The last few days have left me somewhat in a spin. Things are moving so quickly for me with my career (and in several ways) that I’ve found myself dragging my feet. I didn’t know why exactly, but after some great talks, I figured out I am still afraid of success. I’ve worked on the fear of ‘telling on abusers’ for many months now, so concern over that–while still present–isn’t at the top of my worry list. What is, however, is something I didn’t anticipate.
I was raised that women who have careers, abandon their kids.
This notion was ingrained into me so young that I didn’t even know it was present until last night. I kept feeling like my husband didn’t want me to be successful, despite his trying to show me he does want that. I kept feeling guilty, like I was doing something wrong. Yet I hadn’t connected the dots.
Part of what helped me connect the dots was the movie The Intern. It was a great movie that illustrated just how difficult it still is for women to be accepted as entrepreneurs, wives, and mothers when these things are combined. In the movie, the main character is running this fantastic company she started and grew from the ground up, and she’s trying to make time for her husband and daughter and her on a personal level. She’s getting almost no sleep. And all the way through people keep trying to get her to hand over control to a CEO. All of which happened to be men.
In the end, she ends up cheated on and *almost* handing over the company, but decides not to. Her decision is supported by her intern and husband (after he pleads for forgiveness), but she still had to endure all of that doubt and questioning.
This got me thinking. Even though this was very much the way I was raised, I’m obviously not the only one that experienced that growing up. I remember movies like Baby Boom and how the mother finally gave up her career and moved to the country where ‘she falls in love’. Sure she started a new baby food company later, and that’s fine. But the clear message, in the beginning, was that she couldn’t do both. A teaching that aligned with what I was taught.
I’ve come to realize that the people that told me I can’t do both, failed themselves. No, never even tried. A friend often tells me to consider the source and this is a case where the source really needs to be questioned.
This isn’t to say that women couldn’t have jobs. But a career, that was different. Working at the school office, running a daycare, these types of things are/were acceptable. But doing what I do, as in leaving for days at a time to attend a convention, that’s not okay with certain people in my life.
To them, women that are wives and mothers are never supposed to be more than the Best Supporting Actress.
Never in the spotlight. Never the star.
Their judgment and condescending comments have caused me a lot of pain and struggle, yet what I now see is that their feelings have nothing to do with me or my success. Their feelings are about their own failures and lack of trying.
I refuse to be a supporting actress.
I refuse to act period.
I’m real, honest, and don’t have any interest in pretending to be a perfect housewife or mother. I am what I am and that’s a wife, mother, author, speaker, polyamorous and kinky woman that likes planning and organizing events, running companies, and doing whatever the hell I want when it comes to my life and career.
I’ve noticed that the more success I find in life or my career, the more certain types of people attack me. I don’t find this a coincidence. And I don’t think it’s just jealousy.
When people never try, they judge those that do. They measure themselves based on others. Maybe we all do that to an extent, but it’s nonsense.
Since reaching adulthood I’ve tried many new things. I’ve started companies and tried to do something different, but people have always put me back in a box. AND I LET THEM. I always allowed myself to be talked out of what I felt was best. I listened to unreliable narrators.
I’m done with that.
I will no longer hold back. I will move forward (and already have) with the things I’ve been planning. Because I am powerful and have the desire and drive to succeed. If some things fail, it won’t because I never tried or because I let others talk me out of it. If the person advising has no business advising, then I will consider the source unworthy.
I see successful, career driven women all the time. And they are also wives and mothers. I’d give them personal shoutouts, but this site may be a bit too x rated to name names. To those powerful mothers, wives, and entrepreneurs who just so happen to read this, you inspire me.
I will do better. I will do more. I will not let small minded people prevent me from success.
*image by Sigurd Decroos on freeimages.com*