Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Curse of The Good Girl…

I wrote this blog some years ago but believe me it still sends a message to me every time I look at the picture in my office. Frustrated last night cause my project wasn't coming together and I forgot to reach out to my grandgirls who were starting school the next day... my guilt-o-meter was in the red zone. Kathy I said, "get your butt up early tomorrow (grandgirls live in TX) and call before school". (I am so not a morning person.)

In my new book, Working Girl: Behind the Cellar Door I talk about what it takes to run a small business and why it is so important to put yourself at the top of your list on a regular basis.


The little white card taped to the wall by the painting proclaimed its title, Curse of the Good Girl.

But as I stared all I had were flashbacks... dozens of thoughts swirling through my head.

I’d already circled the gallery a couple of times just sipping wine, chatting with folks and glancing at all the art.

Then I put my glasses on and walked more slowly, finally standing in front of this whimsical piece.

At first it conjured up childhood memories, then hurled me back into high school insecurities, two marriages, kids, careers, and oh my God, now the Grandma Club.

Picture this… the focal point of the painting is two characters, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and the Wicked Witch of the West (turned good?). How many times have I watched that movie as child, parent and grandma?

Surrounding Dorothy, in an ethereal warm glow, are the words of Dorothy’s Chant…

                                                 There’s No Place Like Home,
                                    There’s No Place Like Work,
There’s No Place Like Home,
There’s No Place Like
Work… Home… Work… Home...

You could almost hear the Wicked Witch with her icky green skin and crystal ball muttering; “I tried to save her but… alas, alas” in her most disgusted voice.

I could have been totally alone in the gallery as I found myself looking down at my shoes, almost expecting them to be red sequined. Did I really stand there and click my heals together? Was I unconsciously trying to rid myself of the Curse? You know… the one that’s genetically inbred into all us women.

It’s also known by another five-letter word and it starts with “G” for GUILT, Guilt, Guilt...

I bought the painting and it’s been sitting here in my office for 3 months. I find myself staring at it whenever I’m pulled in 5 different directions at once.

Talking to my now 40+year old daughter, I described the picture and its message. “Mom,” she says. “If I didn’t have to work, I wouldn’t. The things I love to do are outside of work… my girls, volunteering in their school, our family.”

So different.

When I was her age, it was ALL about work. I really wanted to succeed in the corporate world… to be recognized and rewarded for the job I did. Getting to daycare on time, soccer Mom duties and making homemade school treats were always my hot spots of failure.

But as I write this, I think maybe we of the “fabulous 50s+++ club” helped lift the CURSE.

Our generation paved the way for our daughters. While it may not be perfect, the work environment today is much more flexible and accommodating for women and families. Choices can be made!

My daughter is a much-in-demand physical therapist... who works on her own terms just 3 days a week.

With the holidays just around the corner, I’m reminded of a BLOG I read last year by Melinda Shoaf, appropriately named The Designated Celebrator. In it she states, “…I believe in the importance of celebrations. As my family's Designated Celebrator I may be tired and I may not have done all that I set out to do but I believe that this year I celebrated the ones I love, and I hope with all my heart that I celebrated them well.”

And so, in the spirit of the Curse of the Good Girl, I want to leave you with a parting thought.

Don’t add the “P” word to the Curse. There’s not enough power in the Witch’s crystal ball to rid us of the need for everything to be just “PERFECT”.

So, look at your holiday list of “to-dos” this year. Pick out the true “family traditions” to carry on, add in a good dose of family time with no agenda, and above all, put yourself on that list! Wife, mother, sister, grandmother, caregiver, friend… you wear a lot of hats.

Take care and love yourself, too.

Kathy Charlton
Home to the Working Girl Wines
Created by Women, In Support of Women
Charities supported:

Port Angeles Artist, Melissa Klein:
Blog Author, Melinda Shoaf: http://www.melindashoaf.blogspot.com


Anonymous said...


I LOVED your blog!!! I wanted to have some time to think about it before getting back to you - it was such a rich text. It's the first time that I've read something that was written by a viewer who has really interacted with a piece. I've had many conversations with people about my work - but there is something so powerful about seeing it in writing.

While I think that there are more and more women who have gotten off the treadmill because they have grown up seeing their mothers make tremendous sacrifices and still hit the glass ceiling, and/or their father's laid off after many years of service to the company, that "good girl curse" is still rampant; Americans work longer hours than any other industrialized nation. I also think that it's reflected in our health - we also spend more on medical care and yet as a county have poor health.

You really extended the meaning of the piece into a generational dialogue. I liked your point about the guilt aspect of it all - funny how that can hover about so close when someone is trying to be perfect. Your blog also reminded me to "get off the treadmill" -there is something about this time of year that tends to bring out the workaholic in me.

Thank you thank you thank you! Your writing is a gift!

Best Regards,

Melissa Klein
Sequim, WA

Anonymous said...

Thank you Kathy, this made my day!

Kevi Sutter

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the message. Very well put. Great advice. I am in my 50’s and finally learning!

Kim Morgan

Anonymous said...

I don't read blogs.

And the last two from Olympic Cellars have caught my attention, and I've read them through.

You're doing something right, and it's more than just your wines.

Thank you for that indefinable something that makes me smile, keeps me feeling connected to Olympic Cellars, and encourages me to keep buying your wines.


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to take a moment and tell you that I love your wines. I love the gift shop, I have found the most special gifts there for a great friend on many occasions. Great stocking stuffers at Christmas.
I love the working girl collection so much. I find myself referring it to all my friends who come into town.
So thankyou for being our hometown Winery Glenn and

CindyLou Romberg