In honor of national women’s history month, I am going to use this week to reflect and thank the women who have positively impacted my life. For me, this has to start with family. I’ll begin with my mother, Helen Durr Alexander. It is difficult to document the impact a mother has on a girl’s life and my mother was no exception. From her I learned to persevere in the face of hardship and adversity, to strive to always do better, to assume the best intentions, and to know that I can make a valuable contribution where ever I choose to focus. Next would have to be my daughter, Mary Amstutz Reiter. A daughter is a mother’s greatest joy and accomplishment. In her, I see reflected all of my best qualities and many she has gained on her own. She has taught me to have no fear of the unknown, to travel light and roll your clothes so they don’t wrinkle when you pack, and to explore the world (vicariously) every time she sends a message with a photo to guess “where in the world is Mary?” And last, but definitely not least, would be my sister, Dolores (Dee) Alexander Cramer. It is from Dee that I have learned it is never too late to follow your dream, make-up isn’t necessary when you have a beautiful heart, and being strong doesn’t mean that you have to be hard.
Moving away from family, there have been many other women who have inspired, supported, and mentored me over the years. From each of these wonderful ladies I have learned many life lessons. They have been there with me as friends as I made the journey to recover my health. They have been there during times of personal and professional crisis. They continue to be here today taking my hand as we face the challenges of navigating life. The list of these ladies is so long that it would take more space than I can allocate for a readable blog. However, I have listed below some of the things that I have learned from them along the way. These are in no particular order just the most memorable.
- There is no such thing as work life balance, you just do the best you can every day and hope that the scales don’t tip over and fall on you.
- Litigation is always the last resort, most issues can be peacefully negotiated in good faith – can you believe it? A lawyer whose first option is not to sue.
- You can live with a mother-in-law under your roof and still retain your sanity.
- Every day is a new day, you just need to take it one hour at a time.
- It’s okay to take a nap in your office at lunch, just close the door so they can’t hear you snore.
- Life is a journey, so don’t go so fast that you can’t enjoy the trip.
- Being a friend means you listen to the same stories over again and still laugh at the punch line.
- Homemade chicken soup is good for the stomach and the soul.
- Mistakes happen, but as long as we work together to resolve them and don’t assess blame, it will all work out better in the end.
- If you think you have all the answers, then you haven’t asked the right questions.
- Seek first to understand and then to be understood.
- Sit down, shut up, and let someone else lead the conversation.
- It’s okay to be a butt as long as you don’t do it twice in a row and you always remember to apologize afterwards and mean it.
- Having a voice is not the same as having a vote, the first just makes you shout louder, the second actually puts your words into action.
- You can learn something from anyone, even if it’s that you don’t want to be like them.
Moving in to the future, I continue to have high expectations both of myself and others. I draw inspiration from the women around me and from women who are doing something to make the world a better place. Some have called me the “Queen of The World,” perhaps because I am such a know it all. But I have decided that I would rather take a page from Peggielene Bartels’ book and be King Doris, because this would give me the power to take action. I take pride in being a professional woman and admire women like King Peggy http://kingpeggy.com/ and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy http://sharmeenobaidfilms.com/ who are making a difference for women in the world http://www.savingfacefilm.com/ .
For more information on National Women’s History Month visit : http://www.nwhp.org/whm/index.php