“Don’t be fooled. You’re not in competition with other women.” – Tina Fey
So, this post is something I’ve been thinking about for a while and I want to say I’m writing with caution and hope not to offend anyone.
Before I got pregnant, I felt like I was repeatedly given one message: My life was unfilled because I didn’t have kids. I was missing out because I didn’t have kids. I’ll want children one day … ‘they’ all assured me.
But I didn’t. And quite honestly, as I read articles about the misery of parenting (apparently it’s the new vogue to complain about motherhood) and saw updates and posts about how hard it was to be a mom, I was further grounded in my expectation that pugs and mastiffs would be my only children.
But, we all know where this is going … I got knocked up.
Me. The spouse. One night. A look in his eye … timing, right?
First, the mom-parts of me blossomed, then the baby arrived, the nights got long, and the diapers piled up. I started to empathize with the articles and stories I’d read. It is hard! But so fulfilling … I get it! They’ve been right all along!
But, are they?
Of course meeting my tiny man has resulted in the happiest and most fulfilling moments of my life. And sure, some of those moments have been the hardest and most challenging. But I have to wonder, could I have not achieved fulfillment in any other way? And are my struggles so unique … can I even truly define them as struggles?
The other night, I spent time with an amazing group of women. And I was reminded that happiness and success come from many different sources. It doesn’t matter if working hard and achieving professional success is important to you. Or if crossing that first finish line is the ultimate goal. Or if being in a situation that allows you to spend every day with your children is your highest priority.
As women, it’s hard enough to accept ourselves. We shouldn’t help cultivate a society that doesn’t accept us. Do we really need to point out areas we’re failing to each other? Do we really need to say that one lifestyle choice is better, or more demanding, or more fulfilling than another? Can we really comment on what makes someone else happy?
There are a lot of dreams out there. A LOT. I only wish I could have the capacity to understand the wants and needs of everyone … or maybe not. It’s hard enough keeping up with my own wants and needs.
I think what I’m trying to say is that each woman is different. And we’re all AMAZING.
Some of us are single, some of us are married. Some of us have kids, some of us choose not to have children. Some of us are working moms and some of us are stay-at-home moms (and, increasingly, some are work-at-home-stay-at-home-moms). Some like cats, others prefer dogs.
We all have hearts, feelings, and hopes and whether or not we fit into a cookie-cutter lifestyle, we need to support each other. Instead of justifying our own choices by looking down on others or making wide assumptions about other lifestyles, we should be learning from each other and supporting other women to succeed in all the ways we can.
Don’t be fooled. You are not in competition with other women. Let’s support each other and celebrate our differences.