What do we think about having a "personal brand"? Have we "basically been seduced into objectifying and dehumanizing ourselves," as my friend Jason put it?
In 2018, one thing I was really proud of was identifying a mission. I've thought of it as this:
I am a person who is committed to helping women give themselves permission to create space and have an identity that belongs to them and them alone.
Now -- is that my personal brand? If it is my personal brand, then what do I do with days like yesterday?
Yesterday massive guilt consumed me as I carried my 1-year-old in to daycare after a week off. Morgan LOVES to stay at home. He loves napping in his bedroom. He likes the living room and the backyard. He sits next to the dog in the kitchen and gazes up at my husband or me while we cook. Our home is his world. He seems happy enough at daycare, but he is delighted (and delightful) at home.
So, I felt the all-consuming guilt as I took him to daycare. Besides adjusting after a week off, he also switching classrooms and teachers, and I knew there would be crankiness and grumpiness. I leaped to assigning myself the blame for ... everything. Because I have no inclination to stay home with him. Not even for one day a week. Which makes me a bad mom. Right? Doesn't this mean that nannies are raising him?
Yes, I have those thoughts, for real. I had them yesterday. Super-authentic-personal-brand Maggie would never have those thoughts. I thought.
So I joked to another friend, Margo, that my guilt and my doubts were "off-brand."
"HOW IS THIS NOT ON-BRAND?" (She shouts because she cares.) "Your brand is about the collective contradictions women hold in our mind, half from what we genuinely feel, half from those that are societally and culturally imposed on us, and the whole conversation is trying to negotiate the difference between the two."
I'm driven to help women give themselves permission. Period. Permission to have their own identity. To do what they want. AND to find a way to doubt themselves without letting the doubt consume their drive.
That's why I started an interview series where I talk to other mothers who are entrepreneurs (although I didn't know that was why I was starting it). I have done a few "Moms Who Are Entrepreneurs Who Hate Being Called Mompreneurs" episodes. I'm doing it because I need to talk to and to showcase other women who have claimed an identity outside of who they take care of.
Happy New Year. You have my permission :-) to start slow or hit the ground running.