A Letter to Chelsea Clinton from One Daughter of an Amazing Working Mom to Another...
I want to start out by telling you how sorry I am that your mom was unable to realize her ultimate dream of becoming the first woman president of the United States. Frankly, I am shocked, saddened and dismayed by the outcome of the election and wanted to take the time to share that as her daughter, I'm sure you are well aware the journey does not end here. In fact, for you and for your children, it has only just begun.
While on a very much smaller scale, I was once in your shoes. My mom, who had spent more than 30 years as an educator in the Board of Education was up for the biggest job of her career -- District Superintendent. She was immensely qualified for the job - she got along with parents, staff, people in the community and she was well liked. My mom was the ultimate worker bee who got stuff done and was a leader and team player in every sense of the word. She was also valedictorian of her high school and college and while she didn't pursue a career in the law (that was her first aspiration) she dedicated her life to the field of education and made a lasting impact wherever she went. She was a true role model to others and she's the primary reason why I started Role Mommy because I wanted to encourage other women to be just like my mom - to pursue their dreams while raising a family.
So back to the Superintendent job. The only thing that stood between my mom and that coveted position were the votes of the school board members. Unfortunately, as I came to discover during the public interview process, the school board was more interested in making a change then sticking with someone who had been part of that district for years and was an exemplary candidate for the job. Instead, they selected a white man who they believed would adhere to their agenda instead of what was best for students, teachers, parents and administrators. Sadly, my mom did not get the job that would have led to the pinnacle of her career. I still remember being at that meeting with tears streaming down my face as they announced the winner and the hopes of my mom landing the job faded away in front of our eyes.
While the blow was painful for her at the time, my mom persevered. She continued in her role as Deputy Superintendent and a few years later retired from the New York City Board of Education. She continued to work in the private sector overseeing programs for adults with special needs and also became an adjunct professor near her home in Southampton. She volunteered at the library. She took tap dance lessons. She reconnected with old friends, and she became one of the best grandmas on the planet.
My mom is now approaching her 75th birthday - just a few years older than your mom and I have to say it makes me so proud to know that she's accomplished so much in her career and will always be a role model to me and my family.
As you spend the week picking up the pieces from a hard fought campaign, I just want you to know that your mother has left us with a legacy of hope, passion and commitment to public service that we will never ever forget. She has fired up a generation of young women who are poised and ready to continue on and fight for what is right and just in our world. My own daughter will turn 18 in less than five months and she cannot wait to make her voice heard. She is the co-President of her school's local Habitat for Humanity chapter, is a talented artist who incorporates powerful messages of feminism into her artwork and she's a gifted speaker who is quite vocal on her views about everything from gun violence, to women and LGBTQ rights, drug abuse, and much much more.
Though your mom didn't win the election, she has won over the hearts and fighting spirits of my daughter and her friends. She will forever be a "Role Mommy" to me and a beacon for young women just starting their professional journey or those of us who are climbing that ladder while attempting to balance motherhood with our careers.
I know your family will continue making our world a better place. Please know that just as we pledged to be "With Her," we're with you too if you ever decide to run for public office. Just so you know, we've got your back big time.
Best wishes to you and your family and I hope the holiday season is relaxing and enjoyable for all of you. I just want you to know that we are so very grateful to your mother for her tireless efforts, her dedication and her commitment to supporting families throughout her entire career.