This past Sunday was International Women's Day and I have to say that for all the envious glances I give the male gender, the ability to let things go and not over analyze tops the list, I am thrilled to be a woman. I am also amazed by the women who I have in my life. Some are close friends, some best friends, some Facebook connections and some just lucky to have met through one of the latter. They range in ages, ethnicities, religions or lack thereof, they are like me and total opposites in terms of everything from careers to politics. They are all passionate, beautiful, sexy and embrace their femaleness with abandon. I love to hear their point of view and their advice is always heartfelt.
I recently read "Lean In" and through it all I was awed by her success and drive, annoyed by her long list of multitasking feats, bit envious of what appears to be perfect hair, and at times feeling bit short on my own less than perfect life. I then read an article in the Washington Post about a very successful foreign policy woman who is getting tired of leaning in. She makes some great points that we don't have to excel at everything or even attempt to but rather to take a moment to enjoy our accomplishments.
We, my friends and I, have set the bar really high for ourselves. We want to be the mother who makes most school events, succeeds and asks for no or very few special extensions at work, chef who could kick ass on Chopped, be in shape, be fashionable, be interesting, have time for ourselves, keep a Martha Stewart worthy house ...all of that is impossible, parts of it at any given time doable. We are tough critics of one another too often and we take that high bar we set and beat ourselves over the head, without messing up hair of course, if we aren't leaning in. Well sometimes I feel like the Tower of Pisa, strong, sustainable, nice architecture if a bit round ..leaning over with all that I expect of myself. I look at those amazing friends and see the entrepreneur who is living in Dubai, launching her cool app Diggity while raising 3 small children and a life abroad, I see my friend who is a high achieving exec at a fast paced company running her side Hampton Paper Designs business while being a Hockey mom and raising a high performing 2nd child. There are the moms who gave up work outside the home careers who do make all the PTA and other school functions and spend time and the gym also looking more like an ad for flippy hair and good arms. There are the two moms in my town who take care of their young children while running local political offices.
They all seem to lean in but I am pretty sure they too have had the moments of feeling like they may topple over. We are strong for the friendships we have with one another, for the times those same moms without hesitation have picked up my children from the nurses office or took them to an event that I couldn't get out of work for. We are better for sharing advice and laughter, and wine did I mention wine?, and reminding each other that all these authors are us and not but we do not have to be them.
I want to applaud all women and to remember that women's lib doesn't mean you have to (fill in the blank) but that you are entitled to the opportunity. Women's liberation is about acceptance of our strengths and forgiveness of our foibles. Women's liberation...lean in, lean over and shake that groove thing.
"You make me feel...you make me feel...you make me feel like a natural woman ...woman" Carole Kimg