I’ve considered myself a pretty strong, confident and independent woman, but somewhere along the way I’ve lost some of that. I kind of feel like Julia from the TV show Parenthood. Now I haven’t kissed another man and am not getting divorced or anything quite as dramatic like that, but I relate to her journey. The one where you are a strong, confident career woman, support your husband’s dreams, have kids, try to do it all, get burned out trying to do it all, quit your job in an effort to save yourself, watch your husband succeed and seemingly achieve the elusive “have it all” life, and suddenly realize you’ve become a Stepford wife who stays at home with the kids and feels, well, kinda invisible.
When I first launched Road Widows, my first blog post was “Let’s talk about me for a change.” I wrote about how often people are so enthralled with our husbands’ careers that they forget to ask you about YOU. I am sad to say for all you who have been following my journey that not much has changed.
As long as we allow it to be ALL about our husbands, it will be.
I guess there’s nothing really sexy about cooking three meals a day and preparing two snacks. Or doing mountains of laundry every third day. Or making house cleaning a game for your kids so that you can maybe, just maybe scrub a toilet once a week. Or running errands in between play dates. Or wiping butts, potty training, changing clothes, giving baths, and the long list of other things I do for the kids that I can’t remember right now because I’m just plain too tired.
It’s definitely more interesting to ask about my husband’s journey. It’s also easier because it’s widely known what he does. No one knows what I do other than be a mom and a wife. No one knows that I’m launching my own consulting/freelance business ALL WHILE STILL being a stay at home mom. (Translated: Damn near impossible!) No one knows that I’m learning web development in my spare time. Uh, wait a minute. What spare time?
No one knows because they don’t ask and I don’t tell. I stay invisible in the conversation to let my husband shine.
What’s worse though? I realize I feel invisible because I’ve let myself become invisible. And what a shame that is.
I’m not exactly sure how it happened. Maybe it’s a byproduct of how it feels when society doesn’t seem to respect stay at home moms – in turn making me believe I don’t contribute enough to society. Maybe it’s my own ego making me feel like I have nothing to speak up about, scared of what people think of me and afraid of failure. Or maybe it’s the cumulative effect of being a mom and a wife and feeling like I’ve lost who I am in the process. No matter how it happened, the hard reality is it happened. And I’ve let it.
So I’m challenging myself and all of my fellow Road Widows who might relate to this post to STOP BEING INVISIBLE. Stop shrinking into the background. Stop feeling like you’re not worthy. Stop giving your husband the spotlight all the time. BE VISIBLE. We not only have a light within us worth shining, but we owe it to the world to share it.