I find that as a Mom, and as a woman who works on a freelance basis… I am consistently questioning myself on both fronts. The above quote says it all… in other words, “work harder”.
The “supermom” (actually superWOMAN) moniker seems to spring up in prominence at various times in our culture… with it’s big gold gleaming winged S… implying goddess like powers… enabling the bearer (of children) to fly through her day with the greatest of ease and look absolutely fabulous while doing it.
… kind of like Beyonce.
Don’t get me wrong… I Luuuuurve me some Beyonce… but the idolization of her work ethic sends the wrong message. Yes… we have the same amount of hours in the day as Beyonce… but do we have a private chef, a nanny (maybe more than one?), an assistant, a maid, a driver, a personal stylist, etc. etc.?
This tug-of-war between mom and “self” (working, or not) is age old but consistently controversial. Gwyneth Paltrow (fascinatingly polarizing) inserted foot in mouth with her recent comments on the “regular” working mom vs. her unique version of mommy hood. It sparked a thousand comments and responses, many of them vitriolic and emotionally charged. I will let you be the judge… actually, don’t judge… I will let you DIGEST what she said on your own… but the bottom line is that the pressure to feel adequate at whatever we are doing (especially as mommies) is a nasty little bugger that draws unnecessary comparison.
This theme (or meme) knocks us over the head each and every time we tune into our social media (I saw the above Beyonce quote emerge over and over and over again these past few months). If you run a blog, like I do, it’s an inevitable part of the job. You post… and then you blast to your Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, etc. You read what others are doing… and “they” SEEM to be doing it ALL… again, while looking absolutely fabulous.
I can’t really make an honest comment on Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, as I’ve only read a few excerpts, but HOT DAMN… she is almost as polarizing as Ms. Goop herself. If you really want to have some fun, read Rosa Brooks’ response in the Washington Post, Recline, don’t Lean In (Why I Hate Sheryl Sandberg), and then look at the commotion she causes (in the comment section).
Whether it’s personal or political, what seems to be happening, is that women are continuously trying to defend how they parent, work, and ultimately do both… to the best of their ability (for the sake of this essay I am sticking with the female genre, although I know the dads out there are in the discussion too!).
So does the root of all of this super charged emotion really just boil down to comparison? Where do we really cultivate our attitudes of adequacy vs. inadequacy? What works for some, may not work for others, but that should be okay. Should this still be a discussion? Yes… a proactive one. A war? Absolutely not.
I actually “sat” on this post for a whole week, deciding whether or not to write it… chiding myself for the spurts of inadequacy I sometimes feel.
… but it seems that others feel the same way too.
These past couple of weeks I ran across some posts that show a similar sentiment (from some very successful mommy entrepreneurs).
Erin, the owner and designer behind Candy Kirby Designs, recently posted on her Instagram:
Erin… if it makes you feel any better, I lost three followers while writing this post 😉 .
And the mom trying to balance it all? That’s exactly what I’m talking about. How do we “do” day to day without feeling we have somehow failed at something… because it is impossible to get it ALL done (especially while looking at perfectly curated Instagram feeds)?!
Trina, from La La Lovely Blog also recently posted:
I’d love to know too Erin!
How do we consistently stay in the moment and congratulate ourselves on each day’s (no matter how small they may seem) successes?
Since having baby number two in January, and my 3 year old out of school for the summer, this is essential for me to master!
Susan, from Freshly Picked, advises well:
Thank you Susan!
Celebrate the heck out of everything you do, and for fuck’s sake (excuse my french)… stop comparing yourself to anyone (especially on social media).
In the past few weeks (while my son has been out of school), I have only managed three blog posts (GAH… it KILLS me!), but what I have managed to do is to secure a spot as a contributor to a major online design magazine, be a part of a huge brand photo shoot, watch my three year old hold the door open for me without prompting (and call himself a gentleman), witness my daughter’s first giggles, and keep my house in a general state of cleanliness and order, with a workout or two thrown in for good measure.
I still have a list forty bullet points long, and on some days I have to put it aside to just be absolutely one hundred percent present for my kiddos… but I just HAVE to be okay with that (and celebrate it too!). Would Sheryl Sandberg be okay with that? I’m not sure. My good friend Troy (from Simply Troy) is working on getting Sheryl to Alt Summit 2015… go for it Troy… I’d love to ask her some questions 😉 .
In the meantime, I’m just going to stop any comparisons (where the real problem lies for me)… neither lean in, nor recline… but stand somewhere in the middle, straight and tall and proud and “do me” the best that I can do.