Home > Blogging, Parenting > The nurturer, the warrior and the blogger

The nurturer, the warrior and the blogger

I was in the middle of writing tersely phrased demands for work when my four-year-old son interrupted me. “Mama, look at this!” He showed me a new toy.

“That is awesome, sweetheart!” I told him with a forehead kiss before he scampered off to continue playing.

When I turned back to resume writing my work email, I was struck by the dissonance between these two equally truthful, divergent aspects of myself: my gruff, brusque contract manager self and my nurturing, gentle one as a mom. Sometimes the two overlap, such as when someone behaves threateningly in my son’s vicinity, but usually the two exist in different times and spaces. The opportunity to see their contrast through this work/mom convergence left me feeling ponderous. Also grateful.

In flesh, people sometimes find me abrupt or prickly. This doesn’t bother me, because these are parts of who I am. This is all the more so given my last eight years of professional experience. Working in contract management means I have to listen well, communicate well and be amicable as often as possible, but also be extremely comfortable transitioning swiftly to no-holds-barred, unequivocal boundary-setting in cases of dubious behavior: That is unacceptable, and you must remedy it immediately for this discussion to continue.

scary face

Eight years in contracts have shown me there’s a reason there’s a no-waiver clause in most contracts. This paragraph usually reads something like:

A party’s option to not enforce any provision of this agreement in any particular case shall not be construed as general waiver of that provision by such party.

For example, let’s say Bob and Sue have a contract stating that Sue will pay each correct invoice within 30 days. By agreeing to allow Sue to pay one invoice within 90 days instead of 30, Bob’s not revising the contract. He’s just granting a one-time exception, which it’s his right to do.

The thing about exceptions is that some Sues are set up to push exceptions as far as they can, so that exceptions become the rule. Seeing enough of this why-not-120-days-this-time?! kind of pushing has made me inclined to set clear, hard boundaries earlier sometimes than is warranted. In contracts as in the rest of life, the earlier boundaries are made totally clear, the less boundary testing there is down the road.

Seeing this boundary-pushing has also made me better appreciate people who show no interest in forcing exceptions on others, but who focus instead on coexisting peaceably.

I’m uncomfortable with people who push too hard, too fast, but I’m also uncomfortable with those who are too charming too quickly. As safety expert Gavin de Becker recommends, charming behavior doesn’t warm me to a person but instead makes me ask myself, “Why are you trying to charm me? What are you trying to conceal?”

All this got me thinking about blogging. I feel fortunate to have found a community of forthright people who accept me at my most nurturing but also at my gruffest. My blogging community is full of people who don’t try forcing me to feel or think any one way, but rather offer their thoughts kindly and freely, allowing me insight into their worlds without confrontation or demand. That’s not to say there are no challenges or disagreements, but that even those are thoughtfully presented.

This acceptance is lovely, really, for a skittish contracts manager. I’m thankful for this community, including–but not limited to!–folks like the bloggers behind QBG_Tilted Tiara, the ramblings, CommentalityYou’ve Been Hooked, I Want A Dumpster Baby, Transitioning Mom, The Lucky Mom, FiftyFourandAHalf, Peg-O-Leg’s Ramblings and Single Working Mom. Thoughtsy especially gets where I’m coming from right now, though she might disagree with the non stick figure parts of my next (pregnancy related) post!

I am honored to be part of this blogging community.

I’m the kind of person who finds something she likes and sticks with it. If I find a good dish at a restaurant, that is my dish forever. If there’s a horror movie playing at the theater, that’s what I’ll watch, whether or not it looks especially good. I will follow the same blogs and be content with that line-up nigh endlessly.

It’s easy to look at the community I’m already part of and call it great, which it is. But recently, I’ve tried peeking out a little further. I’ve found new-to-me bloggers who make me feel hopeful about the state of the world, such as: steady she goes, mybrightspots, Taste of Sherri, A Ph.D. in Blackgirlology, A Wild One Within and The Modern Teen.

Thus community grows.

As I reflect on the imminent last trimester of my pregnancy and what I hope for the next few months of my life, I know there’s a lot of change in store. I’ll handle it as it comes, and learn to navigate it until it is second nature.

I take comfort in knowing that some things won’t change too much. Foremost among these are my relationships with many people. Some of those relationships are with friends and family who know me in flesh and blood. Others are with those such as yourself who know me only through my words online, but who nevertheless support me both when I am skillful and when I am unskillful, when I am nurturing and when I am all sharp edges and corners.

This is my thanks to you. Thanks for being here, and thanks for letting me be part of your “here,” too.

I am grateful for you, whether or not I ever get to saying it just right. So grateful.

Always.

nurture face

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  1. January 1, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Deb, one of the beauties of blogging is the relationships we develop that really do mean something (although non bloggers don’t get it!). I’m glad to see your soft side, your firm side and whatever you choose to put into these pages. And one of the things I like best about your blog is that I’m never quite sure what I’m going to get when I do open it!

    Happy New Year. Thanks for the shout out!

    • January 2, 2014 at 5:34 am

      Everything about this comment leaves me beaming. EVERYTHING. Thank you, Elyse, for this and all the food for thought (not to mention chuckles) you provide, regardless of the physical space between us! 🙂

      • January 2, 2014 at 9:29 am

        !

        • January 2, 2014 at 2:51 pm

          Elyse hit it on the head right here. But then, she does that.

          • January 2, 2014 at 3:16 pm

            Thanks Peg. I’m happy as long as nobody hits ME on the head.

  2. W
    January 1, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Wow i can’t tell you how much that means to have this shout out! I am very new to this whole idea of blogging (I just figured out how to make a page) and having someone who has an audience like you take notice of me is amazing! I love reading your posts and wish you all the luck in the world this year, with your pregnancy and new little one!

    Again thanks so much for welcoming me and i encourage anyone to follow my blog 😀

    -W

    • January 2, 2014 at 5:37 am

      A couple of years ago, I used to surf tags and see what I could find. That fell by the wayside until a few weeks ago, but man–it feels so good to be seeing how much good there is in the new! I’m excited to see where you take your blog, and am glad for the voice you’re openly sharing. A name isn’t needed for good things to be worked, by a blog or in the real world, and I think good will be worked by you. Check that: is being worked. 😀

  3. Koa
    January 1, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    I am really a big believer in showing ALL our sides, And am finding blogging to be very supportive of that, as you describe. Much appreciation to you, new friend.

    • January 2, 2014 at 5:41 am

      Ditto all of that! I went from so gruff that I wanted only to show–and be–the sweetness and light parts for a time, but that’s not satisfying. I like to see it all from the people I love, to know that I am seeing and knowing the whole person, and I want to offer the same knowledge to those I love: This is who I am. All of me. You can take comfort in the solidity of that. Not all will stay, but those who do . . . well, it’s a gift that just keeps getting better with time and comfort! 🙂

  4. January 1, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    The way you describe the blogging community is just perfect but one that is hard to explain to those who do not blog. I used to be a consistent blogger until about a year ago when I started working on my Masters in Education and gaining my teaching certificate. I expected my bloggy friends to wander off to greener pastures, but for the most part, they have not. They continue to support me.

    The picture of gruff contract manager with a Dora sticker plastered to your face made me laugh – so wonderfully captures the somewhat bipolarness of our lives.

    • January 2, 2014 at 5:44 am

      I went through a several-month period where I could barely muster my own posts, let alone visiting or commenting on others’. I, too, was pleased as punch to see how many people were undeterred by that, hopefully understanding that I’d be back properly in my own time. I am so freakin’ grateful for that! And glad for you. ♥

      (Also, I write these posts mostly without any idea what pictures I’ll use. I always find something. After I’d written this one, I saw the Dora one from early last year and laughed–there really is always something spot on in the gallery!)

  5. January 1, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    As I was happily reading along just now, I appreciated your ease in clearly explaining how you are able to think, and speak, and be in each moment, as varied as the pieces of the whole you are, including nurturing and gruff. We are not static beings who are always this way or that way. In fact, it’s quite unsettling to think of people as limited in their ways of thinking, speaking, and being.

    And as I read what you wrote about coexisting peaceably, I found myself grateful to have made blogging connections that do just that because I know that blogging is highly susceptible to charming, and snarky, and even rude interactions. I’ve been quite lucky with the connections I’ve made, and perhaps I’ve been a bit discerning too.

    So, as I was just about to begin taking note of which new blogs to peruse, I happened upon the name of my own blog. WOW! I was surprised and honored simultaneously. Thank you for letting your readers know that my blog exists here in the vastness of the WP blogosphere. And now, I am off to connect with the others you’ve honored in this post.

    Smiles!

    • January 2, 2014 at 5:46 am

      I know that blogging is highly susceptible to charming, and snarky, and even rude interactions.

      Once in a while, I’ll get a rude or cruel comment, but it’s so rare that after the initial surprise, I’m reminded to take stock of the goodness of their rarity. It’s a good thing we’re building here. 🙂

      Happy Thursday to you, and thanks for the supportive, thoughtful words!

      • January 2, 2014 at 10:16 am

        The goodness of the rarity of rudeness and cruelty is fortunate. And I cannot begin to express the good thing we’re building here. I live in a small, rural town and blogging has enriched my living via these connections, even if they are virtually all the way across the Internet and lacking real, face-to-face interaction. Happy day to you as well!

  6. January 1, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    Can I just say, that picture made me smile. I thought, ‘yeah I could see you looking like that staring at a contract or even a person who was just wrong.’

    Thank you Deb, you are right. We create these communities and learn to rely upon them don’t we?

    • January 2, 2014 at 5:47 am

      Your comment made me giggle. You know that picture of A giving me The Look? It didn’t occur to me until I read your comment that I have my own equivalent!

      These communities are golden. I thought I understood when I was 15, first branching out on local bulletin boards, but I see it all the more clearly at 35.

  7. January 2, 2014 at 3:54 am

    Love Elyse’s comment that, to the outside, non-blogging world, this community doesn’t seem nearly as real or personal as it is. Some of the people I consider closest and most precious to me I’ve found in this big ocean of writers, bloggers, artists, sharers!

  8. January 2, 2014 at 5:37 am

    “I’m the kind of person who finds something she likes and sticks with it. If I find a good dish at a restaurant, that is my dish forever. If there’s a horror movie playing at the theater, that’s what I’ll watch, whether or not it looks especially good.”—This is sooooo me, too. When I visit the West Coast, we’re so doing dinner and a horror movie.

    I like to see the contrasts in bloggers and their posts. It makes people seem more real.

    I can’t wait to read your next post!

    • January 2, 2014 at 5:50 am

      When I visit the West Coast, we’re so doing dinner and a horror movie.
      YES, PLEASE! And a just as hearty “yes” to your thoughts on contrast and realness. Actually, that helps me with a book review I’ve been dragging my feet writing. Thank you. 😀

      I thought I’d be alllll over the stick figure drawings for my next post by now, but they remain crude sketches on notepaper for now. Of course, they’ll still be crude once made electronic, but though crude, they sure take plenty of time to create!

  9. January 2, 2014 at 6:01 am

    Well said about the joys a blogging community can deliver. Happy New Year to you … and hope all goes well during the last trimester.

    • January 2, 2014 at 6:04 am

      Thanks, Frank! I hope yours is happy as well.

      So far, so good here. 🙂

      • January 2, 2014 at 6:12 am

        That a way! … Meanwhile, I will have to shovel some snow soon.

  10. January 2, 2014 at 6:36 am

    Congrats on the new addition to your family may he/she bring you much joy. 🙂 I blog to heal. I read because it’s a passion. I like your writting style and will be following 🙂 Again congrats and all the best.

    • January 4, 2014 at 5:53 am

      Thanks, Michelle! My own reading fell by the wayside for a long stretch last year, but it feels really good to be back into it, both where blogs and books are concerned. Soon I’ll be doing it in smaller bursts, but as long as I’m doing it at all, it’s good . . . especially in light of the context! 😀

  11. January 2, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Maybe that’s why I enjoy your blog, you’re a straight shooter with a heart. My own direct, blunt, truth is my sword personality got me into trouble many times in the past with the hubby and the kiddos, but I learned through those experiences when to access the more nurturing and diplomatic aspects of my personality. Time and experience softened the rough edges. Blessings to you and your family in the new year!

    • January 4, 2014 at 6:04 am

      My own softening journey began when working at the YMCA in college. When a small group of people (specifically, the morning swimmers) really started connected with me, I was surprised to see how good it felt to connect back.

      Still, “softer” hasn’t always been very soft, especially since taking this career path. I’m OK with that much of the time, as it’s important to address bad things head on to change them. I’ll even want to keep some of those rough edges as I go through life, but hopefully get more skillful at determining when boundaries must be hard and fast . . . and when it’s OK to let things unfold as they will! Most the time, I think the difference will be in comfort level: new acquaintances versus longtime friends. The longer the acquaintance and the more someone has shown they don’t need hard and fast rules to be respectful, the easier it is to just ease into being.

      This feels all the more apt as I’m rereading Protecting the Gift. Honestly, I’d tried getting around dedicating a post to it, but now more than before I think it’s essential reading for parents. I might just write it as a letter to my husband, who’s been asked to read the book but might just need a synopsis. 🙂

  12. January 2, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Reading your posts is, for me, like listening to a song sung by an artist who is pouring out her heart. Raw honesty is discernible in your words, and it’s refreshing and inspiring! Happy, healthy, prosperous new year to you!

    • January 4, 2014 at 6:05 am

      Thank you so much for this beautiful comment. As far as this new year, you know I am wishing you the same. &heart;

  13. January 2, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Oh, so much to say and not enough time right now. Please know how much I adore you! You have often inspired me through this blog and today’s is no different. Thank you for reminding me to get back out there and discover new friends/connections in this wonderful world we call the blog-o-sphere. xoxo

  14. January 2, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Aw shucks! (Blushes, ducks head.) 😀
    Seriously, I still find it rather amazing that people even want to hear my silly opinions, much less read my writing. But you deeply honour me by putting me in such lofty company, and you have now reinforced my desire to be worthy of my readership. And possibly, just maybe, actually make sense for once! 😉
    And I will undertake that challenge – right after I shovel our latest blizzard. You know why nobody (except me) has a white car in the part of Ohio? You can’t FIND the dang thing after a blizzard! (I ain’t kidding – Tamy’s parking the thing in the next-door neighbor’s “drive”, a small pull-off area dug down about 3 feet to be even with the road – and I can’t see the car’s roof! 😯 )

    • January 2, 2014 at 11:58 am

      And you wonder why I always seem so self-deprecating? I wrote all that muck above, and forgot to hit the dang “get e-mail notifications” button. Which saint is the patron saint of senile old farts?

      • January 8, 2014 at 4:26 am

        Into my third trimester of pregnancy (only just!), it surprises me that anyone remembers these details. :p

        It’s an honor to be in your company. I mean that!

  15. January 2, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    I can’t believe you’re entering the last trimester already. The time has just FLOWN by…for those of us not actually carrying a baby inside.

    Sending lots of love right back at you, Deb. I am blessed to have cyber friends like you in my life.

    • January 8, 2014 at 4:27 am

      Just hit it yesterday! Even from within the experience, it’s gone by fast. I feel so tired in individual moments, but with such excitement laced through them all.

      But more than that . . . thank you for everything. ♥

  16. January 2, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    I love this blogging business and the community it supports. It is great the way ideas can be shared. Your forthright comments sprinkled with deep thought and emotion, suggests a person of depth and confidence. Love to read your work, Happy New Year Deborah

    • January 12, 2014 at 8:08 am

      Although I’m late saying so, thank you! I wish you the same for this still-new year. I’m excited to read more from you in the year ahead.

  17. January 2, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    Great read. As someone who has spent the better part of a decade working professionally from my home office in a very cut throat, high stress industry, while simultaneously rearing my four young children, I can so relate to your words. Looking forward to reading more.

  18. January 3, 2014 at 5:20 am

    Oh my what an expressive eyebrow and curl of the lips. But then I remember you kick boxing, running and sitting in a pile of fluffy tulle. Thoughts will be with you as your big event approaches. I so much enjoy all your posts and love it when you visit.

    • January 12, 2014 at 8:10 am

      When I took the picture, I was disheartened that the tiny circular bandages I’d bought to cover a wound just weren’t taking. Then I saw D’s Dora bandages and, oh! This picture had to happen. 😀

  19. January 3, 2014 at 6:21 am

    Thank you for the pingback! I think that was my first that wasn’t linked by me. I ran and told my husband and daughter, “Someone just linked to one of my blog posts!” They looked at me and said, “And that means…?” lol. It’s always nice to know that people are reading and enjoying. I’ve been hesitant to step into the blogging “community”. Little worried about finding too much I want to read, worried about whether it’s all a big “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” kind of game. But I enjoyed this post and the one before it so I’m hooked. Thanks for that. And for showing me that perhaps I should quit worrying so much. 🙂

    Good luck with the pregnancy and new baby. I’ve been thinking lately about how that ship has sailed for me. I’ve moved on from that stage… and any desire to be IN that stage! Enjoy it, please. It passes far too quickly. Which is why I started blogging, by the way. To record all those events as they pass by – before I forget them. Which I will, if I don’t write them down.

    • January 12, 2014 at 8:13 am

      My husband suggested we consider a third child. I said that sounded fantastic, if he feels like taking over the pregnancy part for that! 😀

      The back-scratching can be a part of it. It feels much less prominent to me here than other sites I’ve spent a little time. But there’s also a strong element of sharing beloved things because they’re beloved, and that is one of my favorite things about blogging.

  20. January 3, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Thank you for the honest, self-aware and generous post. How lovely that you’ve created a mutually nourishing blogging community–my experience precisely! Looking forward to returning here. Cheers. p.s. Warmest wishes for you and your expanding family….

    • January 12, 2014 at 8:13 am

      Thank you for the well wishes! I’m enjoying reading your evocative words, and looking forward to reading more in the year to come. 🙂

  21. January 8, 2014 at 11:11 am

    I’m inspired by this post to reach out in the blogging community more often. Sometimes when I write and post I feel as if I’m talking to an abstract audience. Does anyone really read it? I have found it difficult to make time to read others’ blogs, but I do enjoy yours. Thank you for writing!

    • January 12, 2014 at 8:17 am

      I went through a several month period where I didn’t read more than one or two posts a week. It came to be the norm, until one morning I awakened and felt a hankering to read. As I soaked in the words, it occurred to me how much I love getting to see more of the world through others’ eyes. Now I’m going the opposite way, where I have a few spare minutes and think, “I bet I have time to read a blog!” I’m sure I’ll eventually fall back into the middle ground, but for now, I’m surely enjoying this ground!

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