Advertising
Advertising

I’m Not A “Superwoman,” and I Don’t Want to Be!

I’m Not A “Superwoman,” and I Don’t Want to Be!

Enter SUPERWOMAN!

There are a thousand versions on the internet of this very famous image — a woman with ten hands holding different things: a feeding bottle, a briefcase, a cooking pan, a mop, a diaper, etc. It signifies the power of the modern woman who juggles all the roles in her life with ease and panache. The superwoman who is held back by absolutely nothing: she has it ALL. Not to forget, of course, that she looks like a million dollars while doing all this — I don’t look like that after 10 hours of sleep and a day at the salon. Superwoman indeed!

I guess such a representation is supposed to make us women feel proud and powerful. Frankly, the image just leaves me feeling distinctly uncomfortable and inadequate. For that matter, any time anyone starts off giving an “ode to a woman,” she is a daughter, a wife, a mother, a friend, a teacher, a professional, and fifty other lofty roles that I struggle to keep count of, I feel like rolling my eyes and well, climbing into bed to sleep off the exhaustion of just hearing it.

Advertising

The Endless Need to Do More

It seems that women’s progression is not about changing roles; it’s about adding them on. It’s no longer just home — it’s home plus work; not just mother — mother plus mentor; not just caregiver — caregiver plus financial contributor.  Don’t get me wrong: I love the new roles. It’s the “plus plus” game that gets to me. It reminds me of hungry teens at a buffet, mindlessly loading their plates with food that they cannot possibly finish, ecstatic about the good deal they are getting, but, blissfully oblivious to the impending stomach ache that will greet them the next morning!

So when do we women realize that we need to stop loading our plates and avoid that stomach ache? While we can praise a woman’s abilities to the moon and back, the fact of the matter remains that evolution has not exactly kept up! I don’t see any females being born with 10 hands, and I don’t see the hours of the day increasing from 24 to 48 so that we can fulfill all the roles on our overloaded plates.

Advertising

For that matter, have we asked ourselves whether this is really what we want. Do we want to maximize every second of every day to have that optimum life where we “manage” all that is expected of us (and what we expect of ourselves) just to have a peaceful guilt-free sleep at night?

There are two problems with living like that: first, we are not able to manage everything to the level that we want (and the sleep is quite guilt-ridden and far from peaceful). Second, we don’t always want to “be everything”; sometimes we just want to “be.” There are times when we don’t want to take care of the kids, or cook that weekend meal or work extra hours at our jobs to prove that we “have it all.”

Advertising

 Doing Everything Is Not the Solution

The solution is as simple as it gets: say “I can’t” or even “I don’t want to.”

That is the starting point of true empowerment. Sometimes it will mean that our loved ones will have to step up and sometimes it will mean that everything is not going to get done exactly as we imagined. Nonetheless, that’s not a crime; it’s normal. Every time the guilt comes creeping, we need not drive ourselves to exhaustion; we just need to remember that we have two hands and limited hours.

Advertising

More importantly, enjoying moments of leisure is not an “avoidable luxury”; it is an “essential necessity” to keep ourselves and those around us happy. At the end of the day, happy not-so-perfect mom trumps tired grumpy perfection. (If you don’t believe me, ask your kids!)

It is much like the beauty debate; we are not the size two plastic that we see on our televisions — that’s not real. Just the same, we are not the ideal “superwoman” glorified across media. That’s neither real nor ideal! About time we hand over that imaginary cape and truly empower ourselves!

So ladies, make choices, and reduce the to-do list: delegate, get help, let the people dependent on you get a little independent and once in awhile, just let things be “not perfect” — because everything cannot be and because everything is not supposed to be!

Featured photo credit: consultealespecialista.com via consultealespecialista.com

More by this author

No, don’t just follow your own heart. Don’t just walk your own path 4 Important Lessons Your Dog Teaches You Silence the Drama Queen to Improve your Karma Keeping Friendships for Life and Beyond The Eternal Dilemma of Relationships: Actions VS Words

Trending in Featured

1The Gentle Art of Saying No 26 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick 3Simple Productivity: 10 Ways to Do More by Focusing on the Essentials 4Back to Basics: Your Calendar 550 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

Advertising

But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

Advertising

What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

Advertising

But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Advertising

Read Next