“Lean In”…a little closer…a little closer…


I’m done with this ‘conversation.’ Because it’s not a true conversation. In order to have one of those, it has to go both ways. Not me being told what to do by women who have more opportunity and privilege coming out of their ears than I’ve had my entire life.

And I’m pretty damn privileged.

All women behave differently in their careers. Some are the quiet types that get things done behind the scenes. Some are the loud, brassy, take-control types that get in there and kick ass and kick it hard. Some women sit at the board room table arms folded and others take notes. Some sit at the head of the table and tell others what to do.

Some of these women have families. They may have waited until later in life, they may have had children young, they may be in the midst of having children in the middle of their careers.

Now lean in one more time so I can tell you a little secret…closer…closer…!SMACK!


They work because they MUST. They rely on daycare or family and friends to watch after their kids because it is the only option they can afford.

Their choices are not like my choices. They are certainly not like Sheryl Sandberg’s or Marissa Mayer. And when they MAKE those choices, if there is a choice to be made, they are scrutinized up, down, left, right sideways….you get the idea.

When is the last time a man was scrutinized for his decision to put career first? The last time a man put his family first I believed the words ‘forward thinking,’ ‘courageous,’ and ‘whatta guy’ were heard. Figures, right?

I think those men should lean in as well. Closer…a bit closer…just a little bit closer…!SMACK!

I’ve had it. You’d think anytime a man decided to actual parent he should get a medal. While anytime a woman decided to start a company and lean in to make sure her employees do what is best for the company while she misses a volunteer opp at the PTA she has committed a felony.

The bottom line is we can lean in, we can lean out and we will still lose. We can fight for flex work hours for PARENTS (not MOTHERS…PARENTS) and remote offices and all the things that make it easier to be a working parent in this country and yet there will STILL be arguments. Some will agree, some won’t. Some will lean in and some will lean out.

We’re all different. We all have different goals and different ways of working. Some of us want children, some of us don’t. Some of us want to run the company, some of us are content to get our paycheck and live a less demanding life.

So spare me your lean in bullshit. This has nothing to do with leaning in or where you work or if you parent like a PTA Boss or a drop-in nanny. What matters is YOU have the CHOICE. So many do not. So many have zero choices. They scrape by every day just trying to make enough money and just trying to spend enough time with their kids.

Let’s not worry so much about leaning in, I’m tired of it. I’m tired of the judging on who has leaned in, who should have leaned in, and who should have chosen to lean in and didn’t…that’s enough. ENOUGH. Because most do NOT HAVE THE CHOICE to lean in. They aren’t even at the table. So screw leaning in, let’s worry more about helping out, putting women in positions to make those choices and then standing by them, NOT judging them, when they do.


  1. Yes! Brava! Thank you!

  2. I’ve no idea who is being a close-eyed smack-deserver–

    but yes, Brava, well-said, and thank you.

  3. You might enjoy reading what my friend Nilofer has to say on this topic http://nilofermerchant.com/2013/03/11/thoughts-personal-and-professional-on-sandbergs-new-book-lean-in/

  4. As usual, you get the last word on this one. SMACK!

  5. Amen. I swear the media has “annual judgefest on motherhood” on their editorial calendars. Apparently the budget sequester wasn’t getting enough click-throughs, so they had to bait women into judging each other.

  6. Great…now go make me a sandwich.

  7. Why is it ok for a woman to “Smack!”? If you were a man, women like you would be outraged at that. Men are judged all the time in very similar ways. The difference is that good men and women that believe they are doing the right thing for their families don’t let that kind of judgement get in the way of what they need to do. When you learn to do that you will go beyond just “leaning in” to “pushing through”, then “getting the job done”, and finally “succeeding”. Stop complaining and just “Do it!” Women (and men) that go all the way learned very early that whiners don’t win.

  8. Awesome Post, Really Enjoyed it….

  9. Way to blame men….cause we wrote the “Lean In” book.

    Yes, men and women make different choices. Men get it easier/different in some ways….so do women.

    How many women are ridiculed for living at home?
    How many men can express their emotions fully?
    Men feeling safe being a kindergarten teacher?

    Grow up, and stop whining.

  10. I never could have expected that being a parent is such an incredibly political act. Every decision that I make or don’t make, do I work or not, choose daycare or a nanny, use a babycarrier or a stroller, nurse or bottle, crib or bedshare, on and on, every choice feels like a political statement.
    The thing is, I am lucky. And like you said, most women are not.
    I struggle with these books like Lean IN – and statements that imply that ‘you can have it all.’ It just isn;t true for the majority of parents in our county. And its not because they don’t try hard enough or want it enough. It is because our public policies make it so freakin difficult. Our public policies keep mothers and caregivers on the edge of poverty, fearful that the next surprise bill just might push them over the edge. Its so f’d up that we imply it is a matter of choice – and can’t talk about the fact that we, as a County, are the reason that it is SO hard to be a parent, a mother, a woman, a caregiver. It is OUR policies that need to change before anything else can change.
    I am grateful everyday for the amazing incredible support I have from my immediate and extended family, my boss (who is the boss of bosses), our caregivers, friends, etcccc. I a grateful that I have the choice to work, the finances to hire help in our home. And I think everyday about the 99% of other parents who are struggling to get by, working two full time jobs, with childcare that is less than ideal, riding the knifes edge.
    Sorry for the rant – but thank you for the place to write out these thoughts that have been festering inside me. I love your blog Ms Queen 🙂

Speak Your Mind