We are the tired. The spent. The ones who have played seventeen different roles before we buckle in for the morning commute. We have been chef, detective, bathroom psychologist, exorcist, dog catcher and nurse before most people have sipped coffee.
Most of us try harder at work because we have something to prove. We have something to prove to our bosses, our colleagues, our children and ourselves. We are women who roar and set meetings; we lunch and close deals. We constantly set the bar higher and higher for ourselves because we must prove THAT WE CAN HAVE IT ALL.
And the truth is that to really do well in one aspect of life is to have to slack in another. And that has to be okay. We are professional tight-rope walkers. To stay completely on top of everything isn’t a challenge; it is impossible.
I talk to my girlfriends, and I hear how hard they are on themselves. We meet for a quick cup of coffee and it’s like a marathon confessional. We admit that we fed our kids organic fruit chews for breakfast and dinner because we were too tired to fight the broccoli battle. We tell each other about going to work with only half of a manicure completed.
We whisper that our kid went to school in a green kitty cat pajama shirt and orange striped leggings. A bystander would think that we were Russian spies trading national secrets. But we are just moms. Bumbling and stumbling our way through the haze of living our lives and raising toddlers or teenagers or step-children.
Those shared secrets, the camaraderie of laughing at our epic fails holds us together. Just when I think I have reached my breaking point, my girlfriend Jill tells me a story that makes me cackle. I am not alone. Her life, your life—we are more alike than we know. The shared tears and laughter are sunlight to the solar panels of our souls.
It is so important to have support of people who are at least as crazy and driven as you are. Women are programmed by society and genetic code to be people pleasers. To prove that mother and successful business woman are congruent adjectives. It is not healthy to mentally flog ourselves for a mistake or forgetting to send an attachment with an email.
It is healthy to go for a cup of coffee with someone else who is in a similar situation. To laugh about how annoying and scary and frustrating and damn confusing it is to have everything we thought we wanted. How exhausting having your dreams delivered to you can actually be.
We lock eyes with each other at the grocery store as we sprint down the aisles of the natural food section. We exchange knowing looks as we defend our position against eating ice cream for dinner. There has been a trend that I have noticed as I get older. Instead of competition and judgment, there is more understanding between women. That is refreshing and necessary. We need each other.
Maybe the wheels do fall off of the cart. Maybe the fit does hit the shan. You know who is going to be there to help you pick it all back up again? A mom. We are the caped crusaders of the home and office. We are the raccoon-eyed professional zombies that make everything run on practicality, compassion and the kind of humor that only someone who gets peed on can develop. We rule, and we need to remember that sometimes. And if we cannot remember it, hopefully we have a friend who can help remind us.