“Tanya, Martha Stewart’s An A**hole.”

Indulge me in a personal story (once again), will you?

Back in 1998, I went from a high-flying career as a criminologist to being a stay-at-home mom in the span of about a week. And I stayed at home for the next five years. During that time, I went through quite a few identity crises.

What does a stay-at-home mom do?

What are my responsibilities?

What sorts of things should I be doing that I didn’t do previously, besides the most important one of raising my baby?

And so I looked to the experts for answers to these questions. Well, two experts mainly: Martha Stewart and my mother-in-law. (My mother-in-law has since passed away, and we miss her terribly. My own mother worked while raising four of us. How she did this is beyond me.)

Martha Stewart irons her sheets — versus washing them and throwing them on her bed immediately because she cannot, for the life of her, figure out hold to fold a blasted fitted sheet.
She also bleaches her laundry naturally on the clothes line — which takes hours, people! who has hours?! — versus throwing out the items that seem beyond repair.

And she bakes macaroni and cheese from scratch — versus boiling macaroni (whole wheat, at least), throwing shredded cheese from a bag on it and calling it “Mommy’s macaroni surprise” (their favourite meal to this day).

One day while I was ironing the sheets and sweating like a cold beer on a hot day, my mother-in-law called and asked what I was doing. “Ironing my sheets,” I said. “Why?” she said. “Because Martha Stewart said so,” I told her. And then came the magical words:

“Tanya, Martha Stewart’s an a**hole.”

And I was released.

Released from doing things just because an “expert” said that it was a good idea, that it was the way things should be done.

Released from blindly following someone who I thought was doing it “right,” when in reality their “right” was never right for me.

And so it is in business and in our personal lives as well.

We need to find our own way.

To find our own identity, our own way of doing things.

To not blindly follow the people who appear to be leaders just because they appear to be leaders.

To not jump onto every new strategy, tactic, tip, idea, app, social media website just because they are there, because others do it, and because we’ve been told we should.

Let’s stop.

Let’s think about what we’re doing.

Let’s find the authenticity in everything we do.

Let’s learn from the “experts,” but let’s be real, too, and find our own way.

At least that’s what I’m doing, because the alternative is ironing sheets, and I’d much rather [insert any activity here] thankyouverymuch. Cheers to you…and your way!

Nota bene: Of course Martha Stewart is not an a**hole, but I could never begin to keep up with the things that she suggests are “good things”…unless I only slept 3-4 hours a day and had a staff of 13 at my disposal. ‘Til that happens…

Featured image courtesy of HB Mertz on Unsplash