Growing up a female in the wake of the 60’s and 70’s feminist revolution young girls were taught that they could do anything and everything.
We could have whatever job we wanted.
We could raise our children.
We could be the perfect wife.
We could have a perfect home with a white picket fence with a garden and a dog.
We could do anything a man can do, including going to war.
We could be Evil Knievel when we grew up (I seriously wanted this before the writing bug hit me).
We could have it ALL!
I’m not saying that this is impossible because I am sitting here on the other side of raising my children having done a fairly OK job at it. I know women that have done it almost flawlessly and I am not so secretly jealous of them. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with wanting or doing these things either. What I’m saying is that although it IS possible, it’s freaking HARD!
Whether you want to admit it or not, there has been societal collateral damage because of this shift. We do not live in Mayfield, having weekend get-togethers with the Cleavers anymore. Life these days consist of running and not necessarily in the good, healthy, get-some-air-in-your lungs way. We’re running off to work, dance class, little league practice, wrestling camp, middle school dances, birthday parties, youth group, grocery shopping, oil changes, and dog groomers. We’re having family game night and helping to make 4 foot paper-mache topographical maps of Afghanistan for History class. We are doing laundry and making dinner. We are doing it all and in record time, but at what cost?
I crossed the finish line barely breathing. I hear all the time how female friends are feeling overwhelmed and drowning in life because of the need to feel like they can handle all of this and still stick the landing.
Let’s just put it out there now: You can’t and you don’t need to.
Dress up like Supergirl for Halloween if you want, but don’t go dragging that cape around with you every day trying to be her. Let life be messy sometimes. Say no. Don’t do the dishes before bed. Let the kids figure out how to wash their own favorite shirt that they forgot to put in the laundry and if it turns pink or shrinks, it really isn’t the end of the world. Don’t always be the parent making rainbow sprinkle cupcakes for the bake sale tomorrow (that you just found out about five minutes before bedtime). Toss that cape in the back of the closet and only take it out for special occasions.
We grew up in the aftermath of feminism and I know that there are so many positive results of this, but there is one casualty that we rarely allow ourselves to express or talk about. Many women feel that they have to do it all or they feel like a failure, they feel weak, they feel like they’ve let themselves down when in reality we are freaking rock stars! At the end of the day when the kids are in bed and we have our feet kicked up on the couch, drinking wine, and eating Oreo’s while watching the Biggest Loser on DVR we are thinking about ALL of the things that didn’t get done that day. We are replaying the stuff in our heads that we feel like we screwed up and we are running through that list of crap that has to get done tomorrow, and the next day, and the next….. We beat the hell out of ourselves. Meanwhile the kids are falling asleep with happy visions of soccer games and ballet classes and birthday parties in their head and the husband or boyfriend (or in my case the dog) is at our feet glad to be sitting with you and silently wishing you’d just change the channel. They aren’t hard on us so why are we?
Stop beating yourself up and let yourself be human.
Stop believing you are the only one not making it. The ones that are making it look perfect on TV or Facebook or Instagram are either photoshopped or staged. The chick down the street that looks like she has it all together is crying quietly in her bathroom every morning. Perfection isn’t real.
It’s OK to ask for help.
It’s OK to say no.
It’s OK to need a break.
It’s OK to not be perfect.
This is a lesson I wish I had learned earlier in life. You don’t need to save the world.
Save yourselves, my friends. ❤