Ladies: It’s time to stop apologizing. No, not for the things that really matter, like saying something hurtful or letting somebody down. No. We tend to apologize for ridiculous things, like having too much, or being too little, or caring too much, or not caring at all. But life is hard enough without needless guilt and apologies.
Women have a rep for apologizing more than men. One study shows that this is because women consider certain offenses more severe than men do, assuming more often than men that certain behaviors warrant an apology. Other research shows that women are simply more polite because they face harsher consequences when they don’t bend over backwards to be pleasant.
When women are more aggressive or assertive, they are perceived as emotional and untrustworthy, while men are simply seen as credible and persuasive. And we’ve all heard about politeness conditioning.
Here are nine things women need to stop apologizing for now:
1. For Your Parenting Decisions
Parenthood comes with all kinds of choices—from how we feed and diaper our children to what sorts of activities they participate in. And with those choices comes guilt and judgement. But we parents need to give ourselves a break. We need to stop justifying why we do or don’t breastfeed. We need to stop apologizing because our kids do or do not eat organic. It’s okay that your kids do or do not go to preschool. No one needs to know why your kids do or do not do Girl Scouts. It is all OK. Make a decision, no apologies, and own it.
2. For Being A Hot Mess
How many times have you heard a woman say, “sorry I’m such a mess?” I hear this on the soccer field, in the grocery store, at the park…at least once a day. But it’s time to stop. Ladies, we are all some kind of mess. Some of us just hide it inside better than others. If you can’t, that’s OK too. Rock that messy bun, stained shirt, yoga pants look and don’t apologize.
3. For Your Messy House
My mom always says friends come over to see you, not your house. Get over the fact that there are toys strewn everywhere. Embrace the folded laundry on the couch. Instead of apologizing for those dishes in the sink, hand your friend a towel to dry while you wash and catch up. Love your mess and the people that created it.
4. For Your Pinterest Fails
Can we all just stop? Pinterest has made us all believe we can do anything with a roll of tulle and some glitter. But, guess what Pinterest people—we can’t and, more importantly, some of us don’t want to. I really thought about bringing my kids’ teachers a cute, Pinterest-y gift for teacher appreciation day, but I’m pretty sure that Starbucks gift card got the job done and maybe better. Sorry not sorry.
5. For Working, Or Not Working
Working moms and “not”-working moms and part-time working moms, stop apologizing. We need each other. Working moms: You give us a shining example of the smart, fearless go-getters we want our daughters to be. Stay-at-homes: You give not just your babies, but ours, too, love and cupcakes and playdates in the park. That is a gift. (Plus we all know you’re doing plenty of work.) Don’t feel guilty, and don’t apologize. You are doing what is best for you and your family, period.
6. For Taking Time Off Work
Moms (and dads), don’t apologize for taking time off. We all need and deserve a break. Maybe the kid gets sick, maybe there is a sale at Nordstrom or maybe you have a magical vacation planned. Let go of the guilt and take the time off work. Enjoy that vacation with or without kids. Eat too much, drink too much and read 17 books. Play in the sand, build a castle and get messy with your kids. The emails and voicemails will wait, no apology necessary.
7. For Eating Too Much
“I’m sorry I’m so hungry.” Stop. As I sat with my family at a local pizza place stuffing my face with pepperoni-covered pie, I watched a girl—presumably on a date—pick at a salad. Holding her hand to her mouth after each delicate bite. I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and say, “stop.” Ladies, if you’re hungry, eat the pizza, the sandwich, the cannoli—no dainty hand, no apologies.
8. For Being An Emotional Wreck
If something has you feeling all the feels, you just go ahead and let those tears flow. Don’t apologize for crying over that Subaru commercial, or sobbing during your kids dance recital. Embrace that mascara running down your face, and own it.
9. For Saying No
Sometimes our plates are just too full. Or sometimes we have to say no because that’s what our gut tells us to do. Better still, sometimes we just don’t want to hang out or go to another birthday party. Sometimes we want to sit on the couch with a bowl of ice cream and watch reruns of “Gilmore Girls.” That’s fine. We don’t owe anyone an explanation or an apology. Just say no.