Friday, July 2, 2010

The Successful Woman??

A friend I know was commenting the other day on how much she wanted to be like a mutual friend who went to school, worked, and raised her children all at the same time. She thought that was so cool to be able to "do it all." Another woman I know is currently working a high stress job, starting her own additional business, teaching college classes, and raising her kids. When she talked to me about it, she said she was doing it all to have a nice retirement in the end.

Now I will probably offend some by saying this, but this is what a blog is for, right? To give my opinions? So here goes. As much as we like to think these two examples are the women we want to be, why are we trying to be like this? Aren't we overworking ourselves, compromising our health, our happiness, and our families?

More importantly, in my opinion, who says that this is the definition of "doing it all?" For me, this meant working and taking care of my daughter. I was not taking care of myself, my marriage, my home, and my beloved pets. Even my car suffered with the lack of oil changes and tire rotations because I just didn't have the time. This is not doing it all. This is doing the bare minimum to keep my head above water so that I can bring home a supplemental income. This is what I went to college for and got my Master's degree for. This is what was expected of me.

I think what got to me most in the two examples I gave was that these two women who were doing it all were lacking one major success: their contentment. I know them personally. The first woman has a roommate for a husband and two grown kids who are unable to support themselves financially. The second woman is unhappy and lonely, but adds on other projects to fill a void that she doesn't know is there. On the flip side, I know many many women who should be in the workforce and they are better moms because of it. I have a friend who would probably be at home depressed eating bon-bons if she wasn't working, and that is not good for her child!

Now a-days for me personally, I feel that "doing it all" means to improve my wellness in all forms, spiritually, physically, and mentally. It means to give my husband the time he deserves with the woman he chose to spend the rest of his life with. It means to make sure my daughter gets all my love that I can possibly give, even at the end of the day when we are both tired. And the same goes to my pets as well. I adopted them for a reason, and that wasn't to just sit around a house bored and lonely all day. This is what doing it all means to me.

Every woman is different, isn't that what we teach? So why are we all trying to be the same? So I say, enjoy your life as you are right now, not when retirement comes. Enjoy your children while you can and spend time with them, because that alone can mean success or failure in their adult lives. Whether you are working outside or inside the home, it doesn't matter. Success and "doing it all" depend only on your perspective!

1 comment:

Abby said...

I love your thoughts here, Christie. I've been thinking a lot about whether or not I'm being "successful" lately. Money is so tight; we are struggling to pay off debt and making plans to bring home baby #3. I wonder if I'm doing what is best for our family. Then I think that I wouldn't have it any other way. My sons and husband need me. What I do at home is worth more than any annual salary. Sometimes I struggle to make enough time for myself and I admit there are days when I feel like I just can't do it anymore. Those are the times when I put everything down and let one of the boys curl up in my lap for a snuggle, and maybe a good cathartic cry. That always helps me find my center and focus again and remember what is truly important. Nothing I will ever do is as important as what I'm doing right now: loving, nurturing, and caring for my kids. That's worth every financial and material sacrifice.

Sending so much love to you, Laina, and Lou. Hope we can work it out to see you soon.