This article was written by Julie Batliner, President of Carmichael Lynch and Carmichael Lynch Relate.
Did you watch the 2021 Academy Awards on Sunday? I watched some of it and realized that despite being home and having the option to stream the films, I’d been so busy taking Teams meetings, making dinners, tutoring my kids, and refreshing my screen waiting for a vaccine appointment to open up during the past year that I’d only seen one of the films up for consideration for Best Picture. Plus, seeing Zendaya in that amazing yellow Valentino gown and Riz Ahmed in his dapper Prada suit reminded me how much of the past year I’ve spent in a Teams-worthy shirt on top and yoga pants and Converse on the bottom.
Like many of us, though, I miss dressing up and going out. I’d love to head to the Oscars and be wrapped in some Hollywood glitz. What if I was on the red carpet and could hear comments from the audience. “Did you see her in that horror pic about the pandemic, ‘The Woman Who Slayed the Virus?’” onlookers might say as I emerged from my limo. “She amazingly boosted team productivity at work, dazzled jaded clients, motivated tired employees, and ALWAYS had her camera on during conference calls! I heard she learned how to sew just so she could make masks.”
After the ceremony, I would announce that I was having my award auctioned off for charity to support frontline workers, who should be making a red carpet appearance for the movie, “The Real Heroes of 2020.”
Like most gauzy daydream sequences, however, this one comes to a screeching halt when reality intrudes. I’m still at home in front of my laptop. In my tennis shoes. It’s late and tomorrow there will be more laundry to fold, masks to wash, and emails to read. The facts suggest I’m not the only one who thinks the running time on “COVID-19: The Never-Ending Journey” could be significantly cut. According to a new analysis conducted by Great Place to Work and health-care start-up Maven, roughly 9.8 million working mothers in the United States are suffering from workplace burnout.
Like most working moms experiencing late-stage pandemic fatigue, my name won’t be in the opening credits when “Superwoman 2021” eventually makes it into theaters. No one will ever look back and wonder if “Persevering Woman” was actually the original working title for a film about my life during the past year.
Hold on. Cut! Let me rewrite. What if… what if…
What if we working moms gave ourselves credit for all the small things? For cameo appearances? For walk-on roles and stunt work? What if our names filled the credits at the end of the movie? Remember that hour you spent counseling a colleague on the phone while he talked through a problem? (Best Supporting Role!) Or the ideas you offered to your kids when they needed to vent and release some cabin-fever frustrations? (Best Redirection!). The person who asked you for help on LinkedIn who you introduced to two other people? (Best Casting Director!) The time you took over lunch to schedule your mom for a vaccine? The question you asked that made an idea better? None of these things would ever earn someone an Oscar, but there’s a reason all those names are listed at the end of a movie: Every person played a small part in making a bigger story come to life. Imagine for a moment all the big parts you’ve played in the scenes of someone else’s life. Were you kind? Thoughtful? Helpful? Motivational? Give yourself credit. Did you help someone de-stress or solve a problem? Give yourself another credit. Keep going, and going, and going. Count the credits and applaud your performance, no matter how seemingly small the role. Don’t stop until the lights come up.