This first month of the New Year, has been all about… Intention. That, and Creativity along the way!
When I began working on this space a couple of years ago, I never expected for it to grow into anything more than what I initially thought it would be: a place for me to reflect, and to share. A path to -hopefully- connect, still a channel mostly to vent out. An expression of my personal viewpoint of the whole Motherhood experience: stuff we know about parenting, looked at from a different angle and acknowledged as growth experiences.
This pretty much sums up my intention for Project Mamager the way I set it back in 2019, a positioning maintained for quite a while. I kept writing to get things out of my system and fight-off postpartum anxiety, and got what I longed for in return: expression and connection. Still, as I maintained that course, slowly yet steadily, something began to shift. A breeze. A ripple. That unseen subtlety of deep and meaningful change when there’s transformation in the making.
Project Mamager, my passion project, somehow, somewhere in time, quit revolving around a single person’s ideas and needs, and grew into something more. Something larger than that. Sure, the discussion around Parenting competencies sits at the center of the message, and is actively kept vibrant. However, the impact generated has taken a totally different direction. In two years’ time, Project Mamager has slowly turned from building a strong argument, to forging a new meaning. Connection. Co-Existence. Life. Balance. Bonding!
These were the most prevalent the words the Project Mamager tribe has used to describe their relationship with this space, in a series of one-on-one interviews that I orchestrated during the last quarter of the previous year. True to a core behavior of mine -one I rely on when in mental and emotional disarray- I went on to ask around. Pose the question, indulge in the discussion, see what happens! What does Project Mamager mean to you? But I couldn’t do it without structure. So I brought in the epitome of the Human-Centered Design troops to help me tackle this: the Design Thinker’s Empathy Map to help convert information to insight through categorizing captured information into what my interviewees were Saying, Thinking, Feeling and Doing within Project Mamager.
A few words, over and over, kept popping up in everyone’s testimonial over and over: Thoughts, Feelings, Words and Actions forming a theme. To my surprise, some of my absolute favorite words such as Skill or Competence didn’t make it. To cut the long story short, those who read this space told me that, while I set out to create a job description for working Parents though Project Mamager, two years in the making… something else got cultivated. A Bonding experience was born! I picked up the vibe. That powerful word. That cognitive dissonance. Now what?
Like a true Human-Centered Designer, I couldn’t shake off the thought that this insight was too important to just ignore or limit to fill in my daily reflection habit. This insight came from our own; our tribe of like-minded working parents. Men and Women, Moms and Dads from all over the world who read, follow and empathize with Project Mamager. Therefore this insight had to lead to an actionable outcome. And it did. Powered by (wait for it!)… an Analogy from Parenthood!
Every time our son conquers a new skill, or rises to a new competency level, I get this complex feeling of excitement, powered by nostalgia. “You can use the spoon and the fork now, J. There truly is no actual need for me to tag along to feed you. You’ve mastered that ability. You’ve outgrown my assistance and contribution in that particular area. Still, I choose to sit beside you during lunchtime to assist while you try to grab that tricky piece of okra. But that’s not you. That’s just me not letting go. It’s me in the middle-ground. Seeking new ways to be of service, and clinging to the new ones up until I uncover them.”
This inner dialogue happens all too often as Jason is growing. He is developing his personality, within the context of our family, and beyond our expectations. Our son gets to make his own choices now, like roam around the house with two unmatched socks and skip Mom’s devout nap-time when playtime gets seriously intriguing. There’s no point in me fighting this: this is the epitome of growth. It’s progress bound to happen. As his mother, I’m not there to contain it: I’m there to facilitate it. And this is what is going on with this dear space as well.
Project Mamager was born a job description, who gradually evolved into a place of belonging for working Parents. A space to open up and share experiences. A space to acknowledge change, and grow stronger by it. A place to acquire new skills, and share lessons learnt for others to benefit from. I set out with the intention to build working Parents a job description. The concept intrigued a following and a dialogue. It has served its purpose, and now it’s ready for its next step: a place of mutual understanding. A place where the two worlds (family and work) meet to Bond.
Project Mamager is turning into an entity of its own now. It’s becoming. Its core is transforming and, having captured that insight directly from its readers, I went on to depict it. To celebrate it. To showcase it. How? First off, by redesigning our shared identity. Our logo. Our colors, and sign on the wall. Our vision, and our Why.
Two circles of Life (not the only ones, for sure, but let’s focus on these particular two) that join in the middle. A common ground. A middle place where realities meet, greet, mix, coincide and strengthen one another. We are the Parents who Work. Parents at Home. Parents at Work. Professionals at Work. Professionals at Home. Men and Women who balance out two identities that initially seem distinct but, in effect, merge more than differ. The more we bring the two worlds together, the stronger the shared space becomes. A space where there’s shared needs, ideas, experiences, but also shared knowledge, skills and abilities.
Today, the 21st on the January, a day that comes to mark by own birth, I found it fitting to inaugurate our shared acknowledgement of Project Mamager’s new Human-Centered identity. An identity I am particularly proud of, because it was created collectively and automatically sets a new intention for this space: to become a place of deep and meaningful Bonding and Growth, for Working Parents across the board.