CHOG #3 - ARE YOU A STRONG WOMAN?
I know I am. As I discussed in CHOG #1, Steve and I started our preschool business and while he was the driving force in EVERYTHING associated with getting the business started, years down the road he took a back seat to me in the running of the day to day of the preschool and instead he became my business advisor and the financial strategist, as well as being a stay-at-home dad to our boys making sure they were everywhere they needed to be.
Hey, that was my job (insert giggle giggle)!
But did he see something in me that I never saw in myself? Did he “empower” (more on that word later) me when I had no idea how to “empower” myself or was he just looking at his wife and just trying to figure out how to make our business work in whatever shape it would ultimately take? Who knows? Does it make me weak because I didn’t aspire to be anything other than where I was in my life at the time that we decided to start a business? Interesting question.
So, what about me? What about you? How do we show that we are strong women? What does it mean to be a strong woman? Do people who know us think, “now there's a strong woman” or is it enough to just think and declare it ourselves, about ourselves, to ourselves to make it true?
If you get a chance to read my book, INSERT GIGGLE GIGGLE, Laughing Your Way through Raising Kids and Running a Business, maybe you will think of me, “that’s a strong woman”. My husband thinks so and my boys think so. Steve thinks I did a terrific job taking care of our family business. He thinks there is absolutely no one else in the world that could have done the job as well as I did it, mistakes-successes and all. I know he sometimes overlooks how vital his early planning and direction, on-going advice, and clear business focus was to my (which was our) success.
Hayden seeks my advice on a lot of things and William once said that I’m like Leigh Anne Tuohy in the movie, The Blind Side ~ tough defender of my family ~ you do not want to mess with me when it comes to my family. Hmm….so do I depend on others to give me validation that I’m a strong woman? What do I really think of myself?
Just how declarative and accurate is my opening sentence?
It appears to me, in the current social environment that is put forth on this issue, that being a strong woman can lead to a lot of isolation. My opinion. It may mean to some, that being a strong woman means being “in your face” a lot of the time. Making sure that you are “heard”. Being head strong. Is this what empowered means? And just who is giving us this power…has anyone actually read the definition of the word, empower? If so, I don’t think that any feminist movement would use this word to applaud or express innate strength since the assumed “power” is given to us…by someone “above” us?, someone “in charge” of us?…hmm. Does being a strong woman mean constantly making sure that you are not seen as weak? Strong, independent, focused, successful, multi-tasker, take no sh*t, take no prisoners type of person? You don’t need anyone to give you worth. You have it inside of you. Really? Is that so?
That’s not me. Not entirely anyway. I’m not always strong. I’m not always successful. I am not always focused. I am often unsure. I sometimes don’t expose a mistake I make and just hope no one notices and it just goes away so as not to show people just how unsure or not in control I really am. I sometimes want nothing more than just to be taken care of. I want someone to make decisions for me. I want my husband to take my hand and to see me only as his wife. I want my boys to see me only as their mom.
There is not a time that Steve and I cross a street or a parking lot that he doesn’t take my hand and say some version of “watch that car” or “be careful, cars are coming”. I love that. Does he think I’m not capable of crossing a street without his intervention?
I don’t know – I don’t care.
What would a “strong” woman do in this situation? Maybe screech at her husband or partner "by God I know how to cross a street!"?
I know that when I go to work, everyone there thinks, if they even “think” of me at all (insert giggle giggle!), that I am a strong woman. I have everything in control. I mean, I run a business for goodness-sake so I must be strong and confident, right? Hmm...?
But how can a woman that ran 2 businesses, wrote articles on parenting tips and business practices published in magazines and news publications, was a Board member for an industry leading association, retires, writes a book, helps her brother overhaul personnel practices and other business-related issues at his business (which once again was totally my husband’s idea and not mine), and now starts a website, not be a strong woman? How can this same woman possibly ever enjoy being taken care of instead of taking charge of?
That juxtaposition is easy for me, but I don’t know how to explain it to you in practice. That’s just the way I am ~ and I think a lot of women share this complexity and dimension in themselves.
You know what – maybe women can be multi-faceted, have depth and dimension. Could it be that instead of being defined as a strong woman, we are just a woman, without a qualifier one way or the other? Is there anything wrong with that…just being a woman? For me, maybe I am just a person trying to exist and relate to others in the only way I know how. Strong, weak, in control, all over the place, confident, unsure – that’s a lot of dimensions. I think it’s called being human.
I am not a feminist. I want to think I am feminine. I express my opinions – I am vocal and strong in what I believe whether at home or at work, whether it’s right or wrong. But I love being treated as a lady. Yes, I said it - a lady. I want to look good, feel good, smell good, do good, be a good wife, be a good mother, be a good friend, be a good dresser, smile, build up the ones I love, and yes, have them do all the same for me. Am I always successful in this, no, but I still aspire to these traits as a woman just as much as I aspire to being a strong and confident woman in the professional arena. I don’t feel like a strong woman unless this womanly side of me is fulfilled as well. I don’t want to be “in your face” ~ I want to have a pleasant face. I don’t want to have to “take no sh*t” ~ I want my loved ones not to feel like they have to give me any sh*t. I don’t want to take control ~ I want to have a husband that I can depend on to balance me out. I want to be encircled and enveloped in the love and protection of my husband and our two boys. I love being treated like a queen in my home. Who wouldn’t?
I choose to be a multi-dimensional woman. Strong, yes. Vulnerable, yep. In control, of course. Unsure a lot of the time, for sure. Loved and loving. Admired and respected as well as respectful and adoring. Why would I ever behave in a way to not garner any of these attentions and feelings from the ones that I love and not strive to do the same for them? I tell my husband all the time “That’s why I hitched my wagon to your star”.
He tells me he loves me more. We both mean it.
I hope that you are not missing out on a meaningful relationship because of what you feel or have been made to feel will make you too vulnerable and not looked at as being a strong woman. Be strong enough to be a lady.
Next up (Thursday) ….. Do you Gossip? Yikes!
Always insert a giggle giggle & insert your "red dancing girl emoji" ….. Kay 😊