January 27, 2016
Why Superwoman Isn’t a Mom and Mom’s Not Superwoman
Written by Rachel Eddins
Society expects a lot from moms, and moms put a lot of pressure on themselves to be super women. But, Superwoman isn’t real. So why try to be her?
The term “superwoman,” to denote a woman who overworks herself in order to be outstanding as both a mother and career woman, was first used by journalist Shirley Conran in her eponymous 1975 book. Maintaining a work-life balance is struggle enough, but the persistence of gender roles has made it a particular challenge for women who strive for perfection at home and in the office.
Such a busy lifestyle leaves many women with no time for themselves.
When we push too hard, and measure success by only tangible goals, we lose out on the real happiness that comes with having a loving family and a meaningful job.
We are constantly tired, strained, and stressed.
Why do we try to be Superwoman?
We have a lot of built-in challenges that make it hard to keep up with expectations.
To have both a career and a family, challenges such as juggling school and work schedules, and the difficulty of finding and affording quality child care is overwhelming.
Or to create “Pinterest” lunches while managing a household with no down time. Yet we shoulder this burden and create more for ourselves!
There are many reasons why different women try to fit into superwoman’s boots: constantly demanding perfection from ourselves, needing to feel accomplished as an esteem-booster, trying to please everyone, wanting to be in control, or being unable to say “no.”
It’s hard to let things go and lighten the load. But let’s be honest: When we see other women living happier and less stressful lives, we feel resentment toward them for it.
Yet, as blogger, single mother, and marketing professional Carrice Quinnie wrote in an article for muscogeemoms.com, “I have never seen Super Woman driving children to soccer practice, dropping her 2-year old at daycare, nor have I seen her with a laptop.”
How can we throw off our superwoman capes and live less stressful, more fulfilling lives at work and at home?
1. Be compassionate with yourself.
It’s not you! You’re not exhausted because you’re not spending your time efficiently, it’s because you’re just one person and there are just 24 hours in the day.
2. Don’t be ashamed to call in the reserves.
Many “superwomen” are embarrassed to admit when they need help. When you’re used to trying to do it all, it’s very hard to delegate tasks that you think you could do better yourself, or feel guilty for not doing yourself.
If you can afford it, hiring a cleaning person to come in every other week can help you have more time at home to enjoy quality moments with your family.
Is it worth your time to scrub the grout in the shower or would your rather spend a little cash so you can have a little more free time? An excellent budget-friendly option is to partner with a neighbor or moms’ group to trade off child-care days or host kids for a weekend.
3. Learn to be in the moment.
This is a hard one for busy people to get in the habit of doing, but it is calming to be mindful and enjoy the smaller things in life. Some people find writing themselves little notes like “today I will stop and smell the roses” are helpful reminders to slow things down and be in the moment.
If you can get up just three minutes early to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee — paying attention to the steam from the mug, warmth against your hands, the gentle aromas — you can get your day off to a more mindful start.
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