Leanin’ In, SAHM Style

JohnJohn has been sick for two days, throwing up, without warning, every few hours.  He is sick and sad and so just wants to be cuddled and hugged.  ALL DAY LONG.  I have been holding him since 7:00 a.m.  It is 1:20 p.m. as I write this (actually I am dictating it into my smart phone, yeah technology!) and I have been holding him over the sink for over an hour.  He alternates between snoozing, crying, throwing up, and drinking.  Right now he is snoozing.

The other two kids are playing together, thankfully having a blast.  The fact that our work schedule has been disrupted for the day delights them.  And they really get a kick out of the fact that the two times I stepped away from the sink with the baby, he has sprayed the entire kitchen and living room (and me) with curdled milk and water (we will definitely have to turn that into a chemistry lesson at some point).

As I stand here leaning over the sink, reading the news headlines over my son’s shoulder, I see that Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and all-around über-successful working mother (from what I read, I have no idea what is happening in her home, her marriage, or her job, really), today published a book called Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.  It has put her in the crossfire of feminist debate as she herself has termed it a “sort of feminist manifesto“.  The discussion about Sandberg, as well as her book is, per usual with anything having to do with the idea of feminism these days, divided.  To see some of the reviews I particularly enjoyed, click here, here, here, or here.

I have my doctorate.  I have had some pretty amazing jobs, including the #1 position for a non-profit.  My husband is an equal (actually, he probably does more than me in contributing to our family and marriage) partner.  We both chose to downshift our careers when we had kids.  Stopping work for me was a sacrifice, admittedly, especially for my pride, but I am grateful to have the luxury of choosing to be a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM).  And it was my choice, a choice most women do not have at all.  Obviously, we have also chosen to homeschool our kids.

We made these choices because we both concluded before we had kids that, at best, you cannot have “it all” at the same time.  In my mind, that is a fact.  Our priority right now is spending as much time with our kids as possible.

My point is that, even with the awful smell in here, I am standing at my kitchen sink because this is where I would like to be today.

Although I would also accept being here.

I would also accept being here.

I hope we can all agree that Sheryl Sandberg is a special woman.  She admits that.  Even though I have been fortunate enough to be the semi-elite to Sandberg’s elite, and even though we have children who are roughly the same age, I am not really her target audience as an older SAHM mom who has stepped out of the workforce.  I admit that.  I mean heck, her book is a book about women and work.  We really don’t have much to do with each other at the moment besides both being women and both having called ourselves “feminists”.

And so I am really enjoying the fact that when she says to women “lean in”, she probably didn’t mean this:

The View from the TOP.  And by that I mean the top of my sink, where my son and I have been perched most of the morning and early afternoon.

The View from the TOP.
And by that I mean the top of my sink, where my son and I have been leaning most of the morning and early afternoon.

We may not have much in common.  But what we do have in common is important.  I can take Sheryl Sandberg as a reminder of what I have not achieved in corporate America, how I have not “leaned in” to reached my potential in my trained professions.   Or, I can take her as a reminder that whatever I am doing, I should try to give it my best.  She is certainly a role model for me in that respect.  And if that means leaning in to bring comfort to my kid’s world while she is leaning in to run the rest of the world, so be it.

I would still like to be invited to one of her monthly dinners though.


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s