Sunday, May 24, 2009

Everything to Everyone

The other day while folding laundry during naptime I turned on the television show, The Doctors. After the episode I was further convicted that turning on the television is an absolute waste of brain cells, even if I was just droning out the silent monotony of folding laundry at 3pm.

The episode featured a professional reality TV star. In addition to making a living on TV, the woman is a model, actor, author, wife, and mother of three; one of whom is blind and disabled. Her hair was long and gorgeous, her nails were manicured, she was thin, fit, and beautiful. All of this was fine and dandy until one of the doctors, a female, made a comment to the effect of "It's so great today that women can do everything. They can have it all...etc."

It got me fuming.

These types of comments are so frequent and politically correct that I think regardless of how we actually feel, it's just used as a conversation filler without really understanding the ideology it is upholding.

Yes, yes, yes, women can do everything, I know, and yes, I believe it. Both men and women can do practically anything they want, and I think that the opportunities are endless, especially in America. My beef is with glorifying women, often celebrities, that have so much on their plate it makes your head spin wondering how they have time to brush their teeth in the morning. Our society has turned the ideal woman into someone who is everything to everyone, a mother who does it all; has perfect hair, a dazzling career, talents beyond the ordinary. A woman who fits into her jeans a week after having a baby, who looks good all the time, and is living a life of adventure, all while making sure to comment that she gets her "me time."

What about me? I stay at home and some days don't shower until noon. Even then, it doesn't guarantee that I'll get dressed out of jammie pants. Ninety-eighty percent of the time my hair is in a ponytail, my shirt is streaked with breastmilk and boogers, and my nails are never polished, let alone manicured. I have interests and talents, but nothing remarkable, and I'm no where near being famed for a book I authored, an exercise video or reality show. Is my life lacking because of it, am I not doing enough, do I not do it all?

What about the mother who gets up at the crack of dawn, gets her kids and herself dressed, fed and in the car, drops kids off at daycare, punches in and out, picks kids up, gets home and has just enough energy to feed, bathe and put her kids to bed before she crashes to do it all again the next day? Is she not doing enough because she doesn't exercise everyday, cook organic from scratch, or read to her children precisely twenty minutes each night?

I going to be pretty bold here and say that yes, women can do everything, but those who are are everything can't be doing any of it very well.

I'm so tired of the Hollywood ideal of motherhood, all with nannies, assistants, and personal trainers, all marketing females in perfect packages of domestic bliss, with no obstacle getting in the way of their figures or aspirations. Meanwhile, there's a mom at work feeling bad because dinner is frozen pizza again, and the mom at home is feeling bad because she's just trying to get through a day without peanut butter in her hair.

Why can't what we're already doing be enough? It feels enough to me, and yet, the praise is always going to someone doing more. I can't change the way the world thinks, but whether at home or working, we're doing enough, even if it means there is little to show for it. We don't have to be everything to everyone, just everything to someone.


Catie said...


Sarah said...


Monica said...

Very well written Mal! I agree 100%