I’ve had Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In on my bedside table these past few days. I am a bit surprised by how much criticism she received when it hit the shelves back in March of 2013. I don’t find it as obtrusive as some have made it out to be. For me she was writing to a very particular group of women.
It’s not for women who are totally content and happy with a low-key job. Low-key does not mean second class. Everybody has their niche.
It’s not for women who are totally content to have left or plan on leaving their job to stay at home with their kids (work at home as Sheryl fittingly puts it). That decision is a beautiful one if you feel it’s the right one for you and your family.
Who this book is for is women who love their career, perhaps even hope to reach for the stars with it, and also want to have kids.
It’s for women who want a career and motherhood and are not sure how to make those things jive simultaneously- or who wonder if that’s even a possibility.
It’s for women who feel they will have to step down when they have kids, not because they really want to but because they feel they have no other choice.
It’s a great read if you feel you are one of those women.
By no means are her words the definitive for everyone, but she provides a voice for the other half of the conversation. And a voice that I think is really important for a woman-and society- to hear. We have heard either directly or indirectly from much of our culture that you cannot be a “good mother” and reach great heights in your career at the same time. That something has to give. You simply have to choose.
And Sheryl is saying no. No you don’t, and here is why.
There are so many good things to chew on in this book but I will fast forward to what I recently read that struck my fancy.
Sheryl included a piece of research that showed on the average a full time working mama actually spends more time with her kids than a stay at home mama did with her kids back in 1975.
Now isn’t that funny? We go on and on about the good ol’ days……..you know, when we had more time. More time to spend with our families and friends. More time to “to do things”.
The research explains this shift with the observation that most modern families today do, well, family things on the weekends where as “back in the day” couples did things separately, sans kiddos.
So we spend more time with our kids but get divorced on a flip.
Ha! No, no, just kidding. That messy topic is way more complicated. But it does make you wonder, why are we so darn obsessed with time? Especially spending time with our kids? Because apparently we do spend time with the kids! So why does it always feel like it’s not enough? What part of our culture is feeding this idea to us? Where in the world does it come from?
Something to chew on this week. Can’t wait to hear your views!
love and light your way,