Last night I came home from work, unloaded my groceries, kicked off my pumps, and planted an exhausted kiss on The Beau. I had a long draining day at work. What stood between me and a good night’s sleep was cooking dinner, a quick workout, firing back up my work email, and a smooth glass of red wine. I started planning which bottle of wine I would select for the evening around 2pm in the afternoon. It was during this brief mental departure that I asked myself, “How does Superwoman do it!?”
I consider myself to be an ambitious Type-A, ENFJ, fiery Leo. That’s what business school, the MBTI, and the stars all tell me about myself. Truthfully I’ve embraced all of this about myself since I was young. I knew at the age of 9 that I wanted to be a business woman and that I would need to get my MBA. When I was in high school I was a dancer that loved performing, putting on a show, and to this day I love being “on”. My family, friends, and others have called me a ham and have all predicted that one day I would be something big. I absorb all of that as confirmation that I’m on the right path and I know what it is that I’m supposed to do.
In addition to my professional ambitions I have always desired to be a loving wife and a PTA Mom. I guess I owe it to how I was brought up. The nights spent baking cookies with my Mom, fishing with my Papa, playing football with my Dad, all of those memories instill in me the desire to create those same moments for future little babies that will look like a mix of myself and The Beau. Now I find myself smack dab on the path to all that I said I wanted, on the edge of being an adoring wife, and not too far off (but not yet Mom!!) from becoming a loving Mother. While that excites me I’m starting to realize a harsh truth: I am not Superwoman.
I’m not. I’m okay with that.
I know that for some women and for black women (and other WOC) especially, carrying the weight of being a “Strong Woman” can sometimes be a weight too heavy to bear. People forget that the strong need support too, it’s what fuels us, and we truly cannot do it alone. It pains me to see another woman struggle and fear the perception of weakness should she ask for help. It pains me to see the mistakes of a woman be exploited as she is taken off her pedestal for being anything less than perfect. Perfection is impossible to reach yet and still a woman with ambitions is expected to try until her last breath renders her unsuccessful.
So last night as I finished up dinner, ironed my clothes, and settled down with a glass of wine and The Beau, we turned on the TV to see that PBS was airing “Makers: Women Who Make America.” The first thought that went through my mind was, “now THESE are Superwomen.” I immediately saw the hypocrisy of my thinking. Yes these women have MADE (and continue to run) America and are powerful, strong, and amazing in their own right. But they are human just the same. Daughters, Sisters, Mothers, Wives, Partners, Friends, and a whole list of “things” that don’t solely define them, but generate the support system that pushes them forward. I’m in awe of their stories and the path that they laid for me, that I hope to lay for another generation. I type this from a position of privilege recognizing that it’s a blessing to even be able to be this tired from working my good paying corporate job, and a privilege to then turn around and share that with you all.
Maybe Superwoman never gets tired. Maybe she never complains or never wishes that 6pm would come early. Maybe she delights in balancing her packed calendar and her sleep schedule. Perhaps she can bake cookies, seduce her lover, balance her home and work budgets, all while skyping in to the PTA meeting that she cannot be at because she’s at her charity’s subcommittee meeting. Maybe Superwoman can manipulate time. Maybe she read all the articles that say we can have it all, we can’t have it all, we can have it all, but only sometimes, etc., and determined that she’s the Chuck Norris of having it all.
Superwoman I am not.
I’m just a woman loving life, and making the best out of all the amazing blessings I’ve been given. Most days I’m blissful in this reality, but some days, days like yesterday, I needed a break. If you’re the woman that gets up and puts the S on your chest, I salute you. I support you. I love you, and I’ve got your back. I’ll never place expectations on you that you cannot meet, nor will I aid in making that which makes you great into that which brings you down. If you’re like me and you recognize that life must be lived and enjoyed amid the pursuit of your ambitions, then I’ll pour a glass for you too. Honestly, if you’re a woman that wants nothing to do with any of it, ENJOY IT. Keep on living.
From wine in the evening to coffee in the morning, no one promised that the path to the corner office would be easy.
Also, if you missed last night’s airing of Makers: Women Who Make America, then click here, and find a way to catch a re-airing!
I love being a woman.