The War on Women: On the Front Lines with… Each Other?

The run blogging community is a strange one. We share things with total strangers, it hasn’t been a successful blog day if you haven’t promoted yourself through selfies, food pics, shots of your running shoes and/or Garmin shot. We talk about everything. We share more TMI than any other “group” (just kidding, mom groups win this one, but we’re a close second). We act like we’ve known each other for years, when in most circumstances we will never meet. Because of that, we tend to be a little more open with each other. Heck, if you make someone a little upset on the internet, it’s not the same as doing it in person, right?

Every one of us has made decisions about our lives. In some cases our decisions have been heavily influenced by or even made by others, but even then, in most cases, a personal decision led to that happening.

Fairly often, when reading through running blogs, I comment to myself how many of the women whose blogs I follow are stay-at-home moms. Seeing so many of their days I think to myself, holy crap, they do all that and run like 100 miles a week, and raise a few kids, usually a dog, and keep up their personal brand?!

At some point in each of these amazing women’s lives, they, likely with their partner, made the decision to stay at home. The reasons are probably as numerous as their race medals, and differ with each household. They made those decisions, and I, as a woman, am inspired by their desire and ability to do it.

I’m a whole different animal. I knew early on in life that having a successful career was important to me. I’ve made decision after decision that has led this to be my focus, even though I’m bordering on the age when child-bearing is less and less of an option. I’m happy with my decisions, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

As I recently announced, I will very shortly be moving to Chicago to take on a huge new job. An employee today pointed out the “elephant in the room”, I am the first woman to ever have this role, and he wondered if the company was going to make a big deal out of it.

My reaction was no, they won’t, and wow, you’re right. And then immediately my thoughts turned to whether that actually was part of why I was tapped for this job. Since I’m not married, don’t have kids, heck, I don’t even own a plant, I’m easy to move, I’m well regarded, and have a good reputation within our parent company. If I was a guy, would I have been offered this opportunity? If I was a guy, would my comp package have been different?

I don’t know, or even believe any of those things were part of the decision-making, but there are women who are experiencing it every day. Women who are being looked over (often times inadvertently) for promotions because they have kids or may want to have kids in the near future.

What upsets me more than the idea of women being kept from advancement they would welcome because they are women, however, is when women cut down other women. Too often, mostly in the blogging world, I see women softly belittling others for their decisions or choices. They may not make their comments boldly, or even in language that is clearly damning, but the undertones are there. Those who have chosen to stay home to raise their children are exactly the same as women who have chosen to have careers, with or without children. They have made choices about how they want to spend their time, and are living out their lives as such. Imagine the women rolling over in their graves who fought to have the right for women to have that choice!

In a world where women are still fighting a war against sexism, ageism (much more so than men), and often fighting their way through the boys club, can’t we all focus on supporting each other? Can’t we all acknowledge that we all have important things in our lives, and though they may feel more important than everyone else’s things, are probably not? Can we please stop comparing what’s the most important job in the world? I’ll be the first to admit mine is not.

We have all made decisions and done things to get to the point where we are in our lives. Accept yours, and accept that others have made different ones, and let’s all focus on more important things, like who has tried the new Lululemon running skort, and what green smoothie is the hot new combo this week.

What’s something another woman has done this week you’d like to give a shout out to her about?
Mine is a shout out to Kristin over at StuftMama who baked, threw parties, and then hopped a plane to run Boston this weekend. You rock!
Biggest small accomplishment you’ve had recently?
Sunday evening, my laundry basket was completely empty for several hours.
Seriously, has anyone tried the new skirt and I need a good kale smoothie recipe?!

19 thoughts on “The War on Women: On the Front Lines with… Each Other?

  1. Great post. I agree, too often we are judging rather than supporting. In a community where we only know each other on a limited basis, it’s key not to assume to know other situations or motivations. Congrats on the new job! I am sure you got it because you are the right person to do it!

    • Thank you! I think you hit the nail on the head that it’s all about assumptions. People definitely feel like they know so much about each other, they can make assumptions.

  2. I love this post! I talked about similar issues in my post about International Women’s Day. You’re exactly right, a lot of times we tear each other down! And in regard to your job, have you heard of Sherly Sandberg? I love her Ted talk and book “Lean In,” because she’s barking up our tree. Girl power love from one career women to another!

  3. I totally agree with you on this. People make different choices every day, and that is good! My personal decisions about work and kids are just a reflection of my personality and mine alone. I admit it – I’m a little jealous of the moms who stay home and have the flexibility to take their kids to the park or to baby yoga at 10 am on a Tuesday. Also, I’m a little jealous of YOU, C, for being able to travel for work, move relatively easily and take on these awesome professional challenges. But I know that I have the right balance for now for ME – I love my kiddo, but I like the intellectual stimulation, financial independence and, frankly, ability to finish my coffee 5 days/week that come with being a working mom. Would I tweak things a little to get to my ideal work/life balance? Yes. Am I ultimately at peace with my decisions? Yes.

    • Thanks, Beth. I love that you have made the choices that you know are right for you and your family. And I love that you know you’d never get to finish your coffee if you stayed at home! I also believe all of us probably have tweaks we’d make if we could, but ultimately know we’ve got more of what we want than what we don’t.

      And with that, anytime you want to come play in Chicago, let me know 🙂

  4. There are so many things I want to say. First, thank you for writing this. I think it’s important that regardless of personal choices, people are respectful. Second, that is ridiculously awesome that you’re the first woman to hold your new position – really fantastic.

    Accomplishment? Probably being told by a team member that I’m a good manager. I work really hard to devote time, energy and effort to people development.

    • Thank you, Christine! And what an awesome accomplishment! I think too many managers don’t dedicate enough time to people development, so I give you a massive high five and a hug for that!

  5. Love this post, C! I’d love to give a loving shout out to my girl, Brooke. Three kids (one of whom is nursing), two dogs, a husband and she is ALWAYS ready to do things. If I asked her for the shirt off her back, I’m pretty sure she’d give me that or at least a couple to choose from in her closet. Honestly, I don’t know how she gets everything done sometimes but she makes it happen and I’m in constant awe of her.

    • Thanks, Meredith! And I’m with you on Brooke being amazing! Although I’ve never been offered her closet. I’m a little offended now 😉 You’re pretty amazing yourself, you know.

  6. You are inspiration to me! I am always in awe of how you are so dedicated to your job and make time to run/cook amazing meals that always look delicious. You are a travel extraordinaire, running badass and are the most AWESOME woman that could have landed this job- xo

    • Thank you! I don’t know how you deal with so many kindergarteners all day! I would not last an hour. You are helping to shape those little people into awesome humans 🙂

  7. And I look at you and think :she works a full-time job AND runs all that distance!”
    You will be the BEST first woman at that job 😉 go knock ’em dead!
    Emma

    • Thanks, Emma! I am so excited to see your business grow as your family grows. I love that you’ve found a way to do what you love while staying home with G. You rock 🙂

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