The Rules Haven't Changed

26 Apr 2004|Leigh Marinner

I read LiAnne Yu’s blog on dinner planning in the 50’s with a feeling of recognition and curiosity. I attended a women’s college that has well attended reunions every five years where we get together and talk about the major issues in our lives for that decade. Even though we are a decade or two older than LiAnne, the same issues remain for working women. Most of us try to do superior work at each of our jobs – working professional, mother, wife, daughter, friend, and keeping our physical and emotional selves in shape. We’ve concluded that we need to redefine success as doing a good or good-enough job, rather than an A+ job, at all these things.

When LiAnne writes “intellectually, she’s a working woman and shouldn’t have to feel responsible for producing a home cooked meal from “scratch” every night, [for visiting in-laws, but] it is, emotionally, an entirely different issue”, I realize many expectations haven’t changed in the past 25 years. But it’s largely up to us to move the goalpost.

And some things are changing – I now consider heating ready-made Indian food and boil-in-the-bag brown rice from Trader Joe’s a home-cooked meal, or at least close enough to pass.

I was in a client positioning meeting last week with a large group of men and women trying to decide whether to position the product directly to women. In our discussions it was clear that all the working mothers carried a long and detailed family to-do list in their heads all the time, while the fathers had only a sketchy notion of what had to be done each day to keep the family running smoothly. But after we working mothers give ourselves a well deserved pat on the back for managing all this, we need to look for ways to off load some of it and let a few balls drop without feeling like failures.

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