Happy International Women’s Day, no wait, it was yesterday. Or the day before? Like many moms, I am a day or two late. Honestly, I forgot. But the sentiment is still the same. Sometimes being a little late, well it’s just a reality that I am dealing with these days.
You are enough, just as you are
This “I can do it all, by myself, with heels on” culture is really hard on women. I have fallen into that trap one too many times and the outcome hasn’t been pretty. Though I agree shattering that glass ceiling is important, so is shattering the idea that all women have to do it all to be successful.
Frankly, we are enough just with who we are; the way God made us. What we choose to do, or not do, doesn’t define us. So, I am proposing that we take a step back and decide from this moment forward to only lift other women up. And if we find ourselves tempted to pull them down, kick off those heels and run the other way.
Normalize asking for help – and stop judging
One thing we need to do: normalize asking for help. Typically, as soon as a woman shares a struggle or asks for help, what do we do? Judge them. Shame them. Gossip.
If a working mom is overwhelmed…the comments start flying.
“She shouldn’t be working.”
“She should be home with her kids.”
“If she wasn’t so selfish she wouldn’t have these problems.”
Or how about the single mom.
“She shouldn’t have had kids without being married.”
“She should have thought about this before she got divorced.”
“It is her own fault.”
Not even the stay at home mom is safe.
“It’s not that hard.”
“She has the whole day to do things.”
“She shouldn’t be complaining. Look how blessed she is.”
“I did just fine when I had kids.”
“She has a degree and she isn’t even using it. What a waste.”
Or the single woman, you don’t get left out either.
“Her career is too important to her.”
“What is wrong with her?”
“Why isn’t she settling down and getting married?”
“She is too picky.”
“Must be full of herself.”
“She will be sorry one day.”
Stop…just…stop. Why? Why do we tear each other down? Why do we look for reasons to gossip? Whatever woman you are, there are struggles in your life, even if on the outside you make it look easy. Whatever woman you are, there are blessings in your life too. It is not our job to decide what other women should or should not be doing when it comes to motherhood and careers. We do not know the whole story and frankly, it is not any of our business.
We don’t have to “do it all”
As women, in this world we often have to work an awful lot harder for respect. We have to work harder to prove ourselves. And society has created an ideal for us that we can never live up to.
Our culture has tried to define us. It makes us think we have to have it all. We have to do it all. We have to be it all. And we need to look damn good while doing it. And when we can’t, we feel terrible about ourselves. We feel like failures. But, it is just not possible without losing our sanity.
We are going to have bad days, bad weeks, maybe even bad years. It is okay to have struggles. Being able to ask for help is vital. When we do, we need support, especially from other women.
What if right now we all decided to make a change? A change to truly support each other. Allowing women to ask for help without fear of being judged.
I know for so long I thought I had to do it all and all on my own. I thought asking for help was weak. “These are my children. This is my home. I need to take care of it.” I have 3 kids, work full-time and my husband travels off and on for work. And though I turned in my heels for flats a long time ago, it is still hard. Some days I feel great and my world is all in sync and others I feel like I am drowning and no one even sees me.
Maybe you did it with more kids and were walking them to school, uphill, both ways, in the snow. But, what one woman can handle fine, another can’t. It doesn’t make one better or stronger than the other; it means we are different people. If we all took the time to lift up each other, provide love and support, the load of life would be easier. Women would get farther.
The dialogue needs to change. Let’s be the women who serve one another, love one another, support one another. The culture won’t change overnight. But make no mistake, women are powerful. If we choose to change the culture, we can and we will.
It starts with those of us who are brave enough to take the criticism and admit our struggles; sharing our weaknesses, knowing that there may be a lot of unkind words that follow. Being real and honest is the first step. Ask for help and be okay with doing so.
Women need to be willing to help out other women in need when we can. Women are not in completion. We need to stop the gossip and change the rhetoric. If enough of us change our mindset and behavior, others will follow. We will be unstoppable.
As I attempt to continue to do all that I do, I will continue to be real, open and honest about the struggles of being a working mom.
So join me in lifting up women and catching them when they fall; all without judgement.
Here’s to all women: you are strong, you are beautiful, you are seen.