Remember that scene from “When Harry Met Sally?” The one where Meg Ryan fakes an orgasm in the middle of Katz’s Deli? I’ve provided a link for those of you who need a little refresher: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-v1TZ5qhY4 As hilarious as that scene is it is the gal at the next table who delivers the line that has embedded itself into popular culture: “I’ll have what she’s having.” I giggle every time I hear it.
But there’s a bittersweet quality to that line. Hidden in the laughter is the recognition that we tend to compare ourselves with others – and think that they have it better. As women we are so good at this it’s almost like a super power. I mean, how many of you have seen grown men with big bellies and back hair so thick it looks like they’re wearing an Angora sweater, swagger around in swim trunks? Whereas, if a woman gains 2.5 pounds she bundles up in a burqa? And I’m fairly certain as a working mom we’re the worst offenders. When was the last time your heart sank because you didn’t have time to make homemade treats for a school function and watched as a stay at home mom plopped her Martha Stewart animal head cupcakes next to your dry supermarket cookies in a plastic carton? Or you run into another woman at the top of her game in your field and you think: “this woman has it all!”
Well cut it out – and while you’re at it cut yourself some slack. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: working moms are like ducks. Above the water ducks look like they’re effortlessly gliding through the water. But peek underneath and you see that same duck paddling like mad through the murky weed filled pond. No one has it all. And we’d be better off – by a lot – if we all just admitted how imperfect it is. Because women have this other awesome super power. It’s called empathy. Women are really good at empathizing with other women. We listen and soothe. We do not try to figure out and fix. And if we all could all just let our guard down and give each other a shoulder to cry on and a safe place to vent we’d truly be using superpowers for good not evil!