“You Go, Girl!”


I was watching my favorite morning show when a woman came on to discuss useful products that the viewer could get for discounted prices. The skinny, well dressed, tan woman then said, “I’m a mother of four, and every Sunday, I cook all day for the week ahead.” And I said, “oh, shut up.” Out loud and to myself because I was the only one home. I thought something like, well, I’m a mom of four and go to church every Sunday, lead youth group every other week, and also take a nap when I can. The disdain I felt for this woman I didn’t know was rapid and intense. The level of dislike I felt kind of startled me. 

But then I realized I’d encountered a similar issue recently. My husband Ben was an early follower of Iowa point guard Caitlin Clark. He’s watched her for three years now, not like the new fans she found in the recent NCAA Women’s March Madness. I, on the other hand, have not really been a fan of Clark’s. Intellectually, I know Ben loves great basketball, and he admires her skills.  It’s not like she’s a supermodel posting bikini pics on TikTok. She’s just really talented and brings intensity and passion to the game.

 During the NCAA tournament, though, I realized I was jealous. Jealous of a 21-year-old young woman in another state who can play basketball. Jealous of the tv lady because she seemed so organized with her family and career. And then I felt guilty. I pride myself on being a supporter of women. I’m supposed to champion women’s successes, especially when they break into male dominated fields. My 17-year-old son Jed even suggested that women’s sports are not as popular because women don’t want to watch women play. He might be right. Because it’s hard to watch and cheer when you feel that spark of jealousy flare. 

I can support all women in theory, but in reality, I struggle with it. I have all sorts of signs and quotes that I’ve collected extolling the virtues of women’s empowerment. “Her success doesn’t lessen yours.” “Women support women.” I talk a good game but my follow through is less than perfect. 

I’ve tried to teach my children that we can’t necessarily control our initial thoughts about a situation, but we can manage and improve our reactions after the first one passes. So, I need to work on what I do after my jealousy shows up. Instead of feeding the jealous thoughts, I can step back and remember that my goal is to encourage women, not tear them down. And thankfully, I have a husband and sons who will call me out when I’m not being kind to other women. Feminism is alive and well at my home. I just need a reminder sometimes. 

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