A new series centered on real girl chat.
This series is a conversation. A chat between girlfriends about the pressures and challenges we face. It’s a space where you’ll only get honest answers and real talk. There’s no judgment, no harassment, and no pressure to conform to each other’s ideas. Women are portrayed as catty way too often when I find it to be the opposite. This series will shed light on the beautiful side of women’s friendship. I want to share parts of my friendships in hopes to change the image of how women communicate with one another.
I’ve started this series off with the woman who inspired me to create it: Haley H. Full of light and love, she’s empowering in the smallest of ways. Morning coffee chats over cute shoes turned into lunch talks over current events and eventually to regular margarita-induced girl chats about everything under the sun. Haley stands in her truth and knows her purpose.
During our latest dinner date, we started discussing her role as a working wife. She recently got a promotion she wasn’t expecting and is getting use to her new work/life balance. I’m always intrigued by that because I, obviously, do not live that life. We also live in the South, where women are often pressured to be barefoot and pregnant right after the honeymoon. When I asked Haley how she dealt with mounting pressure to start a family, she immediately alluded to that notion. I loved what she said, so here’s a bit of our latest girl chat.
“At first, I was just offended because I thought, ‘I’m 22 years old. There’s a reason T-Swift wrote a song about this year in life, and she’s definitely not singing about having babies!’” she says as she takes a sip of her wine.
“I actually take this opportunity with folks now to say, ‘You know, with 100 working hours between my husband and I each week, we don’t even have time for a dog, much less a baby.’ Humor seems to be the easiest way to deter people in the moment. We laugh about it for the most part, but in all honesty, it’s a shame people assume that’s our plan. I spent 4 years earning a degree, and I want to use it! Whenever I started dating my husband, I made it very clear from the beginning that I wanted to have a career. He was not only okay with this but fell even harder for me because I had a vision for my life and wasn’t going to let anything get in my way.”
“Hells yes. Is it hard standing in that?”
“When you’re making the right decision for you, it eventually just stops bothering you that people don’t understand your life needs are being fulfilled differently than theirs. When you’re centered around the idea that it’s your life, and your opinion is the only one that matters, everything else just stops mattering.”
I automatically think of her husband, whose unyielding support towards her career is so cute to me. After I order another glass of wine, I just ask “How happy are you that David is so awesome?”
“When I say I’m the luckiest girl in the world, I believe that with all of my heart. My husband is really good and pointing out my strengths and celebrating them.”
I interrupt her, “Fucking adorable.”
She laughs, “Yes, agreed. Since we’re both managers, he knows what the good and the bad look like in other managers. So, whenever he sees me succeeding in my business, he gives me specific compliments that keep me going. In addition to this, when he knows I’m having a rough couple of days in a row, he makes me feel special by doing chores he knows I’d otherwise start working on as soon as I get home so I don’t have to worry about it. It really is the little things he does to show me how much he appreciates me, and he really believes in what I’m working towards. It empowers me to keep going, plus it helps me relax while I’m home.”
“Your husband is husband goals for a feminist. Amazing.”
We pause to order our entrees then commence to a bit of chatter about mutual friends. A few people we use to work with got engaged, both of which I don’t regularly speak to so we discussed the details. I’m nosey, my bad.
“So, would you actually consider yourself a feminist? You know, the word has such a negative connotation. You find a lot of women shying away from the label.”
“I am a feminist because I care about equality and freedom. If there’s a person that can honestly say they don’t care about those things, can we kick them out of our country, please? I think the word has too negative a reputation, but very few people would say they don’t believe in those two movements.”
“Agreed. I’m still not sure why people can’t wrap their minds around feminism. To me, it’s an extremely simple concept. There’s a lot of rhetoric about feminism that’s just not true. Do you think media helps or hinders?”
She snapped her fingers then said, “Women are currently faced with a unique milestone in history. We have more rights than we’ve ever had in America, yet there’s so much more we feel we have to fight for. Do women do enough in the media? I think it depends on the woman. I honestly don’t know that any woman has nailed what feminism is about better than Emma Watson, and yet she was thrown to the wolves for her photo shoot where she showed more skin than some were comfortable with.”
“They massacred recently over one photo out of an entire editorial spread. I don’t get it.” I interject.
“Women who care about the feminist movement just want everyone else to understand that it’s about freedom and equality. Women who grossly detest the feminist movement think we’ve already got all the rights we need and should be humble. Personally, I fall in the middle. I live a comfortable life as an American woman and I know I have it so much easier than women in third world countries, so I feel too guilty to complain.”
“I also understand how unfair it is that we make $0.70 to the male $1.00. I’ll leave it at this: If I had a media platform where millions of little girls were watching me, looking for answers to the question of their self-worth, I’d want to teach them to believe they’re worth just as much as the boys in their class at school, and that they’re very fortunate to live in a country where she’s allowed to believe this. I think that’s about as fair an assessment of what the media should be doing as it gets.”
We nod at each other. “I get that,” I say. “There is so much work that needs to be done for those who have it worse, too. But you’re super girl power. Isn’t the majority of your staff female?”
“Yep, and in a male-dominated business. Because that in itself proves that we can do anything men do. I interview everyone on a fair playing field no matter what, but I think the most important part of all of this is that I don’t shy away from hiring females. Women are terrible about saying we don’t get along with other women, but that’s a cop out.”
I’m pretty sure at this point I start doing the real-life praise hands. Who isn’t over the ‘women hate all women’ steoreotype?
As we start to wrap up our meals, I suggest a quick round of questions.
Top role models?
“JK Rowling, Shonda Rhimes, Emma Watson, Sandra Chapman (an intracompany mentor), Joyce Meyer, and of course, my Momma.”
Books for young women?
“The Bottom Line, a magazine that covers all hot topics in every category of world news, from groundbreaking new medical research to which car you can get the best deal on. Strength Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath. I firmly believe in good literature about finding your own strengths in life so you can better understand how to best approach situations. This book even comes with a code where you take a quiz to determine your top 5 strengths, and how to use them to your advantage.”
Advice for young wives trying to find themselves?
It is so difficult to not lose it when someone starts judging you for having a career instead of children, but try to remember that not everyone believes you can find joy without the 1950’s family model. Stand in your truth.
What are your struggles with balance?
For young wives, what’s your biggest challenge?
Leave your thoughts below! We would love to hear what you think about this series, and if it’s something you want to read.
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