How to Measure Success

Success is an elusive idea. Throughout our lives, we are trained to look to some external measure of success, whether it be a glowing report card or a college/post-graduate degree, a great performance review, or a big fat end-of-the-year bonus. During my career, I felt relatively secure of my success based on ongoing feedback from my superiors. The mere fact that I had a job, that someone was willing to pay me x amount, provided me some objective measure of my value. Well, when I chose to stay home with the kids, I pretty much kissed all of that goodbye.

Now what? In the years I spent as a full-time stay-at-home-mom, I was swirling with doubt and confusion about whether or not I was any good at it. I mean, do they even have a job description for this thing that I do 24/7/365? When is my next raise and for the love of… when is my next vacation???

At the time, I felt like I was all alone (of course, that is never the truth!) As a confirmation that this feeling overwhelms many, many moms, I discovered this video featuring Michelle Scheumann as she discusses the Hot Mommas Project with its founder, Kathy Korman Frey. Michelle shares her frustration about the lack of appreciation and validation that comes with the territory of being the “home entrepreneur” or Chief Household Officer (as I was called). She also talks about how important it is to do something for herself, that utilizes her life experience and unique gifts.

Do you see a pattern here, my dear Mommies? Hmmm… do something for yourselfdo something you lovefind your personal calling! I can only speak for myself, of course… but without that crucial element of A Passion in your life, it will always seem unbalanced. People who have known me over the years have commented that since I’ve made a commitment to living with purpose, I am a different person. A good friend told me just recently, “You will be so much more successful now. Whatever success means to you.” 🙂

Or if you recall the song from Rent… c’mon, sing it with me! 525,600 minutes…. How do you measure a year? How about love? Measure in love.

As an aside, the Hot Mommas Project is a wonderful initiative, producing real life case studies of women balancing personal and professional lives to help model success for young girls. Read more about it on the website and thank you Kathy, for the nomination.

Practical Mommy is Ria Sharon. Click the links for Practical Mommy’s recommendations for travel car seats, affordable and fun diaper bags (skip hop bag), and the best-selling crib brand, Da Vinci Crib.


  1. As mothers we so need to be reminded to do things for ourselves, what makes us happy, Follow our passions and dreams! Thanks for reminding us all of this fact!

  2. Thanks so much for mentioning our project. The success thing is tough – right? We created a capitalist animal, and, now that’s how we measure ourselves. As Ted Leonsis says, “People have two wallets: Money and time.” I think someone’s TIME should be viewed as a legitimate currency. We found in a survey of working women, that those who were balanced believed they were the most successful. Said another way, balanced women feel more successful. I think – very slowly – the definition of success is changing. Sometimes is comes in little spurts, like when you are involved enough with your kids school to make good decisions that matter. Sometimes it comes in a huge tidal wave, like the economic downturn that has folks focused on what really matters. Starting this conversation here on your blog is a great step. You’re the new generation of book club / support group / and classroom.


    Kathy and The Hot Mommas Project Team

  3. P.s. I totally agree with Tara (above) – it is all about happiness. That is actually my big goal for 2009. I just want to be happy, and want my family to be happy.

  4. Hey, @chiefhotmomma! Simply said… do what makes you happy yet why is it so difficult to do? One of the exercises I learned from @DivinePurposeMV was to reflect on all the things I loved to do as a kid.

    It made me think… do we spend our growing up years FORGETTING? Or, being convinced that what makes us happy isn’t worth pursuing.