This summer I made a difficult decision to take off work to spend time figuring out how I want to move forward with my life and how I want to spend my energy. I have been thoroughly enjoying it with my 8 year old. We have been all over the place; enjoying water, sun, and fun activities in the community. With this fun also comes guilt about my role in my finances, my marriage, and my role as a woman in general. I have NEVER been unemployed, even when I took 25 credit semesters in college with a toddler; I still had 2-3 part time jobs. I’ve had so much fear and anxiety from feeling like I would be labeled a “deadbeat and lazy” to fear that I would be shamed for “having a silver spoon, or privilege.” This fear kept me feeling like I had to do everything from keeping house to paying all the bills just to show that I was strong and worthy. These are only MY fears; because I have never even been close to being expected to pay the bills or even that I need to have the house a certain way. These are my own judgements on myself and my life, my own impossible expectations that I have tried and failed to live up to. There is so much confliction about working mom’s vs. stay-at-home moms, having children at all, being a single mother, and what we as women are supposed to do or not do. (I cannot put down my thoughts of being either a single-mom or a career woman because I have no experience on this, but for the sake of including all women you are being mentioned. So this is more geared towards the mother/wife role as that’s what I am.) How are we as women supposed to figure it all out? There are so many expectations of where women are supposed to fit and what our role is in society; when in fact women are so versatile and we CAN do so much. But that does not mean we have to! There is so much pressure to be the super-mom and the successful career woman; like we have to put ourselves wholly into so many different areas that we are so exhausted we can’t even make healthy choices for our bodies and our mental well-being. You cannot physically embody all the stigmas and expectations of what a woman “is.” Really though? Can we even fit into our day 8+ hrs of work, 2 hrs of exercise, cooking all our meals, keeping the house clean, spending time with our family, and somehow finding time to bathe, fix our hair, do our make-up, and getting 8-9 hours of sleep. Its exhausting even thinking about trying to do that everyday! We do not have to do it all, we do not have to be the everything to everyone in order to feel like we matter in this world. Learn to have realistic expectations for what you can actually do in order to be an effective force in your life, in your family’s life, and what you can really do as only one person. With so many unrealistic and fabricated portrayals of what the woman is; it’s hard to take a look at ourselves and say, “this is what I can do, this is what I can’t do, and I am ok with leaving the rest.” That being said, STOP JUDGING EACHOTHER based on what you see as an outsider because of your own perception! Each of us has a different role and a different life because of our choices and experiences. No woman has to be any kind of way in order for you to love and respect her as she is. We all make our choices and need to consciously start to respect, love, and honor one another. This is the way to bring us to a happy and healthy life. We can take back our power, we can uplift each-other, and we can be the confident powerful women that WE ALL ARE!