Updated: May 22
Being raised by a single mother, a strong-willed grandmother, and a doting grandpa, I grew up thinking a woman was strong.
A woman could bear the weight of the world while raising up the next generation to do the same. A woman dealt with her emotions with a smile and never let anyone see the cracks under the surface. A woman wouldn’t let any man tear her down or make her feel less than she was.
I was raised with phrases like “breaking the glass ceiling” and “gender equality,” and commercials singing that “I can do anything better than you.” As social media developed, being a women meant being beautiful, smart, never making a mistake, and of course, being better than a man. Society screamed at me to be sexy enough to attract a man, but not vulnerable enough to need a man.
As I got older, I internalized all this. I felt frustrated as a stay-at-home mom watching the movie Cars four times a day and not bringing in money.
I tried Mary Kay.
I tried random review sites.
Anything to make me feel like I was contributing some worth to our family.
I struggled with depression as I constantly put the needs of my kids in front of my own needs. And I struggled in silence, because that was what a woman was.
After our first child, we adopted 2 boys from foster care. Four months later we had our second biological child, who was a daughter. As I went from a mother of one, to a ringleader of four, I found myself drowning in all my responsibilities. And do you know what I told myself over and over again? “I am raising a daughter who will be strong. She will be a better woman than me.” All the while, I wasn’t giving myself the credit that I was enough.
I was a woman in my way.
That’s the thing about generational expectations and social stigmas. They just keep building up what you should be while tearing down what you are. I used to think women needed to be strong. And they do. You’ll never hear me tell my daughters not to stand up for themselves.
But a woman can be soft too. A woman can be kind. A woman can be outgoing. She can be shy. She can fail and most importantly, she can be imperfect.
What is a woman?
You are a woman.
All your quirks and tendencies. All the times you’ve failed and forgiven.
There is not one kind of woman this world needs.
Our uniqueness is womanhood. Individually we are one strand of thread, together a tapestry of joy and godliness. Together we bring peace, bring life, and bring love. We break expectations while teaching the traditions and accomplishments of woman before us.
Stop comparing yourself to the woman on the screen or the woman you think you should be. Stop asking how you can keep your kids from dumping out every toy in their toy box as soon as you’ve spent 2 hours organizing them by toy type. Stop feeling sorry for having a career and not children. Stop hating the 10 pounds you added while celebrating a holiday season with people you love.
A woman unites and lifts others.
Be okay with being in the moment and accepting that other’s moments don’t look like yours.
Embrace all the parts of your life and lift others where they are in their lives.
Strive to better but love the woman you are. Because womanhood is beautiful. And you are beautiful.
Article Written by Tashua Pouliot