When I sat down to write this post, I labored over how I could articulate my points. How could I communicate the need to take care of myself when society forces the ideals that if women spend one minute to themselves then they are doomed to be bad wives, mothers, and businesswomen? Images of women who look Beyonce flawless, have perfect Instafamous children, and master overnight sensation businesses circulate social media, influencing the minds of our peers. If we don’t meet the standards of the Teyana Taylor post baby snap back or fervently support our men via Twitter while simultaneously building our own empires like Ayesha Curry, then somehow we aren’t doing enough. As a wife, businesswoman, and handler of all things in my family’s empire, I had to come to terms with two things: (1) social media is not a true depiction of someone’s life; and (2) the grind does NOT matter if you aren't healthy enough to enjoy it.
The Trap of Social Media
Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Vine have all tremendously influenced the growth of businesses, strengthened familial connections and increased societal awareness of issues but these platforms have also harvested the culture of comparison. Hours or even moments of scrolling through our accounts often leads to the temptation of comparing our lives to those images and videos. We begin to question ourselves. Why aren’t we at the same point in our lives as someone who may have started something after us or at the same time? How can she workout, cook gourmet meals, and still run a business without looking tired? Then we start doubting ourselves and applying the pressure to do more and be better. What we so easily forget is that social media often portrays the absolute best of us. No one wants to present the worst of themselves for the world to see. So we work tirelessly to build a brand that can withstand the slightest criticism. Admittedly my weakness, as I triumph infertility, was comparing my life with those wives who were pregnant. At one point I was convinced that everyone was pregnant and that somehow I was behind the curve which inevitably put a damper on my journey to motherhood. I wasn’t living for my moment and instead was living for theirs. My error was to assume that I knew these ladies' stories. Just like I have a journey, they have one too, and I couldn’t waste time and energy chasing someone else’s promise. I decided to stay in my lane and focus on me and not the progress of others.
One of the most profound revelations I’ve had since becoming a businesswoman was understanding that “the grind doesn’t matter if you aren’t healthy enough to enjoy it.” When I say healthy I’m not just referring to the physical aspect but the overall health of your life. From your mental well-being to the health of your marriage, you have to evaluate the effects of the grind on what really matters. The grind also includes the grind of trying to be a perfect wife and mother. There’s no such thing as the perfect mother or marriage—if anyone tells you there is then they are living in a land of lollipops and rainbows. As women, we are so tempted to try to do everything. We run ourselves into the ground and very rarely taking a moment to just breathe. We have to remember that if we aren’t ok then our families aren’t ok. I have to remind myself on a daily basis to take a moment just for me. Whether it’s to meditate, workout or pray, it’s my time to not serve others but to serve myself. The world will not end, everything will not crash and burn, and the critiques simply won’t matter.
So ladies, whether it’s five minutes or an hour, take time daily to just focus on yourself because you deserve it!
For information on how to start a business or non-profit, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tenisha Patterson Brown, Esq., Forever Fierce, Fabulous & Flawless