Ok Ladies, let's cut to the chase. Who is our worst critic? Who are we killing ourselves for when we're trying to volunteer for every club, lose 20 pounds, make wholesome meals, get regular mani/pedis, and do it all with a smile? It isn't our jerk of a boss. It isn't our husbands/boyfriends, etc. It's us. WE are the problem. I'm saying we need to work on being the solution.
I recently had the pleasure of a rare "girl's night out" with one of my best friends. We both changed outfits at least twice (because that's what we do) and upon making her decision, my friend announced that she was still reluctant to wear this outfit because she "didn't bring the right purse." Now, I (being a bear of very little brain) have no idea what kind of purse she would have needed. I happen to be one of those women that uses the same purse all year long (THE HORROR). Well, at least until my mother and sister hand me a new one and demand that I change it. But, I do know that for many women, the "correct" accessories are important. However, correct me if I'm wrong here, but we were going out to find men, right? (For her, I know that I'm married, people. For the record, that doesn't mean that I don't want to look hot, too). I don't know too many men who would have any idea what kind of purse she should have been carrying. And trust me, if you'd seen how great she looked you'd know that they probably wouldn't even have been able to tell me she was carrying a purse.
I also had a great conversation with another friend (school mom friend). We were talking about how overwhelming it can be to be a parent. She admitted that there are times that she could just cry because of the stress and pressure and chaos of life. I should have expected this I guess because we're all trying to do the same thing. Survive. However, this is one of those moms who comes to school every single day looking adorable and always has a smile. I seriously have NEVER seen this woman not smiling. And you know what I couldn't stop thinking about after that conversation? That in all the time I've known her and been awed by her, I've never actually told her. And why shouldn't I? The truth is we're all going a little crazy from time to time and who knows what a compliment such as that would have done for her day.
My neighbor/friend/fellow sweatpants guru, recently sent me a text message simply telling me that she was grateful for my family. She even added that I had very well-behaved children. Such a simple thing to do, and it changed my whole day. I vowed then and there to do things like that more often.
So, then, why do we do it? Why do we torture ourselves by pretending to be the "perfect woman"? To impress other women. And why do we have to impress other women? Because women are constantly sizing each other up. Comparing themselves and everyone else in the room to THIS woman or THAT woman. We've got to stop doing this. We're our own worst enemies.
I'm making a proposal that we make a conscious effort to encourage our fellow sisters. Compliment her hair, her clothes, her children's good behavior. And, yes, even compliment her on her recently increased exercise regimen. Instead of peeking out the corner of your eye at the "super peppy bitch in spandex" who's running down your street, maybe roll down your window and cheer her on. You have no idea what her day has been like. Maybe this is her escape from a difficult reality. Encourage her. Give her a reason to keep going. I'm not saying that we should stop one-upping each other as we all love to do. I'm merely suggesting that we put a spin on it. The next time you're thinking about it, maybe you be the one doing the lifting.