There is a beauty magazine that somehow just started showing up in my mailbox. Seriously I never subscribed to it but one day there it was. Usually I just toss it aside because to be honest looking at pictures of half-naked gorgeous 20 something year olds does nothing for my self-esteem. But a lead on the front cover caught my attention and caused me to do exactly what it was intended to do… read on.
The glossy cover had a stunning picture of Blake Lively with a tag line that read: “LIVING HER DREAMS- On 2 Hours and 9 Minutes of Sleep.” After fixing the kids breakfast, doing the dishes, throwing in a load of laundry, answering a few must be answered now work emails and walking the dog; I finally poured myself a cup of coffee, ate the leftover pancakes (mainly so I did not have to bother putting them away) and locked myself in the only room where I can actually get five minutes of peace… the bathroom.
As I started reading about this young woman, I was excited. I mean the piece seemed a ‘little’ contrived as if she was working very hard to come across as just your regular new mom; but she stated that she knew she was lucky to have her “babies” with her while she worked. Of course she also told the story of how she called up her designer friend and asked him to make her tight leather maternity pants because you know, she couldn’t find them anywhere. As you do of course!
Right there in black and white she told us how she understood what it is like to make compromises as a woman and mom. Wow I thought to myself, she knows what it is like to make less than a man even though you do the same job, to feel guilt about working, to just want to hide in the bathroom a little extra longer. I read on eagerly.
Lively commented, “I slept for 2 hours and 9 minutes last night!” Aww I remember those days… wait a minute my kids are 11 and 14 and I still don’t sleep much more than that because you know I am a working mom.
This famous starlet was trying to let us know that she has the same problems as we regular folks do. Lively, who so desperately throughout the piece made sure she was not going to be taken out of content and misquoted and have her words twisted added, “I don’t believe we have to choose- who says so? Who says we can’t do anything that we set our mind to? You may not be the best at it. You may not be the most successful. But you can try your best. That’s what having it all means to me- not letting anyone tell me no but myself.”
In and of its self these words are nice and they do represent exactly how I feel. If my best friend would have said them to me I would have felt inspired. If my business partner gave me this pep talk I would be encouraged. But for some reason reading those words in this beauty magazine filled with articles with tips on how to get a “killer body”, cellulite fighters that actually work and the most successful ways to make your skin look “taunt”… I just could not buy it. Instead of feeling understood I felt incompetent as if my sleeping the 5 sometimes 6 hours of sleep if I am lucky is causing me from having it all. Instead of feeling motivated I felt like tossing my hands up in the air and grabbing a pint of Ben & Jerry’s from the freezer.
I am not mad at Blake Lively; I am sure she is a really nice woman. In fact, I wish her and her baby with their matching leather pants well. Actually I am not mad at anyone. Nope I am disappointed. I’m saddened that in this day in age we are still doing “THIS” to our girls. Sure having aspirations is great and being a working mother can and is wonderful, so is not being a working mother…I am all for choices. But selling our girls the same bull-crap line that our mamas told us, “If you want it bad enough and really work hard you can have it ALL” is not healthy!
I really want my career to take off and I AM working really hard to make that happen; but guess what? I don’t have it all. Something has to give; and yeah sometimes that means my kiddos, my hubby… myself! There are no tight leather pants or clothes designed just for me in my closet either. What I do own is GUILT; lots and lots of it too, in all sorts of different sizes, patterns and shapes. I have guilt because I am not baking for the Teacher’s Appreciation Day breakfast, or that I am not watching a movie with my son who is home from school sick, or that I ordered in pizza again. Okay the kids are perfectly okay and think I am “mom of the year” for the pizza twice in one week part, but they really don’t like the two before that and that certainly doesn’t make me feel like I have it all.
My long drawn out point here is this… there will always be Blake Lively’s in the world and magazines will highlight them because we like to see and read about their glamorous lives. Wanting it all is great; but I think we need to stop once in a while and ask ourselves WHY we are doing something and make sure we aren’t doing it just to show others that we are a good mom or successful woman. Because the truth is there is only one person who can really evaluate our performance of ourselves. OURSELVES!
So kudos to Blake Lively for “Living HER Dreams” and “having it all”; as for me, I may not have the cleanest house, the pizza man knows us by name and even if I could afford them my butt certainly does not belong in any tight designer leather pants… but, I ALMOST have it all, and almost is good enough for me!