FIRST THOUGHT: The Struggle is Real
I started watching this TV show that has basically every one of my favorite dude actors. It’s funny and different and definitely created by dudes. Wanna know how I know? One of the character’s wives who just had a baby waltzes in complaining about her postpartum bod, while exposing her sculpted abs in a crop top. I. Raged. I’m not being hyperbolic; I paused and proceeded to verbally rage to my fellow viewers, without a moment to catch my breath. It wasn’t long ago when pregnancy couldn’t be mentioned in front of a crowd, when having a baby was a women’s-only event. Shout out to all the real mamas who more closely resemble a Jell-O mold. Solidarity, sister.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 6 in 10
There’s no question that if you’re able to swing six weeks off of work after popping out a kid, that’s still not enough time. But another obstacle I never realized is figuring out what to do with said six-week-old baby once you have to return to your 9–5. Many childcare options won’t accept your 10-pound bundle of joy, even if you can afford that childcare. It’s no surprise, then, that six in 10 working mamas say balancing a career and a family is tough. Well, duh. I dare say that number should be 10. (I assume the other four moms just fell asleep during a webinar again.)
WOMAN TO WATCH: Marika Lindholm, Founder of Empowering Strong Moms Everywhere
Today’s Woman to Watch, Marika Lindholm, is one of those six in 10 moms. Born in Sweden and raised in NYC, Marika has a unique global perspective. She pursued issues of inequality and gender as a professor. Life was smooth sailing, for the most part, as she found a balance between taking care of her young kids and pursuing her career. Then, she went through a rocky divorce.
Following the divorce, Marika felt guilty, demoralized and sick from a blood disorder. As Marika explains, here she was: this strong, independent woman who could do it all, but life’s punches were making her feel alone and scared. Since Marika had studied and taught about sociology, she knew that divorce had a way of upending a woman’s life.
That’s why she started Empowering Strong Moms Everywhere (AKA ESME). There are several facets of being a solo mom that must be acknowledged as we further women’s rights, like co-parenting with your ex-spouse, earning enough income and “indulging” in self-care. ESME hopes to be the place women come to for support through events, online friendship and resources.
ESME asks solo moms what they’re in need of and delivers it. It’s kind of the equivalent of walking over to your neighbor and asking for a cup of sugar. The fact that most of us wouldn’t feel comfortable doing such a thing now, though, explains just how isolated we have become—solo parents, in particular.
One mom who participates in ESME describes the feeling of wanting to do it all, of wanting to give her kid everything, and then some. That’s a recipe for disaster, and a draining one at that. Marika offers five ways you can help a solo mama friend: Compliment her parenting skills, chill on the judgment, cook her and her kiddos a meal, watch her baby for an hour and ask her how you can be more supportive.
Chances are you know at least one woman who’s parenting alone or with little help. Text her now. Ask her what she needs from you and deliver. After all, women are stronger together.
Women empower other women, but self-empowerment is just as important. Check out the three things Marika Lindholm has learned about self-empowerment that are worth considering as you hustle through your busy life by clicking here or heading over to OnTheDotWoman.com!
QUITE THE QUOTE
Marika Lindholm said:
"True empowerment comes from doing what you love with passion and efficacy. ... So go do you!"