Loretta LaRoche: For women, success can be a curse as well as a blessing

Loretta LaRoche

I got married for the first time when I was just shy of 20. I was in college and also working part time to pay for books and sundries. We had gotten engaged when I was 16, so I had quite a while to save and prepare for what I thought was going to be a fairy-tale life.

Shortly after I got married, I got pregnant with my first child. In fact, my son attended my graduation in his baby carriage. Two other children followed shortly thereafter. My dreams of a career were sidelined in deference to being a stay-at-home mom. At that time in history, that’s what the majority of women did. My time was spent cooking, cleaning and taking care of junior. However, I had the unfortunate need to be a perfectionist. Nothing was ever clean enough or good enough to pass my inspection.

Whenever I talk to women who have the same mindsets, I’m reminded of how insane I was. My fairy tale ended with a divorce, and as a result I had to seek employment in order to stay financially afloat. My ex did his part, but I definitely had to pitch in. Now I was working and also parenting and managing a home.

Over the years, this lifestyle has continued, and in many ways escalated. My success in my field of interest burgeoned, and although it has been a blessing in many ways, it can often be a curse.

Being a successful woman often brings a lot of angst. The time spent away on the road, writing books, and trying to manage one’s health, home, family and friends is often daunting.

The family may be at odds with the time you spend away from them, and rightfully so, but women will add the burden of guilt to their already overburdened lives, whereas men are free from those types of feelings.

We may “have come a long way, baby,” as an old cigarette commercial once touted, but we have also managed to create lives that take a lot of work. What often goes by the boards is self-care. I have often parroted to women in my groups “that if you don’t take care of yourself, it’s harder to take care of anyone else.”

Yes, men are helping out more on the home front, but let’s face it, we are still primarily the domestic goddesses, and now we can add the worker-bee role. What I really think we need are wives. Ones that attend the June Cleaver Institute. Then we just might be able to lay on our sofas with a glass of wine and a good book.

The Patriot Ledger