Recently an article that my 8-year old was reading in American Girl magazine by Patti Kelley Criswell caught my attention. In the article Speak Up or Steer Clear, Criswell asked the questions: Do you stand up for yourself and others, or do you avoid conflict—even if it means getting stepped on? The author asked the young readers to take a quiz to discover their speak-up style. I was pleased that my little girl circled mostly c’s. C’s meant that she has no trouble telling people how she feels and nobody is going to stomp on her—for sure. This is a direct quote from Criswell. She explained that being assertive is the halfway point between being a pushover and being a bully.
Criswell’s quiz made me think about my current and future InSeason Moms. Do you speak up when your doctor tells you that you are too old to have a baby in your 40s? How about when family members make sarcastic remarks about how you look like your child’s grandmother or remind you of how old you will be when your child is a teenager?
Speaking up is not always easy nor is it appropriate at all times. I remember sitting in an assembly on last year when a minister told the congregation to have children while they are young. The assembly was nearly 200 people. I doubt the minister was aiming at me or if he remembers making that statement. On the other hand, at a recent family outing (on my husband’s side) a relative who gave birth over 35 to her second child commented that women shouldn’t have babies over age 35. She talked about how exhausted she was caring for a 3 year compared to how easy it was caring for her teenager at age 3. She looked to me for agreement. I reminded her that her low energy level probably had as much to do with having a demanding job (supervisor) as it did having a 3-year old. My husband threw in his support by saying that each person is different. The relative who is much younger than I am concluded the conversation by saying I had more patience and energy than she did.
Speaking up doesn’t mean you have to be rude or say ugly things to state your position. It does mean when the time is appropriate, you will use age to your advantage. You no longer accept other people’s opinions as truth whether it comes from your doctor or from your beautician. You are older but you’re also wiser and you’re not afraid to Speak Up!