The Parent Report Card

When I was a young mother raising two kids as a single parent, I didn’t have time to worry about whether I was “doing it right”. I worked full time, had two kids in two different schools, sports activities and seeing two different therapists because I was divorcing and both had special needs at that time. I made it through every day hanging by my fingernails!

I look back at that time now and wonder how the hell I made it all work without losing my sanity. Now I have my children as grown adults who routinely don’t agree with me on a variety of topics. I often wonder if they are issuing me a “report card” on my parenting. One of my children ferociously disagrees with most everything I hold dear and important. One has an addiction that comes and goes in life. For the longest time, I thought these things meant I didn’t do something right.

I have to regularly remind myself that because we disagree or they are hurtful, it doesn’t mean I got an “F” as a mother. I can still be true and authentic as myself, and allow them the freedom to live their own lives as THEY see fit, not by my standards. I did my best, and now it is up to them to be who they are. Even though I am an experienced co-dependent (!) I no longer get to control and enable their choices.

All of us can be good parents by taking care of ourselves. Following our own path and dreams is actually role modeling healthy self-care behaviors as a parent. That means we get an “A” for effort and intention every time!

 

Posted by Susan Odegaard Turner – MentorRN

Citizen Malaise

There have been many articles that outlined how contentious our recent election was. No matter who you supported or voted for, everyone felt strongly about the outcome for their candidate. However, after the election results were confirmed, it seems many folks felt even worse.

As I talk with individuals and listen around my community, there is a pervasive sense of fear and dread. It doesn’t seem to be about just the new administration’s activities or choices, but rather an all-encompassing, life-encroaching cloud that I call citizen malaise. It isn’t just about immigration or healthcare reforms; it is an over-arching sense of doom and potential destruction. It is more than politics, dislike of a candidate or a political party.

It is about issues near and dear to many of us. Living with the constant nagging reality that deportation could be a reality for your family. Or the climate change regulations you supported are not being continued. Privacy laws for the internet are affected by changes at the FCC. How do you carry on your daily work in this environment?

Old stalwart advice is to focus on helping others when you feel depressed and overwhelmed. For citizen malaise, I believe it is about activism and advocacy. Do not let the fear silence the stories that once empowered you! (L. A. Times, 3/29/16). Pick the issue that bugs you the most and talk or write about it in a constructive way. By the way, this is not the same as bashing behaviors on Facebook and other social media. Join a grassroots advocacy organization, especially if you are a woman; to further the agenda and principles of the Million women marches.

The one thing you don’t have to do is sit silently and fume. This is your chance to activate your “soul wellness” by doing something to counteract your citizen malaise!

Posted by Susan Odegaard Turner – MentorRN

Not Being Enough

Recently I spoke to someone who shared how anxious he was to interact with a visiting sibling. His sibling has achieved strong academic success, but still struggles with managing emotions and relationships. The young man I spoke with was certain that everyone who saw them together would assume the sibling was more successful than he, based solely on accomplishment.

I pondered the conversation for a long time. First of all, how did this young man get this burden on his heart? When did he learn that society decides that what matters most is what you achieve? Who made that happen? We have certainly seen some of the results of this dysfunctional balance since the last election cycle. People are angry, frightened, and more prone to acting out. Rage has become the new normal. Acting out in your own best interest regardless of how it affects other has now become common practice; albeit unacceptable to many. If you doubt this last sentence, read the recent newspapers about our new executive branch of government.

No one should be made to feel not good enough. Not even by their selves. We are all placed on the planet with unique gifts, skills, and abilities to help us achieve our human purpose. We all have a different purpose, and make our individual journeys to achieve that purpose.

While we are advocating for a more reasonable government and tolerance for immigrants and refugees, perhaps we can also rally loudly around advocacy for ourselves. That we all matter, we are all valuable, and we ARE ALL good enough! What do you think?

Posted by Susan Odegaard Turner – MentorRN

Essence or Achievement?

I spoke recently to a psychologist who asked me what was more important to me~ essence or achievement. I had to think about it. It was a profound question and one worth really considering. Since I am nearing retirement age, I figured I have met most of my professional achievements. What I hadn’t considered is if there are other achievements that are just as worthy, e.g. finding a partner, parenting a child, losing weight.

I looked up the definition for essence. Merriam Webster defines it as “the basic part of something.” A synonym for essences is “soul, spirit.” That is who we are as humans from where I sit. So the question of which matters more gets more complex. It is my belief that we start out focused on achievements…going to college, getting a degree, going to grad school, finding the perfect job. As we age, we focus on more on our essence and spiritual growth and less on personal achievements.

Everyone considers resolutions and ideas for the next year as we approach 2017. Are you going to focus on your achievements or your essence? Can you do both? Lots to think about as you enjoy the holiday weekend!

 

Posted by Susan Odegaard Turner – MentorRN

Professional Advocacy Matters!

As the post-election season winds down, and we come to grips with how different this next presidency appears to be, we are faced with two choices. We can be upset, vent our unhappiness on social media and talk about it with our nursing colleagues. Or, we can reach out as professional nursing advocates to make a difference.

Healthcare access and coverage is still a central issue in the US. No matter what you think about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) or the new president-elect, care and coverage for the uninsured and working poor is crucial and ongoing. The good news is that California has developed a successful program that could be used as a model for the rest of the country. The less good news is that other states are struggling to meet the performance pillars of the ACA. While it appears that the president-elect will attempt to dismantle at least parts of the program, there is ample opportunity for professional advocacy around this issue.

RNs are the most trusted profession in the country. With that reverence, comes great power! Find a local cause about healthcare you can get behind. My work in correctional healthcare as a strategic planning consultant allows me to identify issues that are otherwise hard to see within the community. I am passionate about healthcare for inmates released on parole or probation (prison or jail), so they do not end up in the ER seeking primary care.

As an RN, you have seen first-hand the issues that affect your patients. Find one that you are passionate about and get involved. Write an op-ed piece, run for elected office or work as a volunteer. There are plenty of community healthcare issues to care about. What difference can you make?!

Posted by Susan Odegaard Turner – MentorRN

The Fall Season – What Are You Working On?

fall-leaves-small-white

The calendar says that the season of Fall has just begun. Fall is my favorite season! Because I was born in Boston, I think I have the changing seasons in my DNA. The beautiful fall leaf colors and shedding of leaves is a season full of transition and transformation. Transformation always requires transition (change) first. You cannot do anything new (transformation) until you determine the need for a change in the first place.

Working on your purpose requires a process of evaluation, soul-searching, transition and transformation-much as the leaves change color, and eventually fall off. The changing colors are glorious, but the process must include shedding the leaves so new spring growth can occur after winter ends. Trees without leaves are not dead, but rather getting ready for spring growth. This is true for those of us considering our purpose. We are changing on the inside, getting ready for new growth and direction.

This wonderful diagram making the rounds on Facebook demonstrates the intersection of purpose into our lives. Most religions and spiritual practices talk about having purpose. Do you know your purpose? Is it the same as your paying job? How do you entwine purpose in your life? How do you feel when you find it? Lots to think about while you watch the leaves change color and fall…

purpose-diagram

Posted by Susan Odegaard Turner – MentorRN

Empathy: A Crucial Leadership Skill

Maria Shriver wrote a great article on the power of empathy recently (Sunday Paper, 8-7-16). Some folks believe you either have empathy or you don’t. Shriver states that there are studies that show it can be taught. Empathy is not like rolling your tongue-a can/cannot do proposition! I believe that empathy is one of the most crucial skills a leader can utilize with others. Empathy is the ability to share someone else’s feelings, and understand their experience. Sometimes you may have even walked in their shoes.

In my forty year career, I have met senior executives that perceive empathy does not belong in the workplace. I couldn’t disagree more. I became a better leader when I exhibited empathy, particularly to subordinates. Empathy isn’t compassion or sympathy; however you may use both in addition to empathy when dealing with work situations.

Empathy is also something we can use for ourselves. As many career women, I am much harder on myself then I am on any other person. Beating ourselves up (or others) doesn’t help us grow or change. If you want more caring, compassion, and collaboration, try looking at empathy as a key strategy. Especially for yourself!

 

Posted by Susan Odegaard Turner – MentorRN