is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. If you ask me, this shouldn't just be one day...a celebration of women's achievements... even if it's getting out of bed in the morning and managing to change from one's flannel night gown to sweats, it should be everyday. I mean let's admit it, women...we do it ALL. We work. We cook. We do laundry and fold and iron. We vacuum. We sing lullabies. We stop our children from having meltdowns over the new Common Core math. We try and exercise regularly. We grocery shop and make sure holidays are sparkly and special. We band aid boo boos, teach life lessons and tuck our little ones into bed like experts. This isn't something that just one woman does. It is what we ALL do.
And yet...women...not all women...but LOTS of women just can't seem celebrate the successes of others. It may be just me, (I doubt it) but I could go to bed each night and list at least 10 examples of asshatery (my new favorite word. Thanks Andrea Lynn and Karen Lynch) foisted on one woman or another by singular or group of other women. They whisper about choices of clothing. They are sure that one is out to get the other. They are jealous of the competence of one and angry with the incompetence of another. They gossip about one mother who talks about her child too much and then can't stand it when they think that another mother talks about herself excessively.
Why? Why do females feel a compelling need to fight and be nasty to their female counterparts? Why? We should be lauding each other, propping each other up. We should be a non judgmental ear when it's needed and a wealth of wisdom when advice is requested. After all, we all know what it's like to be...well...us. Who better to understand what we go through than another woman?
The idea of loving ALL women is a tough one, merely for the reasons that I laid out above. But I think that Glennon Melton author of Carry On Warrior says it best when she said,
" Life is too short and too freaking long to spend it with folks who make you feel bad. Sometimes the only way to love folks is from a distance. STILL LOVE THEM- SURE! From far,far away. Love them from a proverbial sunflower field where you are dancing- safe and free."
So, awhile ago I decided to dance in the sunflower field loving all (some from MILES away) but keeping some close by, because really, no matter what, we need each other ladies. We don't need ALL ladies. Nope. But there are certain women who fulfill certain roles that are absolutely necessary for my life.. In fact, I would say that every woman needs to be sure that she has each type of women listed below. Otherwise, it is my belief, that it would be impossible to continue the rigors of a life as a female.
The Teacher-This woman is typically older than you. She accepts you for who you are and is willing to pass on the wisdom that she has gained over her long life. She knows you well, probably better than anyone else in the world. She is patient with your evolution and is your number one go-to when you need help solving a problem. For some women, this Teacher is their mother. But for others who aren't as lucky to have a mom around or one that is wise and accepting, this woman could be a mother-in-law, a mentor or just someone who sees enough value in you to take on this role. The teacher is essential in our growth as women. Without them, we'd stay stagnant. Without them, women may just continue with the mentality of a teenager. (Shudder!)
The Peer--This woman is someone who works along side of you or has the same career as you. It is this woman with which we complain about the doldrums and ridiculousness of our job. The Peer is someone who thinks like you when it comes to the philosophy you have about your field and will readily help you solve or collaborate on a problem or new project. Most importantly, The Peer will not for one second feel slighted or threatened if you happen to know something that he or she may not know. The Peer, a good one anyways, knows that all people have strengths and weaknesses and sees intelligence as an asset not a liability.
The Safe Softy--This is a woman or women who are nurturing and loving and sweet and understanding. They are the ones who we go to when we are broken or devastated. They are the ones we can sob in front of and know that all they want is to comfort you. There is no judgment, there is no malice, there is no feeling of shame. This past week, I had a broken moment and I luckily walked into a room where there were two Safe Softies. They swooped in, cooed and coddled. They shushed and held my hand. They even cried with me. And although broken, although devastated, there was the warmth that the shelter of these women provided. This category of women is truly a gift. If you have a couple of these, feel very very fortunate, and don't forget to thank them as fiercely as you can for their selflessness. Being vulnerable is risky business. How wonderful is it if you are blessed with women who welcome that vulnerability?
The Unconditionals--Moving? These ladies will be there to help you pack and heft the boxes. Broke your leg? Here they come to clean your house. Need a sitter for a night out? They will be there for as long as you need them. Want to learn to scrapbook? These women will take a class with you or teach you if they happen to know how. The Unconditionals are those women that we can rely upon for all the little things that we may need to keep our lives running smoothly. Typically, they aren't even our closest friends, they just know that responding when needed feels wonderful and will always be reciprocated by the receiver.
The Go-To's--Ah yes, The Go-to's. These are our besties, our female soul mates. We read the same books, we think the same way, we are happy to learn from them and they are happy to learn from us. We can disagree and it will be just fine. Just fine indeed, because our Go-To's know that disagreements don't diminish who you are to them and for them. Your Go-To's know about your saddest days, your biggest mistakes, your greatest fears, but they also know about your greatest successes, your most outrageous dreams, and what makes you happiest. They never waiver through the good and bad and listen intently to both. They cheer us on, kick us in the ass, tell us our outfits are horrible and pick us up when we can't pick ourselves up. Most importantly, The Go-To's are truly happy when something makes us happy and are truly sad when something isn't going our way. There are never too many trials or too many tribulations. When we are with our Go-To's we are most ourselves and never ever feel judged or worry what they are thinking. Go-to's can live close by or be your constant texting companion. They are your simpatico in every way, and our lives would be forever changed if we lost them.
If you are a woman that is lucky enough to have a women in your life that fit these categories, congratulations. However, it is so important to emphasize that even if you just have one or two women in your life, if they fulfill most of the roles above, you are just as fortunate. I spent my life thinking that I had to please everyone...especially all women. But I don't. Neither do you. Where ever you go, you'll meet women that are vacuous and narrow-minded, judgmental and angry. We don't have to hate them, but like Glennon Melton says, we can love them from far far away and dance with the women we're close to in that proverbial sun flower field.
THIS BLOG ISN'T FOR YOU if you are a proud PTA member, or if you live for weekends schlepping children to and from sporting events and friends' houses, or if you feel fulfilled combing bubblegum from pigtails! But, if like me, you occasionally wish that your offspring would disappear, if "Get me out of here!" is your mantra, if you have come to relish the dentist office for its delicious quiet, then you are a Muddled Mother! Read on!
Saturday, March 8, 2014
Thursday, March 6, 2014
A Mother Can Hope
When you were born, I hoped for you to be healthy. I hoped you had 10 fingers and 10 toes. I hoped you weren’t colicky and that someday you and your siblings would be the best of friends.
When you went off to daycare, I hoped that the caretaker would love you as much as I loved you. I hoped that you’d make your first friends. I hoped that you’d learn that even though I left you for a moment, I’d always return.
When you were in Little League, I hoped that you’d learn the art of fair play, of gracious losing, and graceful winning. I hoped that that metal bat would “clang” with the force of your swinging arms and hit it over the fence never to be seen again. I hoped that you’d have self-confidence even though you may have thrown 5 or 6 or 17 balls in a row as pitcher and that you’d be humble if you threw as many strikes.
In school, I hoped for you to have kind and understanding teachers who learned about who you were and what you needed to feel safe. I hoped that reading, writing and arithmetic would come easily and that even if they didn’t, I hoped beyond all hope that you’d understand that that didn’t in any way mean that you weren’t smart, capable and wise. I hoped that you’d realize that fun was necessary but that someday it wouldn’t be the only thing that would get you to where you wanted to be. I hoped, when you were in school, that you’d dream of your future and be inspired to chase it because you deserved a good and wonderful life.
Today...my hopes are less specific but seemingly more urgent.
Now...well now...I hope that you will be good to yourself. Not in the way that satisfies your wants and your physical needs, but in a way that says you care deeply for yourself. I hope that someday, you will see all my meddling, pleading, letter writing, rah-rah texts and refusal to expect anything less than the best for you as love...pure...deep...unconditional love. I hope that you take the chances that are given to you. I hope you see them as the gifts they are and revel in the fact that everyday is a new chance to get it right.
Most of all, I hope you remember. I hope you remember the cuddles, and the hugs, and the kisses. I hope you remember the sick days and the kindnesses you received. I hope you remember the trips and traditions and trials that made us a family. I hope you remember that in your life, you’ve always had someone who wouldn’t waiver when it came to right and wrong no matter what the consequences may have been because you deserved a parent that set boundaries and tolerated nothing less than the world at large would tolerate from you or anyone else. I hope you know how sorry I am for the mistakes I have made while parenting you.
Finally, I hope...oh my dear sweet child...I hope that you know in every essence and fiber of you that no matter how you feel about me, no matter where you are, or what you do...no matter...I will never--ever--stop loving you deeply, thoroughly and completely.
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