There’s been a lot of discussion lately about working women and how they can “lean in” to move more swiftly up the corporate ladder. I’m fascinated by the subject, but not because I aspire to be the next Sheryl Sandberg.
My interest in the topic stems from my utter lack of natural ability in being a working mom. I’ve been at it for a couple of years now and, I admit, I white-knuckle it most days and rarely feel like I know what I’m doing. I’m in complete awe of people like Sandberg, Marissa Mayer and Tina Fey – elite women who reached the top of their careers while juggling motherhood. Even Anne-Marie Slaughter, who so eloquently articulated why she believes women actually can’t have it all, stands out because of her accomplishments in everything she’s done.
They’re all trailblazers, in their own ways. I know I’m not like them and I’m okay with that. I’m learning to embrace my weaknesses as a working parent of two little kids. And, social media has helped me see that there are a lot of real working moms out there just like me.
In fact, there’s a groundswell of moms (and dads) who are not shy about their failings as parents. Twitter and Facebook clearly have made it easier to voice their frustrations, fears and “what the heck?” moments. These working parents are lesser-known but in my view their authentic, unfiltered POVs make them groundbreakers, too.
One of my favorites is @scarymommy and her blog. It’s not for the faint-hearted, or for those with perfect children. Can you imagine wrestling your child “like she was a spider monkey on crack” for an entire flight? Add projectile vomit, and that pretty much describes my last vacation. I also have suspicions my three-year-old is the one behind @HonestToddler because the tweets hit too close to home, like this one from a few months ago: “Don’t call someone a blessing and then try to fit their entire bedtime routine in a single commercial break.”
Then there’s @AmberDusick’s Crappy Pictures blog, which tells tales of dirty diapers, meltdowns and toddler subversion through cute stick-figure illustrations and cringe-worthy commentary. On really bad days I turn to Sh*t My Kids Ruined on Tumblr to see examples of parents who have it much worse than me. I mean, come on; why would you ever let your kid near a white couch? That site never fails to make my day.
But don’t get me wrong. I like the challenge of a steep learning curve. As a public relations professional I deep-dive into new industry sectors and issues every week, and it’s one of the things that I love most about my job. I’m now figuring out how to apply the same strategy that’s been relatively successful at work, to two of my toughest clients at home.
So, when I hear, “Mommy, I want to watch the Netflix on the iPad,” I feel truly grateful for having technology that helps me keep my sanity. Twenty-one minutes of Trotro the Donkey means I can knock out six tasks on my long to-do list. Or, take a nap. And, thanks to the growing online community of working parents who are voicing their real, unvarnished and poopy perspectives on parenting, I don’t feel so guilty about not being able to lean in. Because I’d rather just lie down.