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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Smith: HER

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It’s Women’s History Month, a time when we celebrate women who have contributed to historical events and to present day society. I love seeing all the social media posts, blogs, events, TV segments and panel discussions that highlight us and our dedication and accomplishments to society. 

But in this column, I’d like to take the time to celebrate the women who may not be acknowledged on the big screen, via social media, have an amazing LinkedIn profile or no profile at all, or have various accolades and awards. 

There are single moms, who really are the supersheroes, who work two to three jobs to feed their little ones and then come home to help their babies with homework, get them showered, tucked in, and wake up to start breakfast a few hours later.

There is the woman who is trying to keep her home tidy, work out to maintain her sanity, health and sexy shape, pay the bills, attempt to eat healthy, aspires to do well professionally and strives to get eight hours of sleep.

There is the Black woman who works two times and sometimes three times harder at work just to get the recognition and/or respect from her colleagues.

There is also a woman across the world and in our backyard, who is making a major impact in her home and local community and sometimes her purpose alters in the blink of an eye. I often shop on Etsy and recently purchased a pair of earrings from a woman-owned business in Ukraine. In fact, the earrings arrived on my doorstep three days before Russia invaded Ukraine. Part of her purpose before the war was making sure other women looked and felt beautiful. Sure, I have my new piece of jewelry that I absolutely adore, but I can’t stop thinking about how her purpose practically shifted overnight. I recently went on her Etsy shop to look for more jewelry, but it’s no longer for sale. At this point in time, her purpose is survival and protecting her family.

As women, we tend to feel like we have to have all the answers. But guess what? We don’t. Sure, we are innovative and resilient, but we do not have to do this thing called life alone.

Whether you know (or are) a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, all women deserve to be praised for the life, whether physical or metaphorical, they’ve birthed into this world. We carry so much on our shoulders. But I’m here to tell you that you are enough. It’s OK to take a breath or have a weekend away in a hotel by yourself. No workouts. No children. No one to answer to … eating pizza and brownies in bed watching your favorite Netflix movie. It’s OK to ask for help. It’s OK to give yourself grace. Because if you don’t take care of you, what do all those achievements and awards really mean? 

No matter your story. No matter your adversity. You are phenomenal. Celebrate yourself. Celebrate each other. Men — celebrate the her in your life. You never know what she may need to hear.

Leslie Nicole Smith is an executive in higher ed administration, a motivator and community leader.

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