This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Pine-Sol blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.
If you were to ask me who my biggest role model is, I would name my mom without hesitation. My mom has always been my strongest example of perseverance and optimism, enduring the death of a spouse at a very early age, raising 5 kids to adulthood, and spending so much of her time serving other people. She has truly been one of my greatest examples as well as one of my best friends.
It’s a lot easier to talk about other people, but when the tables are turned and I’m asked to talk about myself…it’s funny how quickly things get uncomfortable.
As I was thinking about how I have been able to “rise above it” and be a role model and example to other women, my mind was drawn back to a time many years ago. My husband (CandyMan) had recently taken a position as an intern at a non-profit organization in Washington D.C. I was a recent college graduate with a fresh teaching degree in early childhood education. I was also a brand new mom.
As we prepared to move to a new area, knowing that CandyMan’s internship would not bring in much money, I searched for a childcare position that would allow me to stay with my tiny daughter. We were personally referred to a family in the new area that was looking for a live-in nanny who could not only provide child care, but also help with homework and piano after school, grocery shopping during the day, and meal preparation at night. The situation seemed ideal; we would get lodgings in exchange for taking care of the kids and the home. We got along fabulously with the family.
After only two weeks into my nanny position, we very abruptly and shockingly found ourselves needing to start over. One night we went to bed feeling secure in our place there. The next morning we were quite literally homeless, with a truck full of belongings and our family of three….with nowhere to go and no money to get there.
It took me years to be able to think about that day without shaking with emotion.
The next few months were still quite difficult – we found a room to rent (I’ll have to tell you the story of the roommate who would try to hide the fact that she was stealing our food and milk from our refrigerator sometime…) and I found a different child care position. It wasn’t easy, though. None of the families seeking full-time child care wanted someone with their own “tag-along” baby. Amazingly, a short 6 months later CandyMan started a new job (with a regular income!) and we were able to purchase our home.
My first year of being a mother included 7 moves (and two weeks of being homeless), a baby with colic who shared a room with us, a crash-course in driving a stick shift (another good story), having our food regularly stolen, and long, tiring hours of watching someone else’s child and waiting on an injured mother.
That year was difficult to say the least.
The following year, as I sat with a new friend in our new neighborhood and shared with her those still-fresh memories, her eyes teared up and she said to me, “Laura, someday those experiences, as difficult as they seemed to get through, with enable you to understand the struggles of another woman in a way that not many people ever will. That experience has given you compassion and insight, and you will be a role model for other women who feel like they can’t get out of their current situations. You will understand what it feels like to be homeless and hopeless and scared, and other women will sense that. And YOU will give them hope because of what you have gone through and how you have risen above it.”
The unique experiences that we each go through prepare us to be role models to others, even though we may not feel worthy of the role.
Who are YOUR role models?
My role models tend to be women in my family, at church or in my community who I admire and who have faced life challenges with smiles on their faces – the way I would hope to do, too. Recently, Wakefield Research conducted a survey among women in the U.S on behalf of the makers of Pine-Sol® Products. The results showed that I follow the norm – 86% of women age 35 and older say that their predominate female role models are people they know personally, not celebrities or political figures. According to the survey, women reported that their best female role models were in their family (60%) and their communities (24%). 65% felt like they were currently acting as a role model to someone else.
Pine-Sol awarded a $25,000 donation to Women Empowered, a nonprofit based in Los Angeles that connects, educates and supports women of all ages and backgrounds, inspiring them to give back to their communities.
Pine-Sol’s “When Life Gets Tough, Women Rise Above It!” campaign
Pine-Sol has teamed up with actress and activist Rosie Perez to launch the “When Life Gets Tough, Women Rise Above It!” campaign. Have you had an experience where you have been able to rise above adversity and overcome challenges? The makers of Pine-Sol would love to hear your stories…and I know that other women will be inspired when they hear them, too. We all face challenges, and hearing inspiring stories of other women who have persevered makes getting through those challenges a little bit easier.
“Women Rise Above It” Sweepstakes
From now through January 31, 2014, you can share your own personal stories of triumph and perseverance in the “Women Rise Above It” Sweepstakes for a chance to win weekly prizes (once a week for 12 weeks!) as well as an amazing grand prize. One weekly winner will be awarded a token of appreciation (a flower bouquet and Pine-Sol coupons) (ARV: $150). Three first prize winners will receive complimentary house cleaning services for a year (ARV: $2,400). One grand prize winner will be awarded an all-inclusive trip to a deluxe hotel where they will enjoy a well-deserved spa service, rest and relaxation (ARV: $5,000). ENTER HERE!
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States & D.C. 18 years and older. Ends 1/31/14 at 11:59 a.m. PT. To enter and for Official Rules, including odds, and prize descriptions, visit www.womenriseaboveit.com. Void where prohibited.
I’d love to hear the stories of the women who have inspired and been an example to you! How have strong women shaped an influenced who you are today?
- Pine-Sol Official Site
- Pine-Sol Facebook: Facebook.com/Pinesol
- Pine-Sol Youtube: Youtube.com/user/PinesolPower
Disclaimer: This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Pine-Sol blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.
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