I was out at Starbucks today, getting some fresh air with Caden, and I happened to be a couple tables away from my opposite. Sort of.
I mean this woman put some MONEY into her appearance in a very tasteful but kind of in your face sort of way: perfectly dyed and highlighted long thick hair, eyelashes expensively mascaraed, makeup carefully applied, short (but business-y) skirt, tight suit jacket, tall heels, understated thick silver jewelry, with a personality as firm as her no-nonsense posture. And these were no knock-offs she was wearing. She shopped carefully, you could tell.
She was being interviewed for something by the man sitting across from her. She used perfect Business Interview body posture, lean in, not away, don’t break eye contact, keep your hands moving, but don’t fidget, firm and expressive voice. Her nails were expertly manicured, and when she turned to me I saw she was much younger than I thought.
She told the man across from her various things about her goals and life: She owned a home in expensive Mission Hills, but didn’t have any friends yet. She was very interested in her work, but thought it was hard to live here in K.C.. She was using a Mont Blanc pen, and thought it would be nice to have someone to go out with on the weekend. When asked about her family goals, she said that she assumed one day she would adopt because “it would be nice to have someone in my life, and to save someone from not being wanted.”
This whole exchange got me to thinking. What makes a woman successful?
Especially in our culture, where traditional womanhood of staying at home with the kids, keeping house, making dinner and scrubbing your hubby’s white delicates is so looked down upon (or at least, minimally lauded).
I could very easily have been this woman. Not to toot my own horn, but I excel in climbing the corporate ladder. At my last job, I worked from the “smallest” job you could have in that company to an I.T. corporate position in exactly one year.
I could be rich. I could have a really nice manicure and be sitting in front of some interviewer showing him I’m a woman who shouldn’t be messed with. I could have a house in Mission Hills. I could work out at 10pm because there is no one to go home to but my computer and my work email. Would this make me feel successful?
Instead I’m here. I have a husband, I have a son. I get a super excited about my clean bathroom. I fold laundry and dust while my child is napping. I do my darndest to have some sort of dinner on the table when my husband get’s home from work, and on the days I work he does the same thing for me.
I have a job, and it doesn’t buy me a house in Mission Hills. It buys me the chance to do something I love, and then take a break and go to the mall, get coffee with friends, teach art, go to the park, or watch Caden chew a book.
I don’t have highlights, or 4″ heels, but I work out while Caden has his morning bottle and when he claps to cheer me on I think it’s better than any personal trainer.
When I want to go out on the town, I have beloved and excellent friends who want to come with me.
When I’m sitting across from a man telling him about my life, I don’t have to hide my feelings, or be someone I’m not, because the only man I have to impress loves me the way I am.
I’m not totally sure that woman I saw today is as successful as I feel.