The other day someone posted a link to an article on the Harvard Business Review about the problem with stereotyping successful female leaders. The article suggests that in trying to encourage women in leadership positions we establish completely unobtainable goals and expectations. It also points out that programs that point to traditional problems in the workplace for women leaders tend to focus on women needing help or being weak. As I thought about this article, I felt validated. I am a women leader at my work. I manage a large and influential team. And I work my fingers to the high tech bone getting shit done on a daily basis. I have a hard time asking for help, I have a hard time accepting that I can't keep all of my balls in the air at any given time. When I have to let things go, frequently they are the things that I should be doing for me. Or cleaning my house and folding the laundry, but really that's a chronic condition so I don't count those...much.
The more I thought about it, I think we do this as moms too. We set these unrealistic picture-perfect goals for ourselves. We will be nurturing, supportive and loving. We will prepare healthy, organic meals that will always be both perfectly balanced and delicious. We will create a home that is safe, clean and stimulating. All of the toys we choose will be educational. We will dress them in smart outfits that are always clean and in good repair. We will make family moments that will translate into wonderful memories. We will be good communicators, smart, funny, sympathetic never surly or snippish. We will always model the behavior we want them to emulate. We will have healthy relationships with our partners, with our families and with ourselves because this is important and will allow them to have a healthy self esteem. We will be available and involved in their lives but never become helicopter parents who over protect and smother. On a personal level we will be stylishly put together and physically fit. We will be well read and up to date on all of the current thought on parenting and child development. And though these are all good goals, we are incapable of accepting that this laundry list of good ideas my not actually be achievable and sustainable on an ongoing basis.
We need to accept that we can be damn good moms who occasionally yell. Or exceptional parents who have a messy house that only gets cleaned when company is on the way. Hell, we can even be imperfect parents who need a vacation from being parents to keep our sanity intact. And yet we labor under the misconception that it is all or nothing. We have a hard time accepting that what success looks like for me may not look anything like these spiffy SuperMoms we think we should be. Or at least I struggle with this. Maybe it's just me. I don't know. What I do know is that I love my kids, my husband and my family. I love my job. Most days I love my life. Sure I'd love my house to be a sparkling clean, yet utterly livable showplace. I'd love to be able to get and stay in shape. I'd love to not be mostly exhausted all the time, but I don't really know how to get there. I'm going to let myself believe that accepting that I have a problem, this SuperWoman syndrome, is the first step in the right direction. That and a glass of wine. Won't you join me, after all we are both mere mortals, right?
Pasta ala Fridge
5 years ago