The other day I wrote a reminder to myself (and other women) to put our oxygen masks on before assisting others. I got a lot of comments in the vein of: “I so need to remember this.” Or “Thank you for the reminder.”
Here we are, in midlife or later and we are still habitually putting the needs of others before our own. Well, at least some of the time, anyway.
It got me thinking about our roles as women and how we were raised to put others’ needs, especially men and our children, above our own. I see it all the time, and get a bit frustrated by it.
We not only do it to ourselves, but to other women as well.
This last weekend we were staying in a hotel up in the Bay Area. We usually stay at Hilton’s because we are Hilton Honors members and can stay free.
Hilton also offers free breakfast to honors members so on Saturday morning, we went downstairs to grab a quick breakfast before heading out to the wedding I was coordinating.
I was a little stressed, I’ll admit, and in a bit of a hurry too.
I sat down while John went up to check out the buffet. A very nice waitress saw me, made eye contact, and walked directly towards me with a coffee pot in hand ready to take my omelet order.
All of a sudden she spotted a gentleman that had just walked in and made a beeline for him instead.
I was dumbfounded.
This guy was talking on the phone and not seated, but it was clearly more important to her to serve him first.
After serving him coffee and taking his order (while still standing!), she came over to my table. I said, “You know I was sitting here first right?” She stammered and I could see she was a bit uncomfortable.
She knew she ‘betrayed’ a sister to tend to a man. And we both knew it was a natural instinct.
She made a split second decision that a man who wasn’t even seated needed her attention before a woman sitting and waiting.
This happens too often to go unnoticed.
When John and I are at a restaurant and we have a female waiter, 99% of the time, she will only look at him and ask what he wants first. It embarrasses John and he gestures to me and says, “Ladies first.”
And it’s not that I need or want to give my order first, as much as I’d at least like to be recognized that I’m sitting at the table. I’ve even had waitresses take a drink order from John and never even ask me what I want.
We need to get it out of our heads that men are more important (sorry guys). We are equal. Our needs and desires are just as significant. It may be too late for some of us mature women, and even our daughters, to fully grasp this concept.
But we sure as hell better so our granddaughters do not grow up thinking they are second or third to men or their children.
There, rant over.