Time Out for a Lesson from a Mom with a Mohawk

My son has a big personality.

The kind that got him sent to the principal’s office five times that first week of kindergarten.

The kind that caused the bigger kids in the neighbor to pick on him when he was six. “Because,” as my neighbor told me in front of him, “he’s obnoxious.”

In 2nd grade, his big personality led to rounds and rounds of testing. ADD, he’s not. A frustrated, highly intelligent, spatial learner, he is. Given that schools traditionally cater to verbal and linear learning, his frustration in school is continuing to grow.

Now he’s finishing up the 3rd grade. This year, I spent considerable time and energy trying to get my sweet, happy but frustrated boy to restrain himself. I’ve prayed that he’ll finally grow up and there will be no more notes from teachers about how he’s a disruptive class clown who just can’t sit still for very long.

I’ve told him to try harder to be quiet, to fit in, to stop being so troublesome. You know, to be like everyone else.

Then today happened.He strummed too loudly, stuck his tongue out, and slid across the stage on his knees.

My son had his year-end guitar performance. While the other students had their eyes trained to the music sheets in front of them, my son donned a red wig and hopped all over the outdoor stage. He strummed too loudly, stuck his tongue out, and slid across the stage on his knees to rock it out as he’s seen real rockers do in videos.

 
He strummed too loudly, stuck his tongue out, and slid across the stage on his knees.

He had the time of his life.

I did not. I noticed some of the other parents sitting at the picnic tables shaking their heads and rolling their eyes. I could feel my body shrinking as if I were trying to hide. I turned my head in embarrassment and accidentally caught the eye of another mom. She looked a lot like me and was dressed similarly, too.

She could have been me. Except that she had a Mohawk. Her bright, beautiful blonde hair was shaved at the sides and the remaining strands were sticking straight up in the air.

What struck me more than the unexpected Mohawk was that her son who was waiting for his turn on the stage sported the exact same haircut.

Then, that beautiful rock star Mom who was so perfectly in sync with her son, smiled at me.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. Years of struggling with my son and for my son all faded away into that one moment of clarity. My job isn’t to make my son fit it. It’s to help him stand out.

And my son’s job is to grasp life and shake it up. Hop around on its stage and live beyond its fullest—just as he is, not as I want him to be.

Instinctively, I know it’s not going to be easy or quick. We’ll have to work together to figure out how to make his bigger-than-life personality coexist in a world that values fitting in and behaving as expected.

As an entrepreneur, I fully understand doing what is easy or expected in the business world isn’t always the only way, or even the best way.

But it took a Mom in a Mohawk to make me realize that lesson is true in raising kids, too.

It’s likely my son will never be easy or quiet or expected. And while I doubt I’ll be shaving my head any time soon, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Excuse Me While I Digress: A Typical Day

A Typical Day

I’m taking a break from the Gazillion Steps to share something that made me smile today. A blogger asked me to describe a typical day in my life as a mompreneur.

Your schedule is probably a lot like mine so you can guess why I smiled. I was game to try, though, so I thought back over this week.

Each day of this week started with me racing around to get the kids off to school. Most ended with me falling asleep while reading my daughter her bedtime story. Everything in between was as random as can be.

One day earlier this week — was it Monday? Tuesday? I don’t know, but I remember negotiating ad space for an upcoming Stikitty campaign and having lunch with my daughter at school. Then I responded to some customer emails and fulfilled orders. I picked up the kids at school, dropped my son at tennis lessons, and went to soccer practice with my daughter. After dinner, we all sat down to do homework. Then I got back on the computer to answer emails and chat with an overseas partner.

Yesterday I spent most of the day on the phone with my bank getting an international wire to the intended beneficiary.

Today, I’ve spoken to two new vendors, threw in a load of laundry, checked updates from Twitter, accepted a request from an old friend on Facebook, and made two new professional connections on LinkedIn. Then I talked with my husband about our crazy schedule for this weekend.

That’s the way it always is.

I guess it was that way when I worked in the corporate world, too. For me, the difference is that I could more easily separate work time from family time when I had a corporate job. Oh, and I had people to delegate to when things got too crazy.

I miss delegating.