Are we really superwomen? Can we really do it all? Whether being the expectations that we put on ourselves, the society or our family and friends, it seems that the pressure to handle it all is enormous. A picture of a successful enviable superwoman is painted somewhat like this: she has the most fabulous high-flying career, George Clooney lookalike husband, perfect kids and a spotless heaven for a home. Can we really juggle it all with no consequences?
Growing up with four siblings, I felt so proud that I was the big sister. The need to act like one never ceased. I especially took pride in caring for my baby sister. I insisted on feeding her, changing her diapers and did many other things to her which I shouldn’t have had, for example, braiding her tiny little baby head, oh the horror! As a seven year old myself, sometimes I treated her like my very own Barbie. My womanly assumed duties didn’t stop there, I also attempted household chores like ironing and cooking. As expected, at age 8 I wasn’t skilled at all. Ironing did not last long, I burnt myself straight away and we haven’t been best friends ever since. I still bear the scar. But my father’s compliments about my rubbish ommelette will live on forever. He ate every last bit. I hope he is still smiling about it up in heaven.
Moving on to adulthood, in society there is a call for education, burry oneself in a respectable career, marry Mr Right and produce many beautiful progenies. Sorry, I missed out the part about paying off the student loan, borrow yet more money to buy a house and start to ‘keep up with the Joneses’.
So can we do it all?
The old saying that ‘a dog can not serve two masters’ resonates well with my core beliefs. The New Testament also reminds us that a man can not serve two masters. We simply can’t give everything 100% attention.
Of course responsibilities are always there. So how do you balance? Top career or family? Or both? In this day and age, us women want to have equal rights as men. We also want to have good education, enter employment and have the same professional recognition as men, including salary. I was super proud of my engineer female friend who discovered by accident (as you do when having those coffee table conversations) that a male colleague, who was not as capable as her, was being paid considerably more than her. My friend presented her evidence to her boss, who had no excuse but to augment her salary. Whilst all seem possible nowadays, the path for us women seems to be not without a fight.
The ticking clock..
As the career is doing well, unfortunately for us women other things are also moving but in the other direction. Like it or not, (I don’t) we have a fertility window that does not wait for us as we are struggling to battle the guys to reach the top of our careers. Like many women of my generation, I also invested in my career and also had a few share of trial and error in relationships and therefore, I ended up in the ‘late queue’. As always though, I’m staying positive and ready to face the challenge. On that note, us women we lovingly and openly share the beautiful baby stories. However, we keep all the struggles and tears well hidden behind closed doors. Medical evidence shows that the risks of miscarriage are sky high with an advanced age. It’s not a walk in the park neither when the baby comes and it needs 24/7 attention. How about sharing the tough stories for a change? For me personally, it is very comforting to know that ‘I am not alone’.
With everything that deserves our attention; family, friends, pets, sickness, work and the rest, how do we cope? Are we really super women? When do we draw the line? Where do we say I can’t handle it all? I certainly do not mean we should throw in the towel. Perhaps this should be the time where we ought to step back, re-evaluate our situations and decide what is important. What deserves top priority. That’s precicely my story of how I ended up in France today. I think in life we can’t live in fear of what if. Sometimes we just have to take a leap of faith and live our choices.
I personally believe that we can learn from our idols but it’s crucial not to compare. I also think it’s important to ask for help, to confide in someone, a partner, a trusted friend, et cetera. A problem shared is a problem halved. Don’t you think so? How has your womanhood journey been like? I wish you all the joy in the world in embracing it.
PS: About the cover photo. Thanks to Stephanie, my wedding photographer for capturing the beautiful Laura. I think Laura did a great job balancing the load : )