I Don’t Wanna Lean In

Hey there! I’m busy getting ready for a fun-filled yet relaxing Thanksgiving holiday and birthday celebration for my youngest. So, in lieu of writing something original and driving myself insane with “deadline anxiety”, I thought I would recycle a post from my personal blog. I hope you enjoy this rant-style entry about the trials and tribulations of having it all. Spoiler alert: you can’t.

During a recent Netflix scavenger hunt to find something – anything – the whole family could agree upon to watch during enforced family time, I noticed a decided lack of female comedians in the standup genre. When I thought about it, I had to admit that most, no ALL of the standup comedy that my husband and I consumed was by male comedians. Well, that just wouldn’t do, especially because I’m working on developing my feminist sensibilities and this aggression would not stand!

So, I decided to check out Ali Wong’s Baby Cobra and it did not disappoint. From sex, to marriage, to pregnancy, to stereotypes, she covered a lot of ground with a gross (soooo groooosss!) clarity I actually found refreshing. (This is the part where I should probably mention this is NOT a candidate for family movie night, but do yourself a favor and check her out when the kids are in bed). Anyhoo, she has this whole bit about her dream of being a housewife and how she trapped her Harvard-business-school-husband into marrying her so she would be set for life.

Not the narrative we’ve bought into, amiright ladies? We’re supposed to have careers and be our husbands peers, so what the hell is this tiny, hilarious, Asian woman selling? It gets better when she accuses Sheryl Sandberg of ruining everything with her book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. It’s all about how women are held back in the workplace, and how WE can change the conversation, and reach goals and stuff.

SO, full disclosure: I haven’t read the book and probably won’t (and if you want to know why I’ll have to share that some other time, but hey here’s a quote from the book that might solve the mystery: “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask what seat, just get on.” WTF does that even mean, Sheryl?! No one’s letting me on a rocket.) The point I want to make here is I’M WITH ALI!!! I don’t wanna lean in.


I’ve tried the whole work/life balance thing and I’m with the Sandberg naysayers when I proclaim you cannot have it all. Don’t get me wrong; I know plenty of badass women who work their tushies off and have successful careers and a family (and whose net worth isn’t in the 1.3 billion range – yes, Sheryl, I’m looking at you!) I just don’t think any of them would tell me they never had to make a sacrifice they really didn’t want to make, whether it was at the office or at home, and that they had no regrets about it. And that’s where I landed late last year when I decided to quit working so I could spend more time with my kids.

But here’s the really effed up part – I feel like just being a mom isn’t ok. I’m so hardwired (read: brainwashed) to believe I can’t NOT do something besides raise my children that I feel like a failure if I’m not up to my eyeballs in commitments. Sitting on boards, volunteering at the kids’ schools, trying to start my own non-profit, starting a work from home business…it’s mostly just my response to the Lean In challenge, only now, no one is paying me to work my ass off. And logically, I get how messed up this is. But existentially, I’m struggling.

The good news is that putting this stuff “out there” means I can own my crazy and start working on being in-love with doing absolutely nothing on a Tuesday morning if I wanna. But the bad news is, I can’t be the only mom who feels this way, and I kinda wanna organize a book burning party and Fahrenheit 451 some self-help hardcovers. In the meantime, I think the solution to my self-sabotaging behavior will definitely include more female comedy, so I’m off to check out Cristela Alonzo, because Sheryl has ruined white women for me.


Featured image credit: Bethany Legg via Unsplash

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