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.