I would have entitled this blog post something a bit more obscene but there are still some societal norms I tend to follow. Cursing in a title is one threshold I am not yet ready to cross, you can thank my mom for that (and the fact that she reads this blog!). However, there are a few norms I think we can all leave behind in 2020, or at least try to. And you can go ahead and roll your eyes if you’d like, but a lot of these norms are directed at women and annoy me profusely. You may not know me personally (or you do, so this will come as no surprise), but if there is one thing that truly aggravates the hell out of me it’s that women tend to live life by a set of “rules” that men are not required to follow.
Here are my top three “societal norms” I’d like to ignore in 2020:
- Women are more attractive when they are “put together”: i.e. wearing makeup, their hair is done, and they are in clothes other than gym wear. Let’s get one thing straight, a woman is gorgeous no matter what – in sweat pants, with no make-up on, and her hair thrown up in a messy ponytail. She has not “given up” on herself because she would rather be comfortable than all dolled up. I for one would rather be in gym attire with a fresh face and my hair pulled up because I’m COMFORTABLE that way. It doesn’t make me a tom-boy or whatever, it makes me, ME. And for crying out loud, why am I “letting myself go” if I choose comfort over glam?
- Women can have it all: This one doesn’t work because it’s impossible to “have it all.” At some point we need to stop telling ourselves that we NEED to have it all. It’s ok to be without. And by without, just fill in the blank: a relationship, large sums of money, work-life balance, etc. We have been primed to think that everyone out there is killing it, everyone is happy, everyone is perfect. That is BS because it’s impossible. But it’s OK to not have it all, it doesn’t mean your life isn’t precious or your family isn’t adorable or your relationship isn’t fulfilling…it simply means that we are human and we are NOT perfect and that’s OK. Let’s start to focus on the fact that what we have is ENOUGH – let’s turn a blind eye to the media and the marketing and the advertising for all the things we don’t have that we are told that we should have and let’s start appreciating the good that we have already in our lives and know that it is enough.
- Moms are selfish for taking alone time (or focusing on themselves): oh boy, this one sets my feet on fire. I can’t explain how much this “norm” truly pisses me off (can you feel the energy emanating from the keyboard as I type this?). We live in a society that pretty much shouts moms must solely focus on their children 24/7 and when they don’t, they aren’t raising/loving/appreciating/doting/sacrificing/blah blah blah. Children do not measure their mom’s love based on the fact that she is constantly by their side all day, every day. Children base their love for their mom on the fact that she wipes their tears when they cry, that she laughs at their jokes, that she helps them with their homework. They also realize when their mom is stressed, upset, sad, or angry. Children want their mom happy. They want their mom healthy and able to enjoy herself. They do not feel abandoned if mom misses a game or a practice or a rehearsal because she is traveling for work, grabbing dinner with other moms, or getting a manicure/pedicure. Society is the one who makes women feel inferior to one another by portraying what they deem to be the perfect mom. That mom does NOT exist. Nor do dads feel this pressure (at least not to the extent that women do). It is healthy (and often needed) to take care of yourself as a woman and as a mother. IF you are not taking care of yourself then there is no way you can effectively give of yourself to your children. The best analogy a therapist shared with me regarding this was the following: if an airplane is about to crash the adult is told to put on their mask first before helping a child – simply put, if you can’t breathe yourself then how do you expect to help your child?
So, I hope moving forward we can put these norms behind us. We won’t feel pressured to look perfect or feel perfect. We won’t hold ourselves to standards that are not attainable. We will take time for ourselves and not feel bad for it. The world will be a better place if we are able to take care of ourselves, be ourselves, and love ourselves.