Woman Or Superwoman?

Posted: March 27, 2012

Guest Blogger Lata Gwalani is a behavioural trainer and principal facilitator at Human Impact Training and Consulting Pvt. Ltd. She is the author of the psychological thriller, INCOGNITO. She can be contacted at lata@thehumanimpact.in and you can follow her on http://carelessbytes.wordpress.com

If you are one of those women who are constantly scuttling between roles with this frighteningly sickening fetish for being perfect in all your roles, then you are likely a good candidate for the Superwoman title.

Whoa! But, hold on…it is not a title that you would want to flaunt, because, the epithet ‘superwoman’ is a crown void of all its sheen. Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. All that happens to you is that you drown yourself in a deluge of stress and self-pity. What’s worse, no one seems to care about your self-anointed Superwoman status.

So, what’s with the superwoman syndrome? 

The perfect employee, the perfect wife, the perfect homemaker, the perfect mother, the perfect daughter, the perfect daughter-in-law… Phew! All of this in one perfect person! When will you stop chasing perfectionism?

Is perfectionism required in everything that we do? I would say a flat ‘no’. Yes, we need to do things correctly. But, perfectly? No.

Lower the bar

Be easy on yourself. When you are not at home for almost 10 hours a day, you are not going to have ‘the perfect home’. Accept it. There is no need to hang yourself over this. Lower your expectations of yourself. Bending over backwards to get things done ‘perfectly’ will only add to your levels of stress. This will, in turn, affect your relationships.

Give yourself realistic goals. Draw sharp lines and encourage yourself to do just that much. Resist the temptation to cross the line by stretching yourself more. This would be difficult initially. However, with time, you will be relieved, both mentally and physically.

Let things lie

As a working woman, your time at home is limited and valuable. Establish your priorities well. If need be, reprioritise. Choose prudently. Tidying up the room or spending those fifteen minutes with the kids, just sitting and listening to them? Reframe your thoughts. A home has to look lived in! Not like a prim and propah hotel suite! If it helps, you could strike a deal – cleaning on alternate evenings and spending time with family on the other. Work to a schedule like this, and you can slip comfortably into the new pattern.

Shed the guilt

A woman’s deadliest foe is the guilt that gnaws away at her insides. More often than not, guilt is self-induced.  There are many external factors that contribute to guilt, such as a rebuke from family, a snide remark, comparisons made. But, the decision to let the guilt envelope one completely is purely one’s own sensitivity. Self-esteem plays a pivotal role in this context. Women with high self-esteem can successfully handle guilt-inducing techniques used by others. Positive self-talk can help alleviate guilt pangs.

Delegate or get help

The one strong contender for the Superwoman title is the “I will do it myself” trait that most women nurture in themselves. Biting off more than you can chew has always proved to be a faux pas. Even organisations know and believe that delegation is the way to mental sanity. Accept that you cannot do everything yourself. Start delegating in a small way and then go all out.

When you begin to delegate, brace yourself for the imperfections of the outcome. It is extremely unfair to expect others to perform your tasks with the same level of efficiency and finesse that you pride yourself in. Give people a chance. Be patient and focus on long-term gains.

The bigger canvas of life

As a working woman and a homemaker, stay focussed on the bigger things in life, such as honing your work skills and spending happy moments with the family. The routine, mundane, everyday living need not be the mainstay of your existence. Shift your paradigm from the nitty-gritty to things that really matter in the long run. Expand the canvas of your life to include joyous moments, even if they be spent in the midst of a messy home.

Because, eventually when it is time to bid goodbye, I am sure you will not regret the fact that you did not clean your house enough! So, let’s leave with no regrets, and with a life lived to the fullest as a superwoman!

*Photo credit: Jim Legans, Jr (Used under the Creative Commons Attribution License)

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  1. I definitely want to be just a woman…so that i can have some of me for myself…only then will i be able to give any happiness to anyone else

  2. Loved the article, and specially the last paragraph on Big canvas of life and on just being a women but not a super one!

  3. Pingback: Woman Or Superwoman? « Lata Gwalani

  4. I am with the writer’s views on this. I am of the opinion that indulging in multitasking is fraught with dissatisfaction of not doing your best. Only way is to delegate to others. This requires full trust in others which is not easy. At the end of the day what really matters is a thought that you have lived the day with full satisfaction.

  5. Wow… agree with almost everything written in the article… but it’s just so tricky to implement it in reality…

    I must share it with so many of those women out there who sail in the same boat as me!

  6. Please me to differ This is rather like the 5 blind men trying to check out a elephant. You can be good at all these If you draw pleasure in all that you do.So just mold your attitude. Just remember don’t over load your plate and have a +ve mental attitude.Everyone loves a +ve person.
    PS: If U have a pet dog please learn from him / her how to be happy 🙂

  7. This is what Chetan Bhagat has to say 🙂

    Chetan Bhagat’s Article in todays TOI 20th jul 11 :

    Do Read it and share it with all the women in your life

    Alright, this is not cool at all. A recent survey by Nielsen has revealed that Indian women are the most stressed out in the world: 87% of our women feel stressed out most of the time. This statistic alone has caused me to stress out. Even in workaholic America, only 53% women feel stressed.

    What are we doing to our women? I’m biased, but Indian women are the most beautiful in the world. As mothers, sisters, daughters, colleagues, wives and girlfriends – we love them. Can you imagine life without the ladies?

    For now, i want to give Indian women five suggestions to reduce their stress levels.

    One, don’t ever think you are without power. Give it back to that mother-in-law. Be who you are, not someone she wished you would be. She doesn’t like you? That’s her problem.

    Two, if you are doing a good job at work and your boss doesn’t value you – tell him that, or quit. Talented, hard-working people are much in demand.

    Three, educate yourself, learn skills, network – figure out ways to be economically independent. So next time your husband tells you that you are not a good enough wife, mother or daughter-in-law, you can tell him to take a hike.

    Four, do not ever feel stressed about having a dual responsibility of family and work. It is difficult, but not impossible. The trick is not to expect an A+ in every aspect of your life. You are not taking an exam, and you frankly can’t score cent per cent (unless you are in SRCC, of course). It is okay if you don’t make four dishes for lunch, one can fill their stomach with one. It is okay if you don’t work until midnight and don’t get a promotion. Nobody remembers their job designation on their dying day.

    Five , most important, don’t get competitive with other women. Someone will make a better scrapbook for her school project than you. Another will lose more weight with a better diet. Your neighbour may make a six-dabba tiffin for her husband, you don’t – big deal. Do your best, but don’t keep looking out for the report card, and definitely don’t expect to top the class. There is no ideal woman in this world, and if you strive to become one, there will be only one thing you will achieve for certain – stress.

    So breathe, chill, relax. Tell yourself you are beautiful, do your best and deserve a peaceful life. Anybody trying to take that away from you is making a mistake, not you. Your purpose of coming to this earth is not to please everyone. Your purpose is to offer what you have to the world, and have a good life in return.

    The next time this survey comes, i don’t want to see Indian women on top of the list. I want them to be the happiest women in the world. Now smile, before your mother-in-law shouts at you for wasting your time reading the newspaper.

  8. Pingback: Changing Roles of South Asian Women - masalamommas.com

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