Since having Penelope in August and going back to work eight weeks later I have been feeling more than exhausted, I've feeling been literally spent. As in, there is absolutely no more time in my day or in my life for anything or anyone. Now please do not take this post as me complaining, I am exceedingly thankful for my job, my education, my family and my husband who truly defines the word "partner" in our relationship. I also know that I do not have it bad in any way whatsoever. We are solidly middle-class and have what we need, and a life full of love. Yet all of that does not take away from the truths I write here and the truths of so many other women's lived experiences. When I was in college I read "Lean In" and loved it. I was all-aboard the Sheryl Sandberg bandwagon. While I still find validity in elements of the "Lean In" argument--that young girls are often labeled as "bossy" rather than as leaders, and that women often undercut their skills and success in the workplace for fear of being labeled in an equally unfavorable manner--overall I take issue that women need to do even more to reach the successful playing field of men in their careers. Quite frankly, I do not have the energy to Lean In any more than I already am. I am not capable of giving any more to my career at this point in my life, and if I did have any more to give, I would give it to my kid, my family, my dog.
There is so much guilt and pressure pushed upon women when they become mothers--both imagined and real. Guilt for how you feed your baby, guilt for how you diaper your baby, guilt for how and who takes care of your baby, even guilt for how you birthed your baby. There is also so much guilt and pressure pushed upon educated women with careers who chose to have children--and along with that there is this concept that you could possibly 'waste' your education, your potential, your talents by not continuing to actively push forward in your career when you do have children. And mixed in with that whole mess is a complete ignorance of financial situations and the actual need to work, or to choose off brand disposable diapers, or to try to breastfeed and pump while going back to work because formula literally costs too much.