My girls are getting to the age where pretty soon, an enormous man in a red suit whose main form of transport is a herd of flying reindeer just isn’t going to make sense. So I’ve been trying to decide how I am going to explain Santa while making sure the magic of Christmas stays intact.

A close friend’s mother explained to her years ago that Santa is a part of the spirit of Christmas, and as long as you believed in the spirit of Christmas …. well, the big guy didn’t have to exist in the physical realm. What mattered was that you made up your mind the magic of the season was what counted, then the other parts of Christmas (like gifts under the tree on Christmas morning) would take care of themselves.

And so it goes with believing in something so much more important – ourselves. Nearly every week I get an e-mail or phone call from someone, usually a stay-at-home mom, seeking information on getting back into the work force. Almost always they ask for specific information (“how do I create a web site? or “how can I brush up my writing skills?”), and I know what they really need is a little “You can do this!” push from someone who has already taken the leap.

What I wonder is why when we moms step off the career ladder to do the important work of raising great kids, we start losing confidence in our professional abilities?

What we all know deep down inside is that we’ve never had a more difficult negotiation than when our two-year-old really, really did not want to share, or seen our crisis communications skills on better display than when our four-year-old collapsed in a fit of fury at the grocery store, or more kindness and patience extended when we hadn’t slept for two days straight and still got up, made breakfast and got everyone dressed.

Remember those toughest of days when you were at home with a crying baby and a little cubicle at a downtown office seemed like an oasis?

Taking the leap to working from home, or starting a business, or creating your ideal work-life balance doesn’t seem so hard now, does it? So the next time you feel your confidence wavering about whether or not you can pull this off, remind yourself that you’ve already shown you have the grit, determination and skills to do anything you decide to do.

That’s the spirit!

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