Back when I was in high school (and before blogs and the Internet), I preferred buying men's magazines like Esquire and GQ over Cosmo or Elle. I'd feel icky sometimes because I hated how men's mags sounded about women (like we were possessions or something) but on the whole, the tone of a man's mag vs. a woman's mag went like this:
Man's Mag: You're cool, bro. Really cool. Here's how you can even be cooler.
Women's Mag: Oh my God, girl, you're really slacking! Is that what passes for an organized room? Do you really think you treat your best friend right? Ew, don't eat that! And why aren't you concerned about your cuticles?! All the big Hollywood stars have perfect cuticles; you should too!
I preferred reading men's magazines because they assumed that the reader liked who they are, and the magazine did, too. Most women's mags go for a tedious, continuous improvement (wow, how Kaizen, very Japanese!) tone. "You're not enough," is the message. "If you think you are, somethings wrong with you." And underpinning that is guilt, and lots of it.
And then you have kids and BOOM! The Guilt Bomb just explodes and rains on everyone's parade. I'm not going into the specifics of staying at home vs being a working mom and all that. Suffice to say that I'm guilty of being, well, guilty. Of choosing to sleep in instead of cleaning the house on Saturday morning. Of not being able to do all the off-the-clock projects that I want to do. Of needing sleep so much, good gracious; if only I lived on 3 hours of sleep I would be able to do SO MUCH!
Today I came across this post, On working mothers and missed opportunities, from one of my favorite mommy bloggers, Mom-101. It really struck a chord with me, and if you're one of those harried moms who feels guilty for not "doing it all," I urge you to read it. This was my favorite part:
We trade doctors appointments for the day of the big meeting. We give up the excellent projects because it falls the same time as the family vacation. Successful working women do not get there without sacrifice. Some of us may do a lot. And some may make it look easy. But no one does it all. And that’s maybe not what we should be aiming for anyway."No one does it all." Somehow, knowing that, and knowing that there are others like me out there, moms who struggle with wanting to do it all, made me feel better. Because we don't *have* to do it all. And we don't have to feel guilty if we don't want to.
So let's not! Let's give each other a break. Let's pat each other's backs and forgive each other for not having perfect cuticles or a six-pack or a special charity at which we volunteer every Thursday or cloth-diaper our kids. Let's be nice and maybe we can all stop feeling guilty.