My dear friend Kelly Warner, a partner at Schiff Hardin, invited me to speak at an event put on by her firm’s Women’s Networking Group and its Parenting Group as a kind of pre-Mother’s Day treat for some hard-charging working moms.
The event was held at Spa Space, 161 N. Canal, in Chicago and attendees were treated to appetizers, champagne and mani/pedis. Looking around the room, I felt like all my Carrie Bradshaw-esque fantasies about life as a grown-up career person were, very briefly, coming true. All the women were brilliant, dressed in great clothes and sharing drinks and laughs. I was the featured speaker, mainly because someone had to be. I spoke about my recent opinion piece in the Chicago Tribune and the incredibly kind, empathetic and supportive reactions I’ve gotten from people who read it. The lesson, for me, of writing and publishing that piece was that it’s okay, even liberating and kind of great, to confess your shortcomings. There are so many people out there to say, “Been there, done that” and even lend you a hand. You need only have the courage to be honest and to ask for help when you need it.
At first, I was shocked by all the cheering and consoling messages I received about this piece—and the Facebook post that generated it. But, later, I realized it shouldn’t have been such a surprise. They were reacting to me just as I would have reacted to them, if they’d told me a similar story. So many of us are willing to be forgiving of and patient with others, but fail to show ourselves the same kindnesses. It was a treat on so many levels to be part of this event, where everyone got a bit of well-deserved pampering before scrambling home for dinner, baths, bedtime and the inevitable now-that-the-kids-are-asleep-I-have-more-work-to-catch-up-on-with-my-laptop hours that fill our evenings.