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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.

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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.

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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.”

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 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.

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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

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Last Updated on November 5, 2019

How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

Assuming the public school system didn’t crush your soul, learning is a great activity. It expands your viewpoint. It gives you new knowledge you can use to improve your life. It is important for your personal growth. Even if you discount the worldly benefits, the act of learning can be a source of enjoyment.

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain

But in a busy world, it can often be hard to fit in time to learn anything that isn’t essential. The only things learned are those that need to be. Everything beyond that is considered frivolous. Even those who do appreciate the practice of lifelong learning, can find it difficult to make the effort.

Here are some tips for installing the habit of continuous learning:

1. Always Have a Book

It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a week to read a book. Always strive to have a book that you are reading through, and take it with you so you can read it when you have time.

Just by shaving off a few minutes in-between activities in my day I can read about a book per week. That’s at least fifty each year.

2. Keep a “To-Learn” List

We all have to-do lists. These are the tasks we need to accomplish. Try to also have a “to-learn” list. On it you can write ideas for new areas of study.

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Maybe you would like to take up a new language, learn a skill or read the collective works of Shakespeare. Whatever motivates you, write it down.

3. Get More Intellectual Friends

Start spending more time with people who think. Not just people who are smart, but people who actually invest much of their time in learning new skills. Their habits will rub off on you.

Even better, they will probably share some of their knowledge with you.

4. Guided Thinking

Albert Einstein once said,

“Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

Simply studying the wisdom of others isn’t enough, you have to think through ideas yourself. Spend time journaling, meditating or contemplating over ideas you have learned.

5. Put it Into Practice

Skill based learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on C++ isn’t the same thing as writing a program. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up a brush.

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If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice.

In this information age, we’re all exposed to a lot of information, it’s important to re-learn how to learn so as to put the knowledge into practice.

6. Teach Others

You learn what you teach. If you have an outlet of communicating ideas to others, you are more likely to solidify that learning.

Start a blog, mentor someone or even discuss ideas with a friend.

7. Clean Your Input

Some forms of learning are easy to digest, but often lack substance.

I make a point of regularly cleaning out my feed reader for blogs I subscribe to. Great blogs can be a powerful source of new ideas. But every few months, I realize I’m collecting posts from blogs that I am simply skimming.

Every few months, purify your input to save time and focus on what counts.

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8. Learn in Groups

Lifelong learning doesn’t mean condemning yourself to a stack of dusty textbooks. Join organizations that teach skills.

Workshops and group learning events can make educating yourself a fun, social experience.

9. Unlearn Assumptions

You can’t add water to a full cup. I always try to maintain a distance away from any idea. Too many convictions simply mean too few paths for new ideas.

Actively seek out information that contradicts your worldview.

Our minds can’t be trusted, but this is what we can do about it to be wiser.

10. Find Jobs that Encourage Learning

Pick a career that encourages continual learning. If you are in a job that doesn’t have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does.

Don’t spend forty hours of your week in a job that doesn’t challenge you.

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11. Start a Project

Set out to do something you don’t know how. Forced learning in this way can be fun and challenging.

If you don’t know anything about computers, try building one. If you consider yourself a horrible artist, try a painting.

12. Follow Your Intuition

Lifelong learning is like wandering through the wilderness. You can’t be sure what to expect and there isn’t always an end goal in mind.

Letting your intuition guide you can make self-education more enjoyable. Most of our lives have been broken down to completely logical decisions, that making choices on a whim has been stamped out.

13. The Morning Fifteen

Productive people always wake up early. Use the first fifteen minutes of your morning as a period for education.

If you find yourself too groggy, you might want to wait a short time. Just don’t put it off later in the day where urgent activities will push it out of the way.

14. Reap the Rewards

Learn information you can use. Understanding the basics of programming allows me to handle projects that other people would require outside help. Meeting a situation that makes use of your educational efforts can be a source of pride.

15. Make Learning a Priority

Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make lifelong learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.

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Featured photo credit: Paul Schafer via unsplash.com

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