Monday, September 08, 2008

What’s the Difference Between a Hockey Mom and a Rocket Mom?

Mascara. Rocket Moms have always worn lipstick.

By now, the whole world has heard the line about the only thing separating a hockey mom from a pit bull being lipstick. Sarah Palin, the woman everyone knows about after being thrown into the national spotlight seemingly overnight, personifies feminine spunk that you just gotta love. Regardless of your politics, regardless of your stance on the working-versus-stay-at-home debate, regardless of your judgment on the teenage pregnancy thing. You just gotta hand it to her.

And if you’ve been reading my ROCKET MOM! Newsletters for the past four years, you know that I’ve always advocated wearing two things…if nothing else. Lipstick and mascara. So here we have it: hockey moms. Rocket Moms. ALL decent moms. Fighting to be the best they can be. And wanting to hear more of this woman we hardly know.

And now with Labor Day behind us, and my promise to once again renew the weekly dollop of “joie” via these email Newsletters, just how do we discuss what’s been on my mind these past ten days in light of the fact that some of my readers are faithful because they like a weekly mommy-motivator, while some of you are with me because you are part of the design-chef-francophile crowd following the release of Country French Kitchens? An interesting mix, to be sure. But let’s face it: we’re all in need of nurturing both hearth and home, be it via parenting tips or marriage notes or simply advice on how to get dinner to the table. So if this is not your cup of tea, please forgive me. Delete this newsletter and wait until next week. Because I feel the need to talk about this with you.

This time of year finds me re-thinking my A-game. How to effectively go into fall with personal and family game plan in hand. Charting football schedules against volleyball games, out-of-state visits to our two college kids against client dinners. PTA involvement with board meetings. Figuring out an exercise and grooming schedule.

Now here’s where Palin fits in. She’s not just a hockey mom. She’s a rocket mom of the nth degree. And she gives us plenty of tips on just how to get our A-game on the docket now that Labor Day and beach excursions are behind us.

What I’m learning from Sarah:

She’s got the multi-tasking thing down pat. Sarah usually has her Blackberry in one hand and something of her child’s in the other. Be it a ponytail she’s shifting into a ribbon or homework needing a quick check, she does it with her mind ready to jump to the next task at hand. One might find contradiction to the idea of “being in the moment” or of being into the thing you’re into. But Sarah seems to have figured out how to immerse herself into what she needs to and get her mind…and hands…prepared for what will inevitably come next, be it an executive meeting, a kid’s play-date, dinner preparations or a conference call.

She’s figured out that the best stress-reliever is physical exercise. Sweating at the gym or during a midnight jog is how Sarah best gets rid of the stresses that go with the job. Rocket moms have known this for years. We’re into strength training and aerobic activity to tone lumpy thighs and keep arms and abs strong. Sarah kept her fifth pregnancy a secret not because she necessarily wanted to, but because her abs were so tight (after four babies!) that she was able to.

She’s perky despite obstacles. Thrown into controversy both from her years as governor as well as parent to teenagers, she knows all too well that some things are beyond one’s control and spin outside of one’s reach or influence. In spite of it all, she stays cool under pressure and maintains a charming, can-do attitude even when the odds are stacked against her.

She’s kept her priorities straight. Husband and kids first. Everything else falls into place once these priorities are set. As much as she loves her role as governor, she loves being a wife and mom most of all. (Love that.)

She’s committed to service. Those who challenge her ability to be wife, mom and veep need to remember that she didn’t choose to run for the vice presidency. She was chosen. Opportunities come to those who are prepared. Be it in your professional or personal life, your role at your church or house of worship, or the corner of the world in which you roam, opportunities to increase your reach will come your way if you do your homework and work your tail off. Embrace them. Your territory for influence will expand exponentially. Guaranteed.

She’s intellectually and morally strong. I love strong people. Strong personalities. Can’t help it. Always been attracted to strength. Sarah sticks to her convictions unapologetically. If she believes in a cause or a point of view, stemming from conviction based on faith or experience or pure world view, she does not let others deter her from meeting her goal.

She’s embraced her femininity. Wears attractive clothing, an attractive hairstyle and obviously utilizes a fabulous skincare regimen because her complexion is flawless. Excellent personal grooming is a hallmark of all rocket moms, and while you might not prefer pink nail polish on your toenails (as do both Sarah and I…check out OPI’s “Calypso” for one last hot pink late-summer fling ), you certainly keep them in good shape. And, I know you are already wearing lipstick and mascara….

There’s more to learn over the next couple of months about this fascinating woman, Sarah Palin. I will be on the lookout for details, as I am always interested in reading about those women who might be role models for me. If you get any tidbits that you’d like to share, feel free to email me.

Until then, let me leave you with one last thought. My minister shared a true story about an itinerant preacher, Jesse Lee, who is the namesake for the church where my family and I worship in our own small town. Unqualified, without credentials or pedigree, he simply rode—horseback—from village to village talking with others about the Gospel. He held up an apple to one of these crowds in one of these towns and noted that we can all count the number of seeds inside an apple…but only God knows how many apples will grow from the seeds.

As you strive to go into the fall with your A-Game, contemplate the number of apples that might grow from your seeds. Your seeds of energy. Of wisdom. Of compassion. Of conviction.

All blessings,