We Have a Right to Say, “I’m Tired.”
As I write this essay, I am three months pregnant with my third child. I am thrilled to be blessed with a third child on the way, but I am also exhausted. And I can’t help but regularly ponder the notion that we, as a society, simply ask too much of women.
As is the case with most working women while pregnant, there is an expectation that I continue successfully performing my job until I am officially on maternity leave. For the last three months I have been nauseous 90 percent of each day, and I have been struggling to stay awake. I have had to dig deep to do the minimum at my job and, no matter how hard I work, I feel like I am underperforming.
My husband once said that it seems when women won the fight for rights in the workplace, we really won the right to a second job (albeit a paid one). According to a recent Forbes article, women are eight times more likely than men to take time off from work to care for sick children or manage their children’s schedules. Despite this obvious inequity, as women, we often work tirelessly to not appear distracted by family obligations or otherwise less than fully committed to our professions.
When I think back to how far professional women have come, and how much women have fought for the rights that many of us now take for granted, I am so proud. But I also think that long history has provided us with another often unrecognized right: the right to say, “I’m tired. I’m tired of wearing heels. I’m tired of spending countless hours styling my hair and finding the “right” clothes to wear. I’m tired of being assumed to be the primary caregiver. And I’m tired of pretending that this pregnancy is not completely exhausting me.”
I personally am more than committed to my job and my family. I love being a lawyer and I love being a mom. But I am also human, and the expectations and standards to which we hold women are unacceptably heavy. It is time for women to stand up and proudly say, “We are tired!”