YOU ARE HER + SHE IS YOU

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Hi, my name is Carli and I’m a walking contradiction. Actually, I’m a woman but what’s the difference, right?

For me, being a “good woman” has always resembled some sort of balancing act. Like walking a tight rope in my four-inch heels, wearing a little black dress with an apron around my waist, Bible in one hand, iPhone in the other.

As women we’re asked to be independent but selfless, sexy but well-behaved, family-focused but career-driven, strong but nurturing. A real life cellulite-fighting Betty Crocker who is clothed with strength, dignity, and Christian Louboutin pumps. If we cry over spilt milk we’re perceived as weak but if we portray a tougher presence, we’re an Ice Queen.

I love the illusion of being able to do it all. At a young age I was self-diagnosed with Superwoman Syndrome. I caught it from my incredibly talented mother who I watched work full-time, put dinner on the table and cart me to soccer practice while somehow managing to look like a beauty queen the entire time. She had the nicest lawn in the neighborhood, never lost her temper and I can't even tell you how many times I've watched her dig out a tape measure from the bottom of her Coach purse as we cruised the lumbar yard at Home Depot.

From a young age, I wanted to be a woman who did work she believed in. I wanted to throw Martha Stewart-esque dinner parties complete with fresh flowers, pressed linens and a meal that made my guests feel honored. I wanted to love selflessly, forgive fearlessly, know the difference between a socket and a crescent wrench, have six-pack abs and a dependable, faith-filled man by my side. I wanted it all and I still do. 

This past weekend, my girlfriends and I got together for some much needed girl talk. This is a diverse group; single, dating, engaged, engaged with kids, married, married and pregnant, married with kids. We pretty much have it all covered. Some of us are corner-office-workaholics while others are family oriented stay-at-home-moms. Some are teachers while others are students. 

I sat there eating a homemade chicken pot pie when the thought of being less of a woman seeped into my subconscious.

To tune out the feeling of being inadequate considering I barely have time to eat lunch let alone make homemade chicken pot pies, I tuned into the conversations that were happening around me. I was surprised to hear the feeling of inadequacy coming from our host. She expressed that she feels some people view her as less of a woman because she doesn’t have a career. I was shocked. She has three adorable children, a supportive husband and Honey, let me tell you, raising kids? That’s a career in and of itself.

Shifting to the conversation across the room, I heard the same thing coming from the full-time student who's balancing work and family. Stressed, she feels that there isn’t enough time in the day to fulfill all the roles of the woman she’s expected to be. Again, I was shocked. To me, these women have it all, yet in their mind, they need to do more to live up to the expectations that have been placed on them. Yearning to “find what they’re good at” as if they’re less of a woman until they do.

Chatter all around me portrayed some sort of shortcoming or disappointment. Not in the boo-hoo-feel-sorry-for-me kind of way, but in the tomorrow-I-will-be-better kind of conviction. As different as we all are, single or married, corner-office-workaholics or family oriented stay-at-home-moms, we have a lot in common. Not just our love for Starbucks on an early morning but the feeling we’re coming up short if we aren’t everything to everyone, all the time.

We crawl in bed at the end of the day and feel defeated by others who seem to have it all together. We wash our face and brush our teeth and promise to do better tomorrow.

There is no how-to guide on being a good woman, truth is, we’re all just kind of winging it. Changing diapers, booking conference rooms, cooking dinner between final exams. Some days we’re Superwoman and some days all we want is a nap.

The woman who has it all today will likely spill on her J.Crew blouse tomorrow. In the day-to-day life of womanhood, you win some, you lose some. Show yourself some grace because chances are you’re doing a lot better than you think. So head up and smile on because good women are all around us. You are her, and she is you.

Hi, my name is Carli and I’m an independent, selfless, sassy, well-behaved, family-focused, career-driven, strong, nurturing, cellulite-fighting Betty Crocker.

Actually, I’m a woman but what’s the difference, right?