A few weeks back on my way home from my girl’s trip, I watched Life of the Party on the plane. It was pretty funny, so I made Ryan watch it when I got home because we have a habit of watching the same like 3 shows over and over again – mostly because we just don’t really have the ability to sit down and mentally watch something. When I want to turn the TV on, it is either for background noise or to shut my brain off and shows where I have to think or frankly even just be able to hear what they’re saying are a no go for me with a 3 year old and a 6 month old.
Life of the Party is pretty funny. It’s crass, super over the top and not really believable in many ways at all, but it’s pretty funny and it won’t kill you to spend 2 hours watching it. Would I buy it? Eh. But I mean, I don’t buy any movies so that’s not really saying much. In thinking about it more though, it really does have a great message – hear me out on this one.
The main character in this movie is dropping her daughter off to her senior year of college. She’s a stay at home mom type, spent her life taking care of her husband and her daughter. You learn a little bit more about her – she got pregnant in college and dropped out to work so they could make ends meet while her husband pursued his education and became the primary breadwinner. She planned to go back but I am guessing you can figure out that she never actually did.
Her husband dumps her in the car ride on the way home from dropping their daughter off at college, but not after reminding her a few times that she never finished. That the school her daughter was going to isn’t her alma mater because she didn’t graduate, etc. He’s a passive aggressive prick, that one.
There are people out there just like this woman. More than are willing to admit it probably.
They bow out on what they want in life because they’re taking care of their families. They spend every waking moment trying to make their household run only to finally get to the point where they can breathe – whether that be senior year of college or high school or what have you, only to have their husbands turn around and say they’re out and onto a newer model. They look back on their life wondering where they got lost in the shuffle of everything and why they never really did anything for themselves.
That’s not to say the years spent caring for their family weren’t well-spent. This isn’t a polarizing topic. But the notion that women cannot have it all in order to be good at anything still exists. It is out there. There are people actively telling themselves they can’t pursue their degree because they’ll have to take time away from their kids in order to complete it. The acts are selfless in and of themselves, but they’re also self-harming in some ways. If that’s what you really want to do, you should do it.
Watching the movie – while humorous, was also kind of sad in so many ways because I know there are people out there doing this exact thing. I watched it firsthand for many years of my own life. This notion needs to end. Everyone needs to make sacrifices, absolutely, but truly, there is an opportunity there to do something for yourself. So it isn’t school and maybe it is grocery shopping alone. Maybe it is doing something that makes you feel more like Sharon rather than “mom.” As long as it isn’t harming the people in your life, I don’t really see what the problem is.
We need to quit letting these ideas dictate what we do. It’s isn’t so obvious sometimes. I often do things without giving it much thought because I immediately am like “well, it just seemed like the best idea.” Did I ever bother to think why it might seem like the best idea? You can almost always drive an idea back to something environmental that might have caused you to think it. After all, you were exposed to it somewhere or you likely wouldn’t have even considered it in the first place. That my friends is a societal influence and while sometimes they’re absolutely worth their salt, sometimes they’re simply not and maybe what we’re doing does deserve a second thought.
I’m not suggesting you up and leave your family, your husband, what have you. I am just suggesting that maybe you don’t end up like the protagonist in this movie. Stop and think about what really makes you feel like you. You have an identity outside your family. Outside of the words “wife ” or “mom” or “husband” or “dad.” You have a name and you have things that make you tick. Do those things. Don’t lose who you are so that you have to rediscover yourself all over again years down the road. Don’t make life all about everyone else so that you don’t know what to do when it finally does become about you again. Don’t spend all your time doing for others such that your cup is empty. Do the things. You can do it.