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“Who Is Lakesha Cole?”

Hey, friends! I’m Lakesha. Last week I traveled back home to North Carolina, horrible turbulence on my flight, but thankfully in-flight reading kept me sane. I was on a business trip in my dream job capacity as an author and mompreneur. I was stoked about this trip because I finally got to see my friend and business-owner Stacy McCowen who owns the most gorgeous boutique Candle Queen Candles Gift Boutique in Leavenworth. She planned a fun community fund-raising event – The Queens 5k Romp.

My original plan was to run my first 5k and greet fans afterward. However, due to an eventful trip to Target a couple of months ago I was still wearing a knee brace due to a dislocated patella. Because apparently no one does Target runs like I do.

The Kansas weather was icky, but the turnout was amazing. Imagine a sea of pink tutus and tiaras running down the street. I cheered from the sidelines, signed a few sponsored copies of my new book Mommy Retailing thanks to Armed Forces Insurance. It was such a wonderful event and I was happily reunited with my gorgeous entrepreneur friend Christina. She owns The Set Table and Meriwether’s. Sorry, I inhaled the doughnut before taking a picture. But trust me, it was everything.

Heading back, while waiting in line at security check I overheard a guy complain about how long it was taking the couple with a newborn to get through TSA. He was all: “Why would she travel with so much stuff? What a mess.”

Now, I’ve never braved a business trip with the kids. Where are my parents who know what a rare treat it is to travel without the littles? You get to sail through security with just a carry-on bag and zero fuss. Hearing this guy rudely judge these parents immediately sent me into self-conscious parent mode. I was annoyed for moms like me. Just because we sometimes look like an unorganized mess does not mean that that’s who we are.

Are we judging people based on how they navigate the airport with kids? Is that what we’re doing now? As a parent you always carry “too much stuff” when you travel with the kids, be it, one child or four children, “just in case.” Ooh I was ready to check him. I didn’t, but it got me thinking: What message are we sending to strangers as we travel through random places like the airport?. How do they perceive us? It’s not a life-altering question or anything but out of curiosity- does our distant first impression mirror who we are? For example, I’d know a model or Beyonce walking through the airport because they’d look exactly like you expect them to, unbothered with “stuff” and just the correct hint of “I run this mutha,” right? But what about us normal folks? I’m telling you this guy put me in a panic. Do I project mom vibes or hard-core business woman vibes? Because the truth is, I boss at both.

This entire train of thought thankfully distracted me from rolling my eyes in annoyance at this guy and of course made me miss my kids even more but also thinking more self-consciously about how I project myself in real life, not just on paper and in my business dealings but also how I’m perceived by complete strangers.

I didn’t say anything in defense of that poor mom, mainly because his wife didn’t check him. I did get stuck on that incident. It’s not possible to always project who I am. Whether I’m traveling solo on a business trip (in 2 weeks to NY & DC), with my husband (in 1 week to New Orleans, again no kids) or with all the kids (like we just did when we relocated back to the United States with SO MUCH STUFF). I KNOW it’s silly and unlikely, but if any of you ever run into me slowing you down at the airport, looking a mess with “too much stuff” this is what I want you to know about me, regardless of what you see:

I’m momma to three kids, two girls and a boy who have taught me to enjoy the little moments because they go by so quickly. I’m wife to a wonderful man who serves his country and his family every day in every way. I dream really big, audacious dreams and I work really hard to make those dreams come true, in the most stylish way with all the southern charm I possess. I wake up with a daily mission to pay it forward for a living and I do that by inspiring moms to use their passions, interests, experience and training to start a retail business. I show them exactly how I did it! I am Lakesha Cole, author, activist, podcaster, retail coach and indie shop owner.

And I’m sorry I have so much stuff!

Your turn, who are YOU?

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