Why Superwomen Do Less, Not More
Dr. Ashley Margeson
Want to know what I see when I google superwoman? Endless images of a, usually, mother, juggling different things. A feeding bottle, a briefcase, a cooking pan, a mop, a diaper, lingerie, a sleep masks. Ugh. This image drives me insane, because it signifies that the powerful modern woman is supposed to be able to juggle all the roles with ease and grace. It’s this idea that Superwoman is held back by absolutely nothing because she has it all.
Make me do all those things, and I promise you, I’ll be tired haggard, searching for a third coffee and just wanting to give up.
I assume that this image 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.
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. I truly love what I get to do every day. It’s the “plus plus” game that gets to me. It feels like a constant need to add more balls to the juggling act without realizing that in order to truly succeed we need to drop a couple of them first.
Doing More Isn’t Working
And it shouldn’t be. We’re not robots. 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. It will probably 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 to beat it back with the necessary act of stopping. Truly stopping.
Enjoying moments of leisure is not an “avoidable luxury”; it is an “essential necessity” to keep ourselves and those around us happy. I’d rather be the happy not-so-perfect woman who loves getting up in the morning, instead of the tired, haggard, grump entrepreneur who was so busy trying to juggle it all that she forgot what she wanted in the first place.
Food for thought.
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