Women’s Association. She is on the Board of Directors of the Brain Trauma Foundation, the New York Citizens Budget Commission and PCI Media Impact.
Besides writing Organizational Communication (McGraw Hill) and Behind Closed Doors; A Guide to Effective Meetings (Prentice Hall), Newman authors a book each year to give to clients of The Newman Team at Aon. She earned her B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from The University of Michigan.
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