Whitney Houston: Lessons for Working Women

Whitney Houston (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)
As you all know, Whitney Houston died last Saturday. Whitney Houston, a working mom, is dead. You may question my characterization of her. You may say that she had nothing in common with working moms. She was gorgeous. She was famous. She was a super star. She was rich.

A lot of people say isn’t it so sad that someone with so much died so young. If you can’t be happy with all of that, when can you be happy? I think that’s precisely the point. It’s not the money that makes you happy. It’s not the applause that gives you joy. And it’s not the publicity that gives you peace.


Having never met Whitney, I have no insight into her psyche. However, I was riveted to the television during her funeral. By all accounts she was talented, which we knew. However, she was also sweet, incredibly vulnerable and generous.  

As I listened to her friends pay tribute to her I was struck by how very normal she seemed.  Like a lot of us, she worked and she lived her life.  True, she lived an extraordinary life. But having the funeral at her home church reminded me that she was just a little Black girl who grew up and lived her dreams, for better or worse. She lived her dreams. She was haunted by her demons. She also had a daughter.

Based on what has been reported it seems as if the demands of her work and life tested her greatly. And she was in search of something that would give her relief from those demands. That relief seemed to have eluded her. Eventually, her demands became too much.

Most of us will never know what it is like to have our photo on covers of magazines, have a hit record or need a body guard. However, we know what it is like to be overworked.  We know what it is like to become overwhelmed by the demands of life. And, we all know that Whitney is not the only working mom who was found dead in a bathtub. Because the others weren't famous we don't know their names.

My personal lesson from the Whitney Houston story is to practice compassionate self-care, take a break when necessary, and to guard my heart and body with all diligence. She taught us, the greatest love of all is inside. 

I hope that her death makes us all remember that.

Comments

Jeryn said…
Love it. I would submit this to one of the mother magazines. You captured the human side of living. Every human is faced with a dream and sometimes managing that dream and life becomes too much. I love your compassion and one other big thing I learned from whitney is boundaries. Its great to push yourself but not to the point where you break. At some point she questioned her worth even with all the fame. As woman we must be comfortable in our own skin and learn to silence the critics, especially when the loudest one is your own doubt
cecilia said…
I agree. Whitney Houston's life and death, especially her death, will continue to give messages for some time. The emphasis on her death is because had she not died, we would not be having these conversations. Life is hard. Actually, it can be impossible to manage, if the demands are too high. Whitney said that fame was much harder than she expected; she was not prepared. Three lessons: Be careful for what you ask for; know when to walk away; and teach our daughters not just to be smart, but to have courage.
What a beautiful post!
Thank you!
anthony stemke said…
A beautiful heartfelt essay Chaton. Like so many others, she died too soon. Your post is inspiring, Thank You.
Kimberly said…
Whitney's early death serves a reminder to all that loved her of how precious life can be. Thank you for reminding us that we must take care of ourselves and our mind to get through it all.
byn always said…
This is a beautifully written post. I love that you didn't make it all sensationalism and instead gave us something to relate to. Great job!
Elizabeth said…
What a thoughtful, insightful post that has such a global view about women in general. I appreciate what you had to say.
Unknown said…
Such an opposite take on the tragedy of her death. It's refreshing to look at her in regards to my own life instead of looking at the magazine covers. Definitely lessons to take away from it.
Angi said…
That was a wonderful post you created. I couldn't have worded it any better. It does sound like Whitney was a lovely women in person even though she had her own demons like we all have.
As Told By Lisa said…
I love your personal lesson learned. Her death is a reminder to all that we all have to meet our maker, some sooner than others.

The question we should ask ourselves is "what will my legacy be"?
Lisa, I agree. Life is fragile. Building a legacy that you can be proud of, and that your family can appreciate, is extremely important. Every day I try to be compassionate, generous, and strong. Since you raised the issue, might you be willing to share what you hope your legacy will be.
This comment has been removed by the author.
A Whitney fan myself. I am sadden by the news and her death. We can learn from her life and death. Life is fragile and very precious. Looking to God for guidance is the only way to live it to the fullest.

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Unknown said…
It's said how some people who WE think have everything are still not happy in life. It's true that money can't buy happiness, I guess.
Marina@EBMR said…
Beautifully written!So true!! As Moms we don't realize that we can get burnt out and if running our own steam and not His Grace we're spiraling in for an emotional and physical crash. Love the article!
Beloved said…
Brava! In the wake of so much judgement and craziness surrounding Whitney's death, I agree that so many people missed the point, that "she was just a little Black girl who grew up and lived her dreams." She was somebody's daughter, somebody's friend, somebody's mother, somebody's sister, etc. Beautifully written.
I'll be back to read more.
Peace and good.
I love how you spun the positives to learn from Whitney's life. I have been a fan of hers since the 80's and have been saddened by the dirt that has marred her beautiful life. We all have issues, but in the end we need to celebrate who a person was or is if that person is still alive.

I really enjoyed your post, thanks!
I'd agree. We're all human and have similar struggles. We need to recognize the healthy solutions and seek those.
It is so true to bad that Whitney could not find the joy in her daughter alone instead of turning to drugs.

http://adventuresfrugalmom.com
dawn said…
I can't imagine living a life like she did, with all the demands that went with it. Sometimes my life seems difficult enough. Thanks for the reminder to take care of our selves.
You're so right. That is beyond sad. And now her daughter has to try to pick up the pieces...
Very well written! You have a gift for getting to the heart of the matter and putting it into words in a beautiful way!
Staci said…
Very well done, Chaton. We do run ourselves ragged.
I guess the sad thing is, we seem to have to now. The whole point of equal rights for women was for women to have a choice. For many, there is no choice. You feel you must work to pay the bills, have the house, whatever it is. Is that much different than Whitney? I guess that's why many women are re-assessing their lives and going back to staying home while living on less.
Thanks for your post. I really enjoyed reading it.
stacy said…
Whitney had an absolutely amazing voice. She could bring you to tears. But she was human just like the rest of us...subject to the fears and insecurities we all have. I only hope her daughter has a good support system.
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Prairie Scraps said…
What a great way to put a tragic death! It's easy to sit back and think that she had it all not feel bad for her friends or family - but she was an ordinary person inside1
Whitney was a mother and people need to understand that. She may have been a superstar to us but above all she was a mother. We will never know how she felt about the life she had but we do know how she felt about her daughter. Whitney's life and sudden death taught me to either appreciate my life or change it for my benefit.
lisacng said…
It's so easy to criticize her lifestyle without knowing what she was going through. Great lesson to learn from her and how we can find good ways to cope with difficulty.
Deborah Owen said…
For certain, we have lost one of the greatest voices of all time. I don't envy stars their role in life. No one could keep up with their schedule without pills to stay awake, stay energized, and go to sleep. I felt sorry for her. Deb
JulieK said…
I agree with you about how many other mothers have died young and tragically and without mention - I always get a little frustrated at the "hoopla" over celebrity funerals - NOT b/c they don't deserve our sorrow but b/c we don't do this for the anonymous person that dies. The whole world does not grieve for the OTHER children suddenly motherless... I think about this EVERY time there's a huge celebrity death... maybe that's weird but I do!
My husband lost his grandfather and 1st cousin because they overwhelmed by the life they were living. We all recognize how precious and short life can be and because of family history, we look after one another. We ask how each other are doing, wanting a true answer. We encourage each other to be healthy mainly through our eating habits. We stay focused on our blessings and point them out. Hopefully, we will avoid any more tragic losses of people dieing before their time. Just like Whitney.
Great post. It is true that we forget that even famous people are like us and hope for the same things in life. We just find them in different ways. It is sad to see anyone's life end early. It is so important to love and support those who we love so that we can help each other to keep pressing on.
Single Gal said…
This is beautifully written. :)
Cambria said…
Good food for thought . . .and it is just so important to treasure each day!
This is a lot of food for thought. I grew up in the time when Whitney Houston was huge. Seeing her now through my 40-year-old wise eyes makes me realize a lot of things, and forgive a lot of things. Thanks for a great post!
Colette said…
I hated to hear she had died. I was really rooting for her to get her life back on track. I think sometimes people forget that celebs are humans, too, and they are just as vulnerable as the rest of us.
Mona said…
I don't know...I tend to think that movie stars aren't very happy or they're trying to buy happiness. it is sad that she died so young, but it also seems that it was her own doing.
isis said…
Yes, Whitney's life should set an example to other moms.
God promises to never give us more than we can bear. However, the tragedy lies in not knowing the God that promises this.

I don't know Whitney's eternal destination, but I pray that anyone feeling like this would reach out to God and have the peace that He offers us.
Couponmount said…
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