The modern woman wears a cape created by the women who came before her and it follows her as she makes her own moves. She is always progressing and always climbing.
I come from a long line of modern women of their time, who are known for their breakthroughs and marks in the family history. My great grandmother carried her children and a single heavy chest of priceless heirlooms up a mountain in the Philippines to escape enemy invasion during WWII. My mother moved to the big city from her small hometown, with just enough cash to go to nursing school and more than enough determination to immigrate to the United States.
And then there’s me. A small part of the legacy, hoping to make my own mark in the family tree. Being grateful doesn't even begin to express how I feel knowing my entire life’s foundation is made from the blood, sweat and tears of my ancestors.
What do I do with that gratitude? What do I do with that power?
At 22, I felt like I was ready to take over the world with that gratitude and power. In my last year of college, I was armed with high hopes of moving to another coast, going to grad school, traveling the world and becoming what in my mind was the only kind of success worth working for.
But then things got serious with a guy I had known and loved for years. Lots of big decisions were on our plates and things I never thought to consider were things he spent years preparing for. Our paths crossed and our individual courses changed.
We got married and those dreams I had took backseat to the Army and everything that came with it.
I created new goals to shape around my new life.
Being at the mercy of unknown timelines, absences, potential moves and long work hours gave little room for me to explore where I could go with my career options. At that time, his career came first. In the years that followed, we faced a lot of challenges together. He made career changes and went back to school. We became new homeowners and new parents, going through the motions of these new roles. But the vision of the future was so unclear and somewhat nerve-wracking for me especially as someone who plans and plans and plans.
At that point, I realized nothing was really in my control. I had to adapt. I had to keep moving forward and it felt like I didn’t have a flashlight to show me what was ahead.
But I kept moving. I kept trying to balance a demanding job with giving my all at home. The grind was part of the journey. The reward was a fierce confidence in whatever I got tasked with. I gained a new level of humility and wanted to learn more.
I became dissatisfied with limits and norms and felt compelled to shatter them for the sake of showing my son what modern women like me are truly capable of.
I found my community of other new moms who were raw, candid and non-judgmental. Women who didn’t shun me when I told them I worked all day and shared household responsibilities with my husband. Parents who understood what it’s like to be a 20-30 something with student debt, DD214’s, fixer upper homes and toddlers who might know more about compassion than most adults.
After years of circumstances and jobs dictating our every move, we found ourselves at a point where instead of asking ourselves “where are we going?” We asked “where can we go?” I finally felt that I could use the inherent power of will (no pun intended) instead of trying to find the power of control.
We have a big change ahead of us. Lots of moving parts in the works to make it happen. And my role as a working mom may change as I seek challenges in our next transition.
Looking back, I’ve always kept charging ahead. Had I known where I’d land at any given point, I probably wouldn’t have been so hard on myself and provided a more encouraging voice. But the actions of the women before and alongside me prove that we can all do more than we think we can.
I think that’s the beauty of a modern woman. Undefined by time or structures around her life, trailblazing in her own way. She adapts, overcomes and shines. In the long run, she becomes a source of empowerment.
She inspires the modern woman.
About the Author:
Hi! I’m Melissa, a tropically-rooted Pacific Northwesterner currently living west of Seattle with my husband, our son and beagle. I love supporting fellow veteran families like ours through fundraisers and volunteering with the local Fisher House. I work full-time as the Operations Director for Integrity Roofing and enjoy learning about an industry where more women are being part of and leading. Between all these roles, I’m also a huge Mariners fan, I'm always listening to a podcast and I enjoy taking time to catch up with over coffee.
Follow Melissa on her journey:
On her blog:https://www.willohana.com/parenthood/
On Instagram: @melissa_will