I’m a feminist, at least I like to think I am. I love so much about being a woman, and some of the strongest people I’ve admired in my life have been women. But some of the most exhausted people I’ve known in my life have been women.
Mothers, specifically. We are underpaid and underappreciated. Overqualified, and overly nice. Society preaches to us we can have it all if we want it. Right? Of course, the world is ours for the taking.
But at what cost?
oh, just our sanity.
It’s not that I don’t think a woman can have it all. I think she most certainly can. I just don’t want to be that woman; I’m not sure most women do. And why does society put pressure on women specifically to have it all? Last time I checked, my husband doesn't feel those same pressures.
The woman who “does it all” and “has it all” is a woman who seems tired and superficial, like a shell of herself. And what does it even mean to have it all? Our hypothetical woman may make a great salary, be an attentive mother, and have spit-shined floors, but when does she make time for herself?
My whole life I was encouraged to work hard and get a strong education, and I did. I went to law school, passed the bar, and checked off all the boxes. I got married and several months later, was happily pregnant. I had this vision of myself being the perfect suburban mom in the evenings and on the weekend (think park picnics on Saturday, and meal prep on Sunday). But I would be a force in the courtroom, Monday through Friday (45 billable hours). It would be hard, but definitely doable.
Fast forward 2 years, and I’m scrambling. Scrambling for diapers and wipes, scrambling to maintain relationships, scrambling for me time. The thought of going back to work scares me to death. And honestly it took me years, not months, to figure out how to juggle life and self care as a stay at home mother. I’m still not completely sure how to do it.
But, it’s not just me. Women more than ever are feeling pressured to do and be it all: Bring home the bacon, and fry it too.
We are living in this strange era bookended by the ironing board of June Cleaver and the bare ass of Lena Dunham. As a result, our heads are left spinning. We are trying so hard to prove that we can make partner at the firm and have a stellar sex life, all while we maintain a clean home, with a stocked kitchen, and a happy family.
Oh and not to mention the pressure we put on ourselves to be fit and beautiful (skinny).
I’m calling BS on it all. Do you know what happens -in my opinion- when women try to do all these things? We lose. We lose our minds, we lose touch with reality, and we lose precious time. Society wins.
We compete with other women on social media who are thinner, craftier, and have much better jobs. We start waking up an hour earlier, not to catch the news and drink the (needed) coffee, but to do more laundry or boost billable hours. Spreading one's self too thin is a dangerous game, and so many women play it. One day before long, this do-it-all mom will be pulled off on the edge of the interstate crying hysterically to a sad Sara Bareillis song.
I don't want to be that mom. I have come to terms with the fact that I’m never going to have it all, at least not all at once. And it’s a liberating feeling. This season in my life I choose to spend time doing the things that directly correlate with the happiness of myself and my family. That's it.
There is power in choice.
I choose to simplify my life, using whatever means necessary, so I can feel adequate enough as a mother, wife, and- most importantly- person. Screw trying to show other people how multifaceted I am. I choose to simplify and focus. Simplify and focus. I fear we lose sight of the really cool things in life when we are busy trying look like we have it all.
It’s ok if your arms carry a little extra flab because you've been too busy for Pure Barre.
It's ok if you fed your kid tater tots for the third dinner in a row.
It's ok if you feel frumpy in your flats, but you just can't walk to work in heels since you had a baby.
It's ok if your kid's birthday party doesn't look like something off of Pinterest.
It's ok if it doesn't look like you have it all.
You don't, and you are in good company. None of us really have our shit together: not even the mom on Instagram who fixed her toddler homemade enchiladas for dinner last night, and posted a motivational workout quote while you stuffed your face with a muffin on Monday morning.
You aren't that woman, and you don't have to be.
My advice is this: elevate your happiness as a priority. You are a mother, and a co-worker, and a friend. But first and foremost, you are a human being. And on those days when you feel like your head is spinning and you can’t keep up with all that’s expected of you as a woman and mom, take a load off wonder woman. And go eat yourself a piece of chocolate.