Give it up: You’re not superwoman
Special Features
June 22, 2007
Give it up: You’re not superwoman

You should feel no shame in being a stay at home Mom, nor guilt in being a career woman. But when you try to have it all at the same time – mother and career woman, as well as significant other or spouse – and you expect the same level of excellence in all your roles, things can become a little chaotic.{{more}}

Somewhere in your attempts to juggle it all at the same time, something will get lost, a child will miss out on the full attention of his or her mother, assistance with homework will be dropped, family time will evaporate, creativity will suffer, a promotion will be missed. More importantly, superwoman will forget who she really is in her attempt to be everything to everyone all the time.

The Bible’s wisdom was so right when it said there is a time for everything under the sun, so why are women still trying to be superwomen? Why do they still expect life to be all rosy? Why do they exhaust themselves to live up to the impossible task of being the perfect woman?

Give it up. It’s all a myth.

Traditionally, women have worked at home, taking care of the family. Many found it necessary to run a small business out of the home to bring in extra cash, but they were still at home with the family and the family was their priority. In the last few decades, however, more women have chosen to work outside the home, to make a professional contribution of their own. By leaving home and changing priorities, women suffered under the pressure to perform at unrealistic and unhealthy levels. Few asked for help.

If you are a career woman, you must take the following into consideration:

Take care of yourself. Yes, even before you take care of anyone else. That may sound selfish, but women who try to have it all at the same time suffer from a high level of guilt, especially when they feel they are not performing well in one of their roles. Sufferers of guilt are more susceptible to stress-induced health issues.

Ask for assistance. The use of extended family networks was much more effective than our current attempts to make it as independent nuclear families. Today’s superwoman must actively seek out trusted individuals to help with her tasks. A few hours of babysitting from a trusted family member or friend could provide well-needed quality time with a significant other, a few valuable moments of personal time, or some smartly invested sharing in the daily tasks of raising other children.

Don’t over commit. Get familiar with the word “NO!” Instead of volunteering for yet another task (just so you can appear to be even more together), learn to turn down or postpone certain requests.

Be realistic at work. Competing with male counterparts can be difficult for a woman with small children. You will have times when you can go head to head with them, but you will also have occasions when you have to put your family first. You can always get a new job but you can’t find a new family -no matter how horrible you may think yours can be!

Family comes first. Small children need parents, and no matter how great a day care centre is, it can never substitute the love, guidance, and attention a mother can provide. Some women may choose to stay at home the first few years of a child’s life, then return to work. Whatever her choice, she needs to know and accept the fact that no matter how dedicated she is as a professional, times will arise when a runny nose or a bloody knee will take precedence over work.

Parenthood is only for a time. Don’t ignore its importance by trying to live up to an unrealistic ideal.

Karen Hinds
Workplace Success Group
Toll Free; 877-902-2275
Tel: 1-203-757-4103