Women. We are pretty fabulous. We birth, we nourish, we nurture, we sacrifice, we juggle, we love, we forgive, we endure. We are complicated and we are fierce. We are gentle and we are sensitive. I love being a woman. It’s not easy, but I love it.
We put so much pressure on ourselves to be the “perfect” woman who has it all, body, mind, and soul. A woman who can manage a thriving career and impeccable children, while being the perfect hostess, friend, wife and volunteer. This woman is a myth, a spectre we hopelessly chase. We judge ourselves and others against unattainable standards that tear us and our fellow women down, instead of building ourselves up.
I can scroll through my news feed on any given day and come across at least four or five articles that champion extreme dieting, as well as articles arguing that only one group of moms, either SAHMS or working moms, have hit the nail on the parenting head. There are the posts that complain about women who wear leggings as pants, bulleted lists of the worst mistakes parents make, and suggestions of how to get “bikini ready” by summer.
My head spins. I like to think that I am a confident woman who is undaunted by the perpetual headlines that diminish my self-worth. The truth is that I have insecurities as any woman has, and that there are many articles that feed my doubts about myself as a mother, daughter, partner, and friend.
It’s just as easy to find affirmation of something you are doing “right” and to make snap judgments about every one else who is doing it “wrong.” I stayed home with my daughter for a year and a half after she was born, and then I went back to work full-time. When I was home with her, I found validation in stories that championed the value of being at home with little ones over going back to work. Yet when I returned to work, it was the posts about children benefitting from having moms with careers that fortified my decision. In each stage of my life, I searched for validation of my choices in other’s words. I read through a defensive lens, rather than through an empathetic one, because I was in denial of the truth. The truth is that I am exactly who God has created me to be. I am exactly where God has placed me, and I am in the exact situation that God has purposefully allowed in my life. This should be all the validation and affirmation of self-worth that I will ever need.
I am enough, You are enough. We as women are enough. We don’t need to justify our parenting choices to each other. We don’t need to apologize for living in yoga pants three hundred and sixty days out of the year. We for sure don’t need to wear shorts and t-shirts over our swim suits because we didn’t invest in waist training. It’s easy to support fellow women who think and live like us, but it’s much more challenging to encourage and uplift those who think differently than us. I tend to think that women though, as fantastic as we are, can rise to any challenge.