Sheryl Sandberg, C.O.O of facebook and author of “Lean In” is on the firing line but truthfully I’m not entirely sure why. For the past few hours I’ve scoured articles that people have written about why she is either inspiring and/or crippling to mothers and the deeper I get into reading the more I realize that the story circles back to the same old, same old. The story that the media seems to love to dig its’ claws into:
Moms fighting Moms! Yippee they are at it again! Working Moms vs. Stay-at-home-moms! We can’t say “one night only” because this argument never seems to end.
The conversation in itself is divisive and takes away from the true quest of being truthful to your purpose in life.
I guess I’m a “Working Mom” but I’ve never identified myself as such. My work as an actor and a writer is just who I am. I don’t really know anything else. And once I became a mother there was no one who judged me more harshly than myself (actors are so good at that!). But in asking myself how I could ever work again I was essentially asking how I was ever going to be me again. That prospect was frightening and involved some serious soul searching. A search that eventually brought me to the conclusion that MOMS ARE AMAZING, and miraculous and someone forgot to tell them that. I recognize my pressures are different than my friends who had to return to a full time 9-5 job outside of the home. Often my work is all or nothing. But in the end we are essentially all on the same path of trying to figure out what’s best for our families and for ourselves
Can we please stop telling each other that we are doing it wrong? I applaud Ms. Sandberg. Her success as a businesswoman is essential to our parental eco-system. If she can inspire a young woman to turn the tables on the very low ratio of female leaders in North American than why not? But her overall success as a parent also hinges on the fact that others have also answered their vocations to be teachers, and soccer coaches and volunteers (men and women alike) who put endless hours towards school fundraisers and the creation of the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I’m looking at you Moira Sanders (My “stay-at-home-mom” friend who published a cookbook and shot a television pilot!)
It’s okay. We’re okay. Put down the loaded diaper and the smart phone with the comments that make you feel like you’re doing it wrong. An insult lobbed in your direction is not your responsibility. You don’t have to own it or repeat it. It doesn’t matter if someone else endorses your choices as a parent if you know in your heart you are doing exactly what you want (and need) to do. Be that parenting full time or going back to work. But if we’re not doing what what we need to do, than maybe we need to “lean back” to reflect on what we want from this life and then “lean in” to make the changes. And just for the record I could definitely be a C.O.O but I’d have to be playing one on television.
I’ll leave you with what I told my 6 year old yesterday: You’re a smart and beautiful person and all that matters is that you believe in yourself.
And then I believe I started weeping. Ugh. Why does parenting have to involve so much crying?! I’m certainly failing on the War On Tears. Big time.
Hear more on the Mommy Wars from Raising America:
We’re continuing this conversation all this week, because we want that lasting peace, dammit. Read more posts on this subject in this section all week (you can start with Catherine’s kick-off post.) And tune in to HLN’s Raising America (12:30 EST) to watch The Mommy Wars: the Peace Talks, a 5 day collaboration with HLN’s Raising America aimed at wrestling this so-called ‘war’ into peaceful submission.
For more on ‘leaning in’, and for buckets of inspiration toward being intentional and empowered in our choices (motherhood-related or otherwise) and our lives (including inspiring stories from many Babble bloggers that you know and love), visit the Lean In community. And maybe join the Lean In community. It’s a movement for all of us.
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Check out other posts by Sam and Allana: