Why You’re Probably a Role Model and Don’t Even Know It

When I was 17, my friend Joni’s mom pulled me aside and thanked me for being such a good role model for her daughter. Now I was a generally squeaky clean, “good” girl and didn’t do much, if anything, that would make me a poor role model, but this freaked me out a little. Even at 17, the idea that anyone was looking at me as a guide was monumental. I remember driving home and creating a laundry list of people who might be watching and learning from me. My youngest brother topped the list, and I became much more aware of my actions and words when I was around him starting that day. I continued to be mindful of the fact that someone might be watching and learning from my actions into my adult years but became less concerned. Then Zoey was born.

I know what you’re thinking–Courtney is going to launch into how she’s trying to be a good role model. Well, it’s true that I am, but the fact of the matter is that I started looking for role models. I’ve always been confident (except in the looks department), bold and in-charge. This period in my life and the addition of a child who would model after me made me feel otherwise. I needed and began looking for role models, and not just in the parenting department. My molting period started about the time I found out I was pregnant and I needed guidance by way of regular, real-life women. Some of these people seemed to sense my needs and began carefully visiting my office a little more often, offering a pat on the back and doling out anecdotes (advice they cloaked in palatable packages). Others became unknowing examples. I’ll admit that the first year after having a child was not attractive on me. I was lost and it was hard, especially with a husband who traveled 260 days out of my first 365 days of being a full-time working mother. And this, too, is a topic I’ll springboard from a little later.

Cut to today. I’m still trying to figure out who I am am. I see it more as an adventure than something scary. And I’m still looking for and at role models. I have so many, too, that it would be impossible to name them all. Some of them know that I watch and learn from them (my mother, my sister-in-law Vickie) but the bulk of them probably don’t even know I watch their moves, read their FaceBook posts and visit their blogs looking for my next bit of inspiration and guidance. Heck, some of these women don’t even know I exist (my absolutely favorite fashion blogger J’s Everyday Fashion, for example. A great resource for creating editorial looks on a shoestring budget.) The point is I have been a role model and I have role models who don’t know they are role models. I absolutely do not mean to put pressure on my own role models. We should all, I think, look at ourselves, though, and ask if we’re comfortable with what we’re putting out there. We should also all look at ourselves and ask if we need a role model or two. I hope that the answer you find is ‘yes’ !


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Angie Haakenson
    Jan 11, 2012 @ 10:40:01

    What a great article, Courtney. Very thought provoking — especially as a new Mom. Keep up the good work!


  2. Adele O'Dell
    Jan 11, 2012 @ 21:14:22

    I enjoy reading the things you write. You were a role model to me, also! It’s good for me to have a reminder, since I’m around children all day.


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