Monday, December 4, 2017

I Think I'm a Princess

I think I'm a princess.

I read my children books about Malala and Rosa Parks and Ada Twist and Elizabeth Blackwell. We watched Katherine Johnson get men to the moon, in spite of the men on the ground. They still haven't seen Cinderella.

We conduct science experiments and do math problems for fun because science and math are awesome. Especially when you're a girl. And you need them when you want to change the world.

I try not to do for my children what they are capable of doing for themselves.   

I wear jeans everyday until pajama time because I can do ALL THE THINGS in jeans all while feeling comfortable in my skin. Sometimes I wear pajamas until pajama time. I have never worn heels in my entire life and cannot for the life of me understand why that could be considered a good idea. When I wear tinted chap stick, the kids ask why I'm so dressed up.

I firmly believe that women and men are equally capable of working inside and outside the home in a fluid and fluctuating interchange. At the moment I work at home to raise my children because I want to and because I'm the one whose body makes milk and because we're okay with barely scraping by and because our life circumstances allow for it. Also, it's the most challenging, hardest job I can imagine and I believe I can do hard things.  I believe my happiness depends on doing hard things.

When my husband cleans the kitchen at the end of the day and tells me that he 'did the dishes for me,' I remind him that he did them for our family. And that we both work 24 hours a day, but he splits his time between two jobs and I stick with just the one.
The never-ending, endlessly rewarding, endlessly exhausting one.

Sometimes I thank him when I am genuinely grateful for all that he does, and often I don't because when he does the laundry or cleans the bathrooms or braids the girls' hair, he isn't doing me a favor. He's just doing his job. OUR job.

And when he doesn't do those dishes, I fight hard against the tendency towards resentment, knowing that if he could, he would. (I only know this because he has told me repeatedly for ten years and I am just starting to believe him.)(Damn 'feminist' mindset making me see injustice even where there is none.)

Also, if its okay for him to say, 'I just can't tonight,' it's okay for me to say that too. And that, my fellow ladies, is probably the most liberating thing you can do for yourself. Stop. doing. more. than. you. can. Resentment doesn't come when your partner isn't pulling their weight. Resentment comes when you take it upon yourself to pull more than you are capable of pulling, and then blame your partner.

When Oprah asked Elizabeth Gilbert what her secret to happiness was last week in an interview, her answer was: 'No happiness without self accountability.'

"Who are you going to blame your life on today?" she asked. "There is only weakness to be had in waiting for somebody to change it for you... It is the weakest position you can stand in. I'm in charge of this person. Whatever happens out there is none of my business. I'm in charge of this soul that was given to me to take care of. And I accept 100% accountability for this soul."

This. This is why I surround my children--and especially my girls--with examples of humans--and especially women--who took the souls they were given and honored the purpose for which they were created.

And yet their mother--their first and arguably most important example--thinks she's a princess.
I didn't know I thought this until I found myself standing at the kitchen sink the other night, washing dishes, suddenly awash in sadness. It's nothing new. Just the soul saying you could have done better today with what you were given. A healthy signal necessary to correct tomorrow's trajectory. That sadness used to morph into anger. Because blaming my husband for not doing x, y, or z was easier than owning my own feelings and acting on them. I still blame him sometimes, but I like to think I'm inching toward that 100% accountability.

This night though, there was no anger. The sadness stayed sad. I noticed myself listening very closely for the sounds of my husband's footsteps coming down the hall. Waiting for him to notice my sadness. Waiting for him to rescue me.  

I'm Rapunzel, clinging fiercely to my own burdensome braid, waiting and hoping my prince will magically appear at the window to rescue me from my sadness, depression, anger, fear, dissatisfaction, discontent.

I'm letting go now. I'm cutting that braid loose. I'm tired of waiting.  I'm finding my own damn way out of this tower.



  1. Laurel! I’m not even sure how I came across this blog but we have mutual friends and I am a Baha’i mom living in dallas,TX. What a beautiful post and exactly what I needed right now. Thank you for this gem! ❤️

  2. So amazing Laurel. Absolutely beautiful.