38 comments

We Do Not Have as Much Time in the Day as Beyonce

You do not have as many hours in the day as Beyonce. As one might expect of a fashion company, other people in my office have expertly decorated desk spaces. I love looking at everyone’s little tchotchkes on my way to fill up my water bottle, all the while trying not to look like a creeper while getting distracted and walking past my own desk because I’m staring at everyone’s decor.

Somewhere between the office kitchen and my desk, there’s a sign above someone’s desk, proclaiming, “YOU HAVE AS MANY HOURS IN THE DAY AS BEYONCE.”

It’s been bothering me for awhile, but it’s taken weeks for me to nail down exactly why.

Yes, we all have 24 hours each day. That’s true.

The idea that we all have enough time to look phenomenal, work our asses off, exercise regularly, cook decent food, spend quality time with loved ones, experiment and try new creative endeavors, be recognized as leaders in our industries, and still have time to sleep enough to not be an ogre is misleading, and dare I say, damaging.

Beyonce has someone telling her how to work out, and probably spends hours doing so each day. I bet she has excellent childcare. My guess is that someone probably cooks, cleans, and does her laundry for her. The list goes on. The point is, she’s got lots of help. And all of that is wonderful! I wish I had all of those things (except childcare  — that’s unnecessary at this point in my life), and I certainly don’t begrudge her that. I think it’s great. Good for her.

It’s very Lean-In-esque: Tell women they’re just not working hard enough. If we just lean in, surely we can be as powerful and dynamic in all spheres of life as Bey. Work harder! Lean in! You have as many hours in the day as Beyonce!

Well, I call bullshit. Maybe it’s just that I’ve had a difficult few months and a chronic overcommital problem, but this sentiment is kind of insulting and breeds 1950s-housewife levels of feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, and shame.

Let’s please be kinder to ourselves. Give ourselves a little grace. Unload just one responsibility that doesn’t bring us joy or rest. Really examine how we want to spend our time and what is a healthy way to harmonize the disparate pieces of our lives. Let’s believe that we really can do all the things, maybe just not all at once. And that is totally ok.

  • Amy

    omg THANK YOU for writing this. you’re spot on.

    • Lisa

      Thank you for reading! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  • GreetingsfromTexas

    Well said!

    • Lisa

      Thanks, Megan! I hope you’ve been well since Alt!

  • Jennifer Snyder

    YES to this. I, too, have been trying to figure out why seeing that quote floating around the web made me feel less than okay. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Lisa

      Thanks so much Jennifer. It feels really good to know I’m not alone in that. Thanks for reading.

  • thank you. this is so spot on!

    • Lisa

      You’re quite welcome!

  • Yes! Thank you for so eloquently pointing out what the problem with this idea is! Always a good reminder to be kinder to ourselves!

    • Lisa

      Thanks, Diana. It’s so important. I think I wrote this first as a reminder to myself. I’m not very good at being kind to myself a lot of the time.

  • AGREE.

    • Lisa

      Thanks for reading, Nicole!

  • amandajclark

    I love the passion you have in refuting this seemingly simple and (what was meant to be an) inspiring claim. Because thinking that way can bring about feelings of inferiority and low worth to compare oneself to a celebrity who is able to pay people so they can “do it all.” It’s great to say, “I have a little extra time when I’m watching TV – why not do some ab exercises?” It’s another to say, “I’m not doing enough, and if I don’t do more and achieve more than I am, I’m not successful.”

    • Lisa

      Sure thing! There’s a huge difference between wanting to do something good for yourself or your career and being shamed for not working hard enough or having everything together all the time. Thanks for reading, Amanda. See you soon!

  • That is a frustrating quote that could name anyone that doesn’t have tens of people behind her to make it more realistic and less “or else” preachy or threatening sounding.

    You’re absolutely right. We CAN do all the things, as long as they make us happy and we don’t over hustle.

  • I couldn’t agree more! When I saw that quote at first it made me laugh – I think I added a comment to the pin on pinterest “Just not as many assistants!”. I get that it could help you play bigger and re-frame your priorities (or delegate/outsource more, frankly), but I think that it’s pretty out of touch with reality.

    • Lisa

      Agreed! There’s nothing wrong with having dreams and working towards them, but I think there’s some unhealthy subtext there.

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  • I agree, she has a nanny, babysitter, a cook, a trainer, an assistant, a maid, probably a therapist, and I am all those things and more!

    • Lisa

      Yes, Rekita! That’s a great point — we’re all doing as much as her whole team is doing every day!

  • I LOVE THIS. SO MUCH. I feel like you and I are both confronting the same issue in our post this week: acknowledging our privileges as creative people and recognizing that while everybody gets the same number of hours in a day, there are a lot of other intersecting privileges that we may or may not have access to. I have MUCHO respect for Queen Bey, but yes, even she has privileges many other people don’t. I’ve seen that mantra on everything from coffee cups to tshirts and I couldn’t agree with you more. I think it totally misses who she is and what she’s about. I don’t look at Beyonce and think to myself that I need to be her; I look at her and feel empowered to do what I’m good at and then ask for help with the things I can’t do on my own. GREAT post, friend. *high-fives*

    • Lisa

      Thanks so much, Bethany! That really means a lot.

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  • Just popped over from andKathleen.

    YES! This is what I have been wanting to say but couldn’t voice by thoughts as clearly as you. So, thank you!

    • Lisa

      You’re welcome! I love andKathleen! Thanks for popping over. I’m so glad this resonated!

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  • brianne

    Thank GOD. The first time I saw the quote on pinterest I immediately though “I do not!” Beyonce must employee AT LEAST 10 assistants/cooks/trainers, etc, so that means Beyonce has access to 240 hours per day. Its the same feeling I got when my boss would ask me to work tons of overtime because “I’m still single”. Oh, you mean because I have to do all the chores and cooking myself instead of splitting them with a spouse? Oh right, that gives me tons of extra free time.

    • Lisa

      Ugh, that’s the worst!

      I like how you multiplied the number of hours by the number of helpers she probably has. That’s a really interesting way to look at it.

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  • Amy

    Who are you? Why have I not met you yet? I think I love you.

    • Lisa

      Hello! I don’t know why we haven’t met yet, but I’m so glad we have now! Let’s be friends.

  • My thoughts exactly! I have the same reaction when Marissa Mayer’s opting not to take maternity leave is given as an example of what women serious about their career should be able to do. We should stop holding up people who have support teams as realistic, achieveable ideals for those who don’t have the same support. Thank you for writing this.

    • Lisa

      Yes! I’m not down with that at all. The secret is not working harder. We’re already working plenty hard. The secret is that culture needs to change. We’re doing all we can.

      Thanks for reading, Eden.

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  • Marie

    I want to agree with you, however I fail to see how the mantra “Breeds 1950’s housewife feelings”. I also don’t believe that Beyonce’s achievements should be seen as something unattainable simply because she has the aid of others. They are not the ones who got her to where she is, she did it herself. Am I saying you should drop everything and become Beyonce? No. But I am saying you should use your 24 hours to attain whatever you want to attain. Because that’s exactly what she did; and that is what this mantra is truly trying to promote.