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Leaning In

Posted on Wed, 14 June, 2017

So what happened to Leaning In? Sheryl Sandberg got a lot shade when her first book published 4 years ago – for not being sensitive to single mothers, blue collar workers, etc. Sadly, her husband died and that has prompted a second book, Plan B for which she appraises the working landscape’s deficiencies and how leaning in won’t change that.

 

Ok so maybe that last bit about it not changing is some of my own observation but many others agree. Simply leaning in is not the answer and I think women everywhere already knew that before her first book. I also think there’s a different message that for some reason many people overlook. Namely, that the audience she was writing for, highly educated, professional women, were struggling to find meaning with one foot in two camps: the working world and motherhood. You’ve heard it referred to before as work-life balance.

teeter-totter

 

The Teeter-Totter

I am one of the women in her target audience and I read the book and found it helpful in the context she gave me a choice: continue to be riddled with an internal tug of war or own what I am doing. Strangely, I didn’t feel that I needed to choose one camp: motherhood over my professional career. I simply got comfortable straddling the fence.

 

I always knew I would work outside the home and wanted that work to have meaning. Something I felt was working toward building my community. I also knew I wanted children and since my mom worked it wasn’t a strange idea that I could do both. In fact, because I have family around me it was easier to be a working mom. I don’t remember if Sheryl addressed that or not. Details, shmetails.

 

When my son was born I jumped on that anxiety bandwagon about how am I going to do both?!?!? What will I miss!?!?!? Sheryl’s message told met hat if I wanted to do both, that I should, and just be ok with it already! I’ve heard the multi-tasking argument here and I agree – doing more than one thing at a time make all the things suffer. However, I also know that when we own something we feel ambivalent about or fearful of we take control of it and it tends to go better.

 

Acceptance

There are times I miss my son’s baseball games, and I’m totally ok with it. So is he, as long as it’s limited. So there are going to be times I will have to prioritize my work life, like Mondays when I have published office hours until 8pm and his game is at 5:30. Or when I miss a field trip for my daughter because the reschedule to Friday due to rain conflicted with my one day in Napa office. Then there is the blessing of my sole proprietorship that allows me to reschedule my work when needed – definitely not something a 9-5 mom working a service industry gig can take advantage of. I am blessed.

 

I haven’t read Plan B yet, but I know what is born of crisis. Catastrophe is usually the agent of change because we are creatures of habit and will root into the familiar because it feels safe.   Changes of larger magnitude, like the institutional sexism Sheryl writes about take decades to change – like the time it takes a container ship to stop: 15 miles or 220 football fields! Not something you can change right away.

 

Changes in cultural perception take generations so Sheryl and the rest of us will have to work on our endurance – 4 years is not nearly enough for the changes women need to take root. Especially when the country is lead by a hypocritical bigot and that is influencing increases in hate crimes and intolerance.

 

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Jodi Klugman-Rabb is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Marin and Napa Counties. She specializes in connecting with clients on a humorous and practical level, helpful when specializing in ADHD, trauma and anger/communication skills. She uses EMDR to treat traumas and fears of all types. She is the mom of two funny and awesome kids. Connect with Jodi on her website www.jkrabb.com or https://www.facebook.com/JKRabbMFT/

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A blog written by a hip, sometimes irreverent shrink who’s been around the block and calls it like it is

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