I am not superwoman.

I am not superwoman. And that’s ok by me.

I grew up feeling like a lonely throwback to a different time, probably the 50s. My work ethic was formed in an era of woman’s rights, with glass confetti from the shattered ceilings of female professionals falling all around me. But my personal ethic and views on parenthood felt alien.

As children of the 70’s, we were told that we could have it all…kids, husbands, careers, health, hobbies, happiness, spirituality, education, wealth, friends, vacations, nice cars, networks, clubs, philanthropy, ahhh, it tires me just writing all of these things in one sentence.

How am I supposed to pack this all into my daily life? Well, after turning 38 a few days ago, it finally dawned on me. I am NOT going to have it all. At least not all of the above.

I spent a few sad hours this weekend lamenting not having kids and feeling overwhelmed by the responsibilities of our retreat center, the full-time IT consulting project I just took on to help pay the mortgage of the retreat center, our recent downsizing to a condo from a house, and the wedding I still haven’t started to plan after a 14 month engagement.

But then I saw things in a different way. Scott and I were strolling around the Boston Waterfront at our own pace, without any bookends to our day. I was present. I felt happy, I felt loved….and I so didn’t want one extra drop of responsibility on my already weary shoulders. The mothers pushing strollers all around us all looked frazzled and tired. I didn’t envy them. Rather, seeing the crying kids caused me to feel grateful at that moment, not to have the boo-boos and tears on my docket.

Motherhood has always seemed to me like the hardest, most unrelenting, rewarding and fulfilling responsibility imaginable. And until recent years, I assumed that “some day” I would be a mother. But somehow, either by following the path of least resistance, unconscious design or the speed of life, I’m not (yet?) a mother.

I’ve always believed being a mother commands undivided attention at every moment and Attention overall. To me this means if I am to be a mother, I need to be present. My mind can’t be cluttered all the time with work to-dos, teaching ideas, new book ideas, recipes, blog posts, financial stress, and all the rest of my current life. I know women who seem to be able to do this, even thrive on juggling kids, jobs, and everything that comes with both. But I don’t have the energy and I know I’ll short change, Scott, our someday-child and my well-being by trying add a child to our already complicated lives. I am not superwoman. I have too much on my plate right now and I want to unload some before we even think about adding a baby.

It’s scary that as each day passes, the statistical functionality of my fertility decreases. But for me, it’s scarier to have competing demands of a job, business and baby. The first two will have to nearly disappear before I will have the attention and energy for the third.

Suddenly, I am no longer afraid to say, I can’t do it all. Or maybe my yoga practice has helped me become more aware of my limits. Whatever it is, I know I can't do it all, but I can be in this moment and live in this moment, superwoman or not.

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Anonymous said...

Thankyou so much for this article. I am a single mom, work full time, and i trying to start a yoga studio.Ive been really nervous about cutting my hours at my present job to make time for the studio(which is a dream of mine).Because of bills and so forth and trying to juggle them all is really wearing me down to the point where i have pushed my own practice aside.Your article has come to me at a perfect time.I deffently need to regroup and take the leap of faith for my daughter and myself.

Anonymous said...

Excellent Point Florian.

Crazy Joe said...

Some days I wake up and want to complain about my disability and the fact that I'm not that young man that can run until my lungs feel like they'll pop out of my chest. There are days that I complain that I have to walk such a long distance in from the parking lot to a store because I know that I'll just exhaust myself making me useless throughout the day. Then there are those people who come up to me and try to help me with something and my first reaction is... don't treat me like a cripple. I can do it! I can do anything I want to do. But in reality, I don't think I'll ever be the person I used to be and seeing people stretch out to help me doesn't show that I'm weak or inferior in some way. I have had to swallow a lot of pride realizing that I have come to a point in my life where I need to ask for help and I treasure the moments when I have people close to me to lend a helping hand. Sometimes it is difficult to go through the world alone, especially when you think you can do it all alone. There are certainly more occasions that I appreciate the love and support of those closest to me that keep me driving on. I think you have found your strength and know that you can tackle anything you set your mind to especially knowing that you will have that support and love from those that mean the most to you. And with that thought, I'm able to step out of bed one more day and face the pain and challenges that are ahead of me. Keep your head up!

Josey's mom said...

Excellent insights-I appreciate your candor and have found that passing the 41 marker, I am finally free because I am ok with not having it all.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post. I am a mom and yoga teacher and communications professional, but realized after the birth of my first child that I could not have it all if I wanted to parent and love my children the way I had always hoped to. So, I went part-time at work so I could continue to teach yoga and be home as much as possible with my kids. I definately put my communications career in neutral for a bit, but I am not a superwoman either. I strive for the place in the middle, not efforting too much or too little.