“I’m Everyone’s Cheerleader” Club

I never realized how much time of my adult life would be devoted to cheerleading. Thinking back to childhood, I never participated in any events which elicited pom-poms and rah-rah action. It thoroughly surprises me how this grown-up role of perpetual cheerleader comes to me naturally. I encourage my son at track meets, I clap loudly at my daughter’s dance recital, and when my husband wants to tackle another artistic venture, I tell him he’s a genius and to go for it! My friends need me more than ever, on a rotating basis as their lives crack around me; a friend mid-divorce, a friend mid-cancer, a friend mid-LIFE – and I’m doing my best to provide some jovial distraction, while inside I have a hard time rallying for my own cause.

I strive for an A+ on all of my roles: wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, CEO, writer, artist, human. Most of the time I grade myself a B, sometimes a B- in the subject of life. I’m the harsh teacher who is constantly reminding how much potential I have. Sometimes I worry I spend too much time rooting on everybody else, by the time I shift the gaze onto myself, I’ve expended my spirit. I review my “things to do” list and only notice the ones I didn’t cross out. I focus on the calendar and the bank account and linger too long on what I haven’t done. I don’t have time to conduct a life audit whenever I need some applause. I’m alive and healthy; I have a supportive and loving husband and two healthy brilliant kids. Seriously, what bigger reward does a parent/partner want? Unfortunately, I am more than just the two p’s, I am also trying to jump-start my career

Some days I harp on what I couldn’t do because time diverted my energy on obligations such as driving my children to school and cooking dinner and washing clothes and submitting business invoices and getting the oil changed in the car and going to Costco! These chores move life along but are not accomplishments for which I pat myself on the back. My husband tells me to “celebrate your victories” every day, but it’s hard not to compartmentalize these “victories” into different columns.

It made me think I need a grown up sticker chart. Dishes, laundry, chauffeur, article written, article published, received a compliment, made a doctor’s appointment, did my taxes, cooked dinner, called my mother, visited my grandmother, had lunch with a friend, walked two miles, organized the closet. One spreadsheet to collect accomplishments, no matter the heading.

A grown up sticker chart would serve as a visual reminder of my jobs well done and allow my days to feel validated. I often link productivity with worthy though I know that’s absolutely not the case. The Russian in me can’t see value without dollar signs attached and my ears need training in translating checkmarks into cheers. In the meantime, I will worship how many items I’ve crossed off my list of things to do. After all, #amwriting every day. (Sticker.)

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