Lara here… I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I’ve posted anything! Must try to do that more… which sort of brings me to the reason why I wanted to make this post in the first place. I recently read a post on LinkedIn in a “Working Mums” group that addressed the issues facing women today – are we programmed to cope? Why don’t we ask for help until it’s too late?
I call this the Superwoman Complex. Many modern women today are fighting to “have it all” – family, career, friends, hobbies, home, fitness – and are prepared to give the middle finger (sorry Mom) to anyone who dares suggest that it isn’t possible. It wasn’t that long ago though that a more traditional role was expected of women; it wasn’t even that long ago that we weren’t allowed to vote or inherit lands and property. Instead of shifting roles around between genders, women have taken on more and more to prove to ourselves and the world that we CAN do it. We try to fulfill the traditional roles – wife, mother, housekeeper, seamstress, cook, chauffeur – in addition to having a full-time career, being a good friend, having a good body, and finding some time to ourselves. When we fall short on any of these, we see it as a massive failure – we are Superwomen, we can’t fail! So…. we don’t ask for help… we cope.
Is it any wonder we are so stressed out? And it’s true, I don’t ask for help – that would be failing, right? According to society, the media….. according to myself. Also, asking for help can be interpreted as nagging (depending on how stressed/annoyed I am, of course), so sometimes it’s easier to not say anything.
I’m one of the lucky ones – my husband cooks dinner most nights and my MIL (mother-in-law) helps look after Lola during the week. But I still struggle. There is a “modern woman” pressure that says I must be a good mom, a supportive wife, an outstanding marketing exec; I must have the dishes done, fold and iron the laundry, clean the bathroom, take out the recycling, figure out how to organize/decorate our house, and look good doing it. It’s exhausting.
When I walk into the kitchen and see the pile of dirty dishes, I feel like crying. Sometimes I DO cry, because it just gets to be too much – the dishes are everywhere, the car is dirty, I made a mistake at work, Lola’s books are all over the floor, there is dirty laundry spilling out of the hamper, my nail polish is chipped, the stove is splattered with grease again (I just cleaned it!), I’m late getting Sam from the station because Lola won’t put her coat on…. and I’m STILL overweight, according to the “official” BMI chart.
So, yes, I think this woman on LinkedIn is right – we ARE programmed to cope. We cope because we want to prove that all those decades of campaigning and fighting for equal rights and opportunities for women weren’t wasted. We wanted the right to work, to have it all, so we are going to prove that we can do it.
Maybe I should “cope” less and ask for more help. Maybe I just needed to rant 🙂