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 doesn’t 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 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 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.
I had an epiphany last night while watching Chelsea Clinton deliver a heartfelt introductory speech about her mom, Hillary Rodham Clinton. As the child of a working mother who took on various roles in her career since the time I was five until adulthood, I started to think about Chelsea’s personal stories about her mother and how they seemed to parallel my experiences with my own mom. While my mom never logged close to a million miles as Secretary of State, she did accomplish some amazing things in her career as an educator. If you’re the daughter of a working mom, I bet you’ll see some similarities too. For now, here’s mine… 10 REASONS WHY I SEE MY MOM IN HILLARY CLINTON 1. THEY BOTH WROTE US NOTES
My mom used to write notes for me every day and put them in my lunch bag. She used to start each one: To My Favorite Daughter (I’m her only daughter).
Hillary used to write notes to Chelsea every time she went out of town and dated each of them so that she had a note to read for as long as her mom was away. 2. THEY BOTH HAVE THE SAME HAIRSTYLE
For as long as I can remember, my mom has always had a short haircut and wears it pretty much like Hillary. She’s not a blonde though — except when she gets highlights! 3. THEIR HUSBANDS ARE GREAT TALKERS
While my mom has always been the person who can get any job done, she’s also kind of shy and doesn’t really like speaking in front of crowds. That’s because my dad has been the one who is always larger than life. He still performs to this day with his theater troupe in Florida and is an amazing speaker. Mom on the other hand works behind the scenes (she’s the wardrobe dresser for my dad’s show). But the one thing about my mom is that while she doesn’t like to be the center of attention, her reputation and work ethic is second to none. 4. THEY HAVE BOTH LOST BIG JOBS AFTER A HARD FOUGHT CAMPAIGN
While my mom didn’t run for President, she did run for Superintendent of her school district. Sadly, she didn’t get the job because the heavily political school board decided to select someone else who wasn’t as qualified but promised to do the things they wanted throughout the school year. 5. THEY ARE AMAZING PROBLEM SOLVERS
Back when my mom was at the top of her game, you could throw anything at her and she’d get the job done. When I was growing up, my mom always seemed to continually be promoted on the job – she was the person people looked to for answers and guidance and became one of the most well respected educators in her school district. 6. THEY DON’T HAVE TIME FOR B.S.
Throughout my mom’s life, she was always known as a super nice person and sometimes people took advantage of her good nature. As she got older, she got stronger and oftentimes if someone pissed her off, she took them to task for it or froze them out for a long time. The ones who were frozen out of her life truly regretted it and oftentimes came back apologizing for being so stupid. That’s the thing about pissing off a good person. They may forgive you, but they never forget. 7. THEY HAVE DAUGHTERS WHO GREW UP THINKING ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE
While Chelsea is now a mom of two and is overseeing the Clinton Foundation, I am a mom of two overseeing a PR and social media business. I’m also married to a guy who had a career in finance (hedge funds to be exact) but left to pursue his love of kids sports. You never know, Chelsea’s hubby could ditch the hedge fund trade one day too to pursue a passion he had as a kid. Either way, our values completely align when it comes to valuing the importance of helping working moms balance their home life with their careers.
8. THEY HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR A VERY VERY LONG TIME
Luckily, my mom hasn’t had to deal with a husband who has made many mistakes with women over the years. The only women my dad plays with are the ones on the tennis court. Other than that, he’s been a one woman man for over 54 years. Sure my mom and dad fight a lot but at the heart of it, they are each other’s cheerleaders and are both so proud of one other when they both achieve great things in their lives both personally and professionally. 9. THEY ARE BOTH THE PRODUCT OF STRONG MOTHERS
Hillary’s mom was abandoned at a young age and started working at 14 years old. My grandmother came from a very large family and oftentimes became the caregiver to her younger siblings. Like Dorothy Rodham, my grandmother was fearless — she chased mice from our summer house in the Poconos and even bludgeoned a fish to death that I had caught from a nearby lake. Grandma also stressed the importance of getting a job to help support your family. And she made a mean matzoh ball soup but I guess that’s where the similarities fade. 🙂 10. THEY BOTH GAVE COMMENCEMENT SPEECHES AT THEIR SCHOOLS
While Hillary gave a commencement address at Wellesley, my mom was the valedictorian of her senior class who gave the commencement address at Thomas Jefferson High School before she went on to pursue a degree in education at Brooklyn College. The funny thing is, my mom actually wanted to become a lawyer but went into education because at the time, that’s what most young women did. Something tells me that had she pursued the law, she would have been a kick ass attorney.
At the heart of it, as the daughter of a working mom, I am so proud of everything my mom accomplished in her career and am sure that Chelsea felt the same way last night as she spoke about Hillary’s passion for service and for making the world a better place for our sons, daughters and grandchildren.
You see, you really can have it all. You can even raise daughters who look up to you and inspire their own children to pursue their dreams.