Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Going Grey

There are certain lines you never forget.  Sentences so hard, meaningful, profound or just so plain true (or not true!) that they come to punctuate your decision-making, anecdotes and advice.  As I've engaged in the complex issues of working parenthood, whether they were my own dilemmas or somebody else's, there have been a few zingers that stopped me in my tracks, and then set me down a better path.

I am so grateful for them.  For the comments, and for the friends and family who made them.  My personal board of directors who have always bravely told me what I needed to hear, whether or not it matched what I wanted.

One of my favorites was advice to 'stop looking at everything in black and white, and learn to live comfortably in the shades of grey'.

It's the Either/Or ultimatum that gives oxygen to working mom guilt.  When you program yourself to believe that there are only good outcomes or bad outcomes, right decisions or wrong decisions, you are sunk as a parent, working or not.  Rationally, I always understood this.  It's sometimes harder to shake the mindset.  

Tonight my husband and I both had funny stories to share from this week about no longer being the hot young thing in certain contexts.  We laughed about the grey - and I remembered this line.  Grey - whether it is years of experience, or an ambiguously defined set of rules - is something I can embrace.  Finding and enjoying the grey - the good enough, the not so bad, the win-some-lose-some-who-cares-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things, has been priceless advice.

What advice made a difference to you?  Have you passed it on?

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