A friend graciously bestowed this title on me last afternoon and I scoffed. I’m not a Superwoman, I try to be, but I’m not.
I think a lot of women today try to be Superwomen. I’ve written about this before – it is the curse of liberal society mixed with a healthy dose of cultural conditioning and traditional female roles. But that’s not what’s on my mind right now. What’s on my mind is that meme; the one about the permanently exhausted pigeon. I can relate to that pigeon right now.
The most important thing to me, at this point in my life is self satisfaction. I need to feel satisfied as Shannon. I need to detach myself from my roles as woman, mother, wife, friend, teacher and just flourish as Shannon. The irony in this is that if Shannon is to flourish, Shannon needs to feel fulfilled by her above mentioned roles.
I think I want to be Superwoman. Yet to me Superwoman is one who is satisfied with the multiple roles; one who can multitask; one who is good at multiple tasks; one who is organised; one who is happy. This is, I realise, an unrealistic ideal. This is also not Superwoman. Superwoman has super strength. Superwoman is superfast. Superwoman is not a mother, neither is she a wife, friend, teacher nor a conventional SAHM or soccer mum. Why the hell do I want to be Superwoman?!
There’s no use getting into the semantics and popular cultural beliefs of the complete metamorphosis of who Superwoman actually represents today, and what it means to be one. At the end of the day no one remembers that the actual Superwoman is also alone; she operates by herself. I cannot juxtapose her struggles with mine and consider myself akin to her. For me to be super at what I do is very time consumig. For my children to exist for two hours without me, is planned two days in advance – with additional nagging and reminding the various supporting cast who have to merely keep an eye and occasionally feed two toddlers who are mostly self sufficient. For me to be a super Mother is impossible; to your kids I may be appealing because I’m always smiling and happy – but in all honesty I can’t keep up those levels of enthusiasm for too long. 8 hours and my enthusiasm takes a break, and grumpy Shannon will resurface for a while. It’s true, ask my kids. I have my lunch away from them so as to spare them the horror of an extra grumpy ammi.
The bottom line is this: I like what I do. I understand that doing what I do is not easy. I’m also not the only juggling woman of this nature – so this is out to my fellow juggling mums/women/soldiers-at-arms/warriors/sisters: we’re never going to be perfect. There’s never going to be that perfect day (cos either some Jackass will nearly kill you on the road while you’re en route to Ballet, or your nearly potty trained child will pee in the bed). I think we, and by this I largely refer to me, need to keep that end goal in mind. Why do we struggle to be Super? What’s in it for us? For me, it’s really quite simple. I am fiercely independent and I was raised by a Lioness of a mother and I need to be as strong as she was, but of course in a different way. I am completely happy to do atypically masculine tasks like changing lightbulbs and unclogging sinks (but then today, most women are like me in that sense,no?). I want to do everything. I want to fall in bed exhausted knowing that it’s been a productive day. And I know there are tonnes of other women like me out there. Women who strive to multitask, drive, work, cook, clean, teach, write, type. Every day. The best part of this is that we can. Our options are limitless. Right now I’m thinking of my children – because I want them to know that my happiness as a person, as a human being, is important to me. It’s always good to lead by example.
So the denouement of this argument is really simple: I will continue to be the exhausted, but very satisfied, pigeon. I will not be SuperWoman, but I’ll be very satisfied to be just a Woman. A woman who’s trying.