July 21, 2015

Balancing Family & Career: Women Do it Backwards and in High Heels.


“After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.”
~ Ann Richards

I love my husband. I really do.

Sixteen years into our marriage he still supports everything I love, encourages me to follow my aspirations and is a hands-on Dad.

For this I am exceedingly thankful.

But unknowingly, he (and I would argue most men) will never understand this fact: women do everything backwards and in high heels.

Just as Ann Richard’s well-known quote suggests, women can do all things men do, but it’s probably going take a little more skill and effort to do so.

This isn’t another essay extolling the virtues of “leaning in”, but rather a salute to us women for successfully living our lives and keeping it all together, despite being surrounded the cacophony of the everyday.

Women regularly launch businesses or build their corporate career while doing 15 loads of laundry, finding the perfect alphabet-corresponding item to go in this week’s show-and-tell secret sack and lovingly placing some form of dinner on the table every night.

Did I mention there was probably a toddler simultaneously melting down somewhere in this scenario?

Let’s add in a seven a.m. conference call as we’re getting the kids on the bus, just for good measure.

And it’s not limited to women working outside the home. As a mom of three boys I understand the required scheduling precision for a stay-at-home mom to single-handedly drop-off and pick-up numerous kids in different school carpool lines, deliver everyone to their activities with allergy-safe snacks and complete all of the other aforementioned to-dos because hey, what else are you doing today?

While you’re at it, don’t forget to squeeze-in 30 minutes of cardio and a bikini wax too to keep your marriage hot.

In contrast, most men operate with a singular-focus.

They can only take conference calls from home if there’s complete silence. In order for tasks like researching what time a movie is playing or balancing the checkbook to be completed, they need little to no interruptions from the peanut gallery. When Mom is out of town, they call in a village of reinforcements to assist.

Have you ever come home from a girls-night-out to find that the kids are in bed but there are dirty dishes from one side of the kitchen to the other from cooking one box of mac and cheese? You ask your husband if everything went okay while you were gone and he says,

“Yeah, why do you ask? I had to give the kids a bath. I mean, I’m good, right? The kids even got a bath.”

You nod and agree enthusiastically.

That brings me to why I’m sitting here surrounded by the aroma of stale popcorn in the din of a video arcade where I’ve crawled along the baseboards of the party room to find a hidden electrical outlet.

My kids have the day off from school and I’m crafting a business plan that’s due on Monday.

So I’m just taking a moment to say cheers to all the other women out there chasing their dreams, saving the world and raising their family.

Let’s never discount the mad multi-tasking skills we bring to the table every minute of the day and every day of the year. Let’s give ourselves some grace on the days when it doesn’t quite seem like we’ve got it all figured out.

I imagine Ginger Rogers logged thousands of practice hours before she perfected her routine, backwards in high heels.

We’ve got this!


For all Mothers–You are Warriors and you are Already Enough.


Author: Tammy Golden

Editor: Khara-Jade Warren

Image: Phil Hearing/ Flickr

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