Last week, in an interview with Garage magazine, Beyoncé revealed that her greatest achievement was giving birth to her daughter, Blue Ivy.
This statement was met with disbelief and criticism. For some or other reason, a lot of people felt that a wildly successful artist and performer (she’s won 20 Grammys - yes, TWENTY) couldn’t possibly say childbirth was more noteworthy than professional successes. After all, almost anyone can pop out a baby, right?
I know you can’t see me, but trust me when I say that I’m rolling my eyes SO HARD right now.
I mean talk about a double standard. If Jay Z had said that his greatest achievement was fatherhood, people would be applauding him straight into next week. But when a successful woman says motherhood is the most important thing in her life she must be lying right? Or selling out? Or betraying the cause?
People measure achievement using various types of external criteria. And a lot of these criteria are flawed. (This is, incidentally, why bankers earn more than nurses or teachers.) And the operative word here is external. But just because we as a society value certain skills and talents and works more than others, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily better.
And I for one, am pretty damn thankful that there are people who value childrearing above all else. (Thanks Mom!) It’s not a job that everyone takes seriously, and it sure as hell isn’t a job that everyone does well. Look around you. Don’t you think a bit of good parenting could have saved the world a lot of pain?
But I digress. Measuring your greatest achievement should be completely personal.
Only you can know what that is. Only you know what was difficult and what was easy. Only you know where you were tested, and where you were lucky. So don’t let anyone tell you what you should be proud of.
As for myself? I have no idea what my greatest achievement is. Mostly because I hope it’s still coming. Oh please, please let it still be coming?
In the meantime, I think not enough attention is given to the little achievements. Those every day successes that no one even notices. So let’s start basking in our small victories: staying calm in traffic, getting your baby to fall asleep, sticking up for a colleague at work, going for that early morning run even when you really don’t feel like it, making the perfect soufflé…
There are millions of opportunities to feel proud of yourself. Why not start now? Tell us what you are proud of every day and you could win a Women24 t-shirt!