Money and profile are not my indicators of success

Here’s another woman whose advice I wont be paying much attention to. Her name is Samantha Ettus and I only know she exists because I read an article about her yesterday which probably gave her all the exposure she wanted. She clearly writes to alienate, in fact she quite smugly suggested she’s already getting hate mail and the book she’s written isn’t even out. Goals.

I’m not after hating on a woman whose opinions differ to mine but I do want to challenge some of the ideas she offered, particularly her core message which is that all women should work. “I have yet to meet a woman who is completely fulfilled without keeping up her career,” Ettus says in an article published in The New York Post. “There are plenty of women who claim to be happy without a career, but two glasses of chardonnay in, you will find a well of dissatisfaction. Where you see a woman who is not in an independent pursuit of her own life goals, you’ll likely find an anxious child, an over-perfected home, a marriage out of balance and a school administrator who wishes this woman would get a job.”

I cannot refute Ettus’s claims; who knows? She could hang out with really miserable, dissatisfied women with anxious children. But I do know that what any other woman does with her life or how she chooses to work or parent has nothing to do with me. It cannot affect my parenting and it sure as hell won’t affect my work.

I didn’t work when my son was young and he shows no signs of anxiety, my marriage is very well balanced and my son’s school was delighted with my input. Maybe Samantha Ettus needs to have a coffee with me so she can claim to have met that one person…

But I digress

Although I will have probably forgotten who she is by tomorrow afternoon and what she said by the day after, I do find it sad that there is such a perceived lack of value placed on everything other than career in general. Why do people assume income or profile is the only index of success?

To me success is equated with much more than career. Success is seeing your goals achieved, your aspirations met.

My child is a good person. He is smart and funny and kind and compassionate. He is loving and generous and has the most brilliant sense of humour (albeit some of it a bit heavy on puns).

To me that is success. To have got through the crying and the teething, the tweens and the tantrums, to have navigated the social stuff and the emotional stuff, the academic stuff and the behavioural stuff and all the other stuff in between and to have come out happy at the end. That is my version of success.

I’d happily write a book about it, but I’m not sure how it happened. I’m also not sure that what worked for us will work for anyone else. It was probably part luck and part damn hard parenting work, because whatever Samantha Ettus says parenting takes a lot of work. And quite frankly I am damn proud to do that.

What is your version of success?

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