Not a Victoria’s Secret Angel of course, because I’m pretty sure that job rocks. (It’s too bad that job just wasn’t in the genes for me. Sigh)
And I’m not talking moms here either, because moms are actual angels, okay, and god bless you all for dealing with the various things that come out of kids these days.
No, I’m talking more about that girl who’s always needlessly cleaning up after people in the office, or the one who bakes cookies for every single damn bake sale at her kid’s school. That kind of ‘angel.’
I think *most* women would agree that they’ve been that angel at least once or twice in their lives. Where one minute you’re happily clearing away everyone’s plates at a pizza party and the next you’re thinking, “Wait. Why am I doing this? Why did all the men in the room just walk away?”
I know the angel’s behavior because I used to be one, and sometimes I still have relapses. For example, in college, my best friend and I got the notion that we were going to be amazing and make hand-dipped chocolate strawberries for our floor mates on Valentine’s Day. As you can imagine, as soon as we laid them on the table, here come the people we hardly ever see to take a berry and run off. We got a few thank yous, of course, but I never stopped to think of how sickeningly nice that gesture was. Because I’ll tell you right now, half of the people on that floor would never have done the same thing for me. In fact, a few of them actively attempted to make my life worse, but that’s another story.
I’ve gotten much better since, but every once in awhile I’ll find myself cleaning up after Luke for no good reason, despite the fact that he’s a grown man who can and should clear away his own dishes.
Besides being a waste of my time and spoiling Luke too much, being an angel too often bothers me because it buys into gendered ideas that women should pick up the pieces others leave behind. And that’s BS.
My thoughts often are that if I don’t do this thing, if I don’t clean up after so and so, then it won’t get done. But the reality is that it will get done eventually, and it shouldn’t be you if it’s not your mess.
So if you recognize some of the angel’s behavior in yourself, my challenge to you is to try to curb your behavior before it happens. Don’t volunteer for things that don’t bring you joy. Don’t feel like you need to do overly nice things for people who won’t appreciate them and do things for you in return. Don’t clean up after the men at the pizza party.
You’ve got this.