There are days when I feel so overwhelmed. A bit like how Courtney described. I was at our son’s karate class in a lobby full of parents and children when my husband called and asked, “How are ya doin’?” In a blink of an eye, I darted out of the lobby as fast as my feet could carry me. I couldn’t hold it in any longer and I knew I was about to burst into tears and sure enough I ended up ranting through sobs on my cell phone. There I stood outside the door, in the alley, with tears streaming down my face. Then today I read about Courtney’s dilemma. She said,
“October came and I had energy to spend. I was superwoman and I did it all. Insanity workouts, photo sessions, processing my photos, blogging, graduate school, working full-time, and being a dedicated wife and mom. I kept the housework up, and man, I could do it all. I survived on 5 hours ‘of’ sleep or less and nothing could push me down.
Then, November hit, and bam! The superhero fell from the sky and landed face down in a pile of deadlines, emails, orders, give-aways, holidays, face rashes, and illnesses in the family. I was overwhelmed and wanted to quit everything in order to curl up into a hole.”
But she didn’t.
And I didn’t. Even though I wanted to. Reading what Courtney has been going through really hit me today.
I was so frustrated and felt like everything was crashing down around me. Standing in that alley, I felt like being a stay-at-home mom didn’t feel so ‘stay-at-home-sish’. I work part of the time for Pix-O-Sphere and part of the time on my husband’s construction business, on top of which I homeschool our children and then, I have my budding ministry of speaking at churches. Somewhere in the middle of all this is, our home. Home-keeping is so much easier when you’re not multi-tasking business, ministry, kids’ activities, and so much more! After reading about Courtney’s busy life I feel like I have nothing to complain about.
But I still felt overwhelmed. Just before Thanksgiving, I was ready to give up some things. You know what I wanted to ditch first? Homemaking! However, just in time for the four day turkey weekend and Black Friday ordeal, I got a delivery. It was ‘A Year of Biblical Womanhood’ by Rachel Held Evans. She’s been highly criticized as mocking homemakers, but I’ve read her blog for long enough to know that can’t be true. I was curious what conclusions she was coming to while she conducted her experiment of living ‘biblical’ (to the extreme) for one full year.
Please be patient with me, I know I’m all over the place today.
While I stood outside in the cold, ranting on the phone to my husband, my melt down turned into frustrated anger and I blurted out,
“I feel like I’m a fake. Everything I write about, I fully believe, but my life doesn’t seem to match up. I mean, I believe what I say, but my actions make me think otherwise. How do people succeed? Do they feel like failures, but push through in spite of it all? I feel like I can’t keep up with everything!”
To which my husband gave me a resounding, “YES! That’s exactly it!”
He continued to give me a pep talk to encourage me and I could finally breathe, my heart rate decreasing, I dried my tears with my sleeve.
What myself, Courtney, and Rachel all have in common is a heart for people, home, and family. We love to write, want to succeed, and enjoy life.
Really, .. we all have a home to care for. Whether a woman works out of the home or in the home, it’s all work and we all face similar hurdles in life to make it all work.
Rachel’s book actually inspired me to continue working at being a homemaker, but even if I hired someone to come help with house hold work it doesn’t lower my worth as a wife or mom. Sometimes asking or hiring help is the best thing a woman can do to keep her sanity. Thankfully I have 3 daughters who want to earn some extra cash and they know where everything in the house belongs. They know my routine and although it is mainly my responsibility, it teaches them more responsibility and gives them some pride in earning money.
Gosh, I probably still sound like a nut case, but I promise I have a point to make.
We all juggle things in life and sometimes what we need is support from other women. We need to know that we’re not alone. We need to hear from one another: “We all have days when we find ourselves ranting on a phone with tears streaming down our faces.” We need to get away from bashing, comparing, and belittling women who do things differently.
Which is precisely the point Rachel made in her book.
- Being a stay-at-home woman isn’t a plush life where we sit on our duffs and eat ice cream all day.
- Being a work-outside-the-home woman isn’t escaping home life to selfishly pursue a career.
These are two extremes some women find themselves believing.
Many women gather themselves with other women in similar situations to garner support, but sometimes it turns into two camps that are wildly opposed to the other. The same thing happens in faith communities. In an effort to provide support, many women are pushed away if they don’t ascribe to a specific way of life. I don’t find this to be supportive, in fact I think it’s counterproductive. There’s always going to be some women who feel stuck right in the middle of both camps. They don’t exactly ‘qualify’ to be in one or the other. Does it matter if one family adopts and another doesn’t? Does it really matter if one family is a dutiful church member and another lives an organic church life? Does it really matter if one uses the latest modern cleaning supplies and another is a devout hand-made-cleaners type of gal?
Can’t we just support one another because we’re a sisterhood of women regardless of how many hours one works inside or outside the home?
Can we be supportive no matter what faith community we identify with?
Can we show public support of each other by commenting on a blog or replying kindly on Twitter?
What I’ve found is no matter how inclusive I try to be, most people really want to be on one side or the other. Human nature likes neatly defined boxes and insular communities.
Who would’ve thought that being inclusive would make a woman feel so isolated and alone?
Can’t we just drop the school girl drama?
“I can’t be a part of supporting you because I don’t believe in x, y, z, etc!”
Ya, that’s the kind of mentality that drives wedges in relationships and leaves a lot of women standing in a cold dark alley crying her eyes out.
Seriously, collaboration is the key to success. Sometimes the best success comes to those who can allow their differences to be a uniqueness and not a wedge. Sometimes the greatest leaders are the ones who can learn to collaborate while being unique. There’s no need to coerce people into conforming in order to be supportive to one another. It’s a travesty when women refuse to extend friendship out of fear of what others would think.
Powerful women don’t become truly successful with a bunch of yes-women who do the bidding of one leader.
Truly powerful leaders and their visions are built (and succeed) due to the hard work and open minds of women who pull their uniqueness together in order to support one another in life.
We each have a vision, whether it be focused on the home or in an out-of-the-home career. My desire is to see women be able to support one another in both areas so we can build a better future for our children (both daughters and sons). We don’t have to worry about competing with each other when we can truly see the vision of humanity being supportive of each other, especially the sisterhood of women.
- They say the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.
- Some faith leaders say the woman is the ‘holy spirit of the home’.
So what kind of future do we want to see for our children and future generations? A divided one or a unified one?
Sisters, we live in an era of female leaders and we’re just at the beginning of establishing equality among the genders. We can vote, own businesses, hold political offices, and teach theology, but we still have a way to go. Lets not fall apart by dividing against one another. We need to stand united. This isn’t about pushing men away and taking over the world (insert maniacal laugh), no…not at all. But it is about bringing unity to the communities we love and serve.
Sometimes it’s difficult to find this kind of support in person and so we turn to the online community. Sadly, we see more of the same kind of division.
But we don’t have to let it stay that way!
It’s time we put our heads and hearts together.
We’re a sisterhood of women and it’s time we start acting like it.
On Monday, December 10th, I’m going to start the Monday Meet and Greet to encourage you all to get to know each other. This is just the beginning of a grass roots movement of women who want to support each other and see each other succeed. My Monday series is a foundational effort to get focused on collaborating with each other, because what is coming after this series is a much larger vision that I’m excited to include you in.
Here’s how you can get started.
1. Subscribe by email so you’ll get the updates. Comment on this post to show your support for women.
2. Join me on Facebook for more opportunities to get connected with other women. Comment on the page and leave your blog URL for us!
3. Follow me on Twitter and tweet me a message that you want to be included. I’ll add you to our list!
The only reason someone wouldn’t be included is because they choose not to be. So don’t be timid about joining us! Just ask!
- We’ll be hearing from other women with a heart to succeed and see you succeed.
- We’ll get to know some amazing life coaches and get you connected with them and their powerful communities.
- We’ll get to know each other’s strengths and lend strength to one another.
- We’ll have Twitter chats!
- We’ll plan meet ups!
- We’ll see each other succeed!