Authentic Woman, This is For You

Among my many job titles, ‘chauffeur’ seems to be the one that tires me the most! But this weekend, on one of my many runs, I had a chance to squeeze in some mommy time with a couple of other mothers. And we didn’t have to coordinate our calendars for weeks in advance to make it happen!

We were all waiting for our teens to finish an activity when we started talking…y’all know how I like to chat with people, right?!

We talked about college applications, the mood swings of teenage girls, the assigning and policing of household chores, etc. We compared notes and shared both our triumphs and struggles. Our conversation shifted off of motherhood to our “next move” dreams. We discussed possibilities, reviewed opportunities, and acknowledged fears.

It was…refreshing!

One of the other moms even commented on how good it felt to just talk. Oddly (to me), she perceived my home to be one of sheer perfection…since I’m so organized and intentional with my parenting. 😲Ha! Yes, those things are true but I am still human…having a very human experience, working it out as I go…just like everyone else!

This conversation had me thinking deeply about women and how we relate to one another. I do engage intention in my life journey and pursue authenticity in every interaction with folks but I also recognize that that is not the norm when women converge.

How many times do you get in the company of other women and feel the safety to be unguarded and authentic?

Not always, I bet.

How many women can you be fully yourself with?

You don’t need more than one hand to count, I’m guessing.

Women tend to wall ourselves off from one another. We do it through curated sharing and incongruent words & feelings. For many years, I did this too. I claimed it was because I didn’t want to deal with drama or cliques, etc. Truth? I was afraid of getting hurt and being betrayed, as I had been at the hands of trusted confidantes in the past.

With self-work, I’ve come to accept that if I want to experience quality connections with others, which is SO how I’m wired, I must come out from behind my fort. I must begin fighting with and for the women in my life rather than guarding against them.

The adversarial posture of women seems to be something that’s learned very young. I’ve seen the struggle for my own two girls as well as for many of my students over the years. Heck, I remember it too…the struggle is REAL. As young girls, it starts with social isolation and “sorry but not sorry” statements…you know, the ones that follow with, “Why are you getting upset? I was only kidding…” Rachel Simmons explores this side of girl culture in her research and books.

By the time, we are adults, women graduate to cloak their tactics but the spirit behind the motivations is the same. I’m sure each of us can recall a hurtful word or action at the hands of another woman that has left wounds. Yet, it was so subtle, and done with a smile. 

This is not an accusation nor a judgement, just sharing my observations. 

This I do wonder: With all that we are forced to deal with in this world, fighting marginalization on so many levels, why do we do this to one another? Can we pursue and learn other ways to process our mixed emotions and internal conflicts? 

An hour of authentic talk-time with other women may not be enough for some but it’s a start. I know I felt energized and encouraged by my time with those other mothers. (Thank you, K. and M. 😉)

During this holiday season, make some time to connect authentically with one woman in your world. Be fully you, unapologetically, embracing both your successes and setbacks. And dare to share your true self with her. Burdens (good and bad) become lighter when shared!

Think about it.  

Until next time…