Why Google and Your Embarrassing Mother are Always Right
On a recent trip to DC, someone asked me how I got involved with the women’s empowerment movement comprised of the many clubs and organizations aimed at professionally developing women to be their best version of awesome. That wasn’t the first time anyone asked me the question and on my journey, I’m sure it won’t be the last. But positioned where I am in my little southern corner of the world, it’s a valid question. I dreamed of being President at the age of 6, but when the real world and I shook hands, we agreed that I was going to be the girl who put her dreams on the back burner to chase the military around for a little while. I was literally raised in a town called Niceville full of beach bums and military transplants, and a voice in my head told me that my humble upbringing wasn’t exactly what the White House was looking for.
It wasn’t until office rot started to get the best of me that I stopped to question that little voice.
So the answer to the question lies in one person; my mother; my polar opposite and nemesis for all things categorized, structured, and organizational. There is no discounting the fact that she raised me to be fiercely independent, although I am not sure that was done on purpose. To her dismay, that’s exactly how I turned out and this very defining character trait may have caused more than one overly dramatic, drawn out quarrel on both our parts. The dichotomy between us is the perfect screenplay for the next big blockbuster hit. She frequently reminds me that I took her ambition, motivation, and metabolism when I came out of her womb, irritated, frustrated, and intent on announcing my entry into the world.
I took her with me on my last trip to DC for a women’s conference and one conversation with a new connection hit it home-she introduced herself as the eternal hippie and said she had no clue where I got my fodder for networking and politics, but that she would be thrilled to post up as my own personal nanny on whatever life changing career path I chose to dive into. She reminded me later that she always thought I should have been an actress, in which case I reminded her that is exactly why I am not an actress…
Her short elevator speech with this very inspiring woman (who ironically had the exact same story about her own mother, which made me feel a little less crazy) reminded me exactly how I did end up on this crazy roller coaster of self-discovery. It kind of all started with her, literally and figuratively.
I sat in my kitchen last spring, tired, frustrated, exhausted feeling like I had just run a marathon. My husband was gone…again…I had a precocious two-year old with an energy level rivaling that of a squirrel on full alert. I had moved across the country twice in one year, moved houses twice in 5 months, put my first dog child to sleep by myself, I was working well outside of my job description and too many hours to keep count, oh, and I was in finals for my Masters degree. This was a picture of pure madness and 5 cups of coffee every morning combined with one glass of wine every night kept me running like a well-oiled machine. I kind of felt like a hamster in his wheel. Not exactly getting anywhere, but embarrassingly funny to watch.
I sat still surrounded by boxes and knew I could rely on my flower child mother to give me an answer devoid of over-analysis and pros and cons charts. I would never really embrace her advice, but at least hearing it made me think I could take the stick out of my rear for a little bit.
I asked her, “Mom, how do people like Dana Perino become Dana Perino? I mean, are they just born into the right family, do they just have the right amount of money, what is the secret? Am I ever going to get a chance to be Dana Perino?” My mom typically has a LOT to say, but she sort of paused, and in my head, I said, yup, exactly what I expected. But in true butterfly form, she finally said, “I don’t know honey, Google it” and then laughed it off a bit and gave me a short little pep talk about how she always told me I was awesome and I would figure it all out someday.
Google it? That was the profound, life-changing sermon that was going to help me figure out the key to success.
Ok well as far as admitting when people are right, my mom falls into the same category as my husband. But as I am coughing, choking through this admission, she had a moment of genius in her raw response. I DID Google it, right away in fact. So simple-“Dana Perino” in the search box and a wealth of information was right in front of my face. I linked to organizations she was a part of and organizations those organizations were a part of and it was a virtual game of dominos.
I sulked for an inordinate amount of time about something I could have just Googled to find out. And even more frustrating, my mother was right…again. She sort of sparked a Google fire in me now, when I wake up with an overwhelming need to change the world, or just my world maybe, Google and I have an early morning meeting to discuss our strategic plan…or lack thereof.
I’ll never deny my mother’s affinity for floating through life as if it were a storybook, I’ll never hide the fact that her boisterous point of view and fierce protection of the people that are hers have embarrassed me at times in my adolescence. I might pretend that I don’t notice how my own child seems to exhibit some of her “Lolly’s” carefree tendencies… but as tribute to her Google encouragement, I can now embrace the fact that it might just take the opposite of you to really figure out exactly who you is.
Image from www.allthingsd.com