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It’s high time we stopped calling working mothers ‘superwoman.’ The author says if working women are superwomen, then all other women are too!
Earlier, when someone called me a ‘superwoman,’ I cherished it and my heart swelled up. But not anymore. Not for the past few years.
Why, you ask? Well, there are a number of reasons for that.
When a colleague called me ‘superwoman’ at work, I was overwhelmed because it was my first time! I was called a ‘superwoman’ just because I worked long hours at the office, cooked at home, took care of the family. All this caused me to be bombarded with mumbo-jumbo!
And then, when I failed at one task in my project, presumably an old unresolved issue, my superwomanhood was questioned. “Come, you can do this! You are superwoman, after all,” they said.
That day, it stabbed me and it stabbed me hard. Just one tiny failure and my stardom started to shake! Again, people rubbed the myth against my identity while I happily nurtured my child and juggled work and home. By then, the label had started losing its sheen. I had started becoming indifferent to it.
But one day, someone called me superwoman while I was with my mother. I just passed it with a smile. And while I smiled, my mother was restless. I gauged her feelings.
Perhaps, she felt offended. Though she is a simple lady who doesn’t take things to her heart, she is a proud woman too! She has her own confidence and personality and there are some skills of hers that I absolutely cannot match.
Once we got back home, I asked her the reason for her restlessness. What she said cannot be erased from my memory, it is etched forever.
While she did not object to the label on me, our conversation forced me to ponder about the real candidates of the title – Super Woman. The crux of the discussion was something like this–
I worked at the office, she worked at home. While I delegated my tasks to a cleaner or cook, she did it all herself. I coded eye-catching and colourful reports, she made delicious papads and achars at home. Where I coddled one kid, she had two. While I spent all my money on luxury, she spent her energy and time on others. She won here because she saved the money.
We both worked in our spaces with our full rigour and vigour. But she hardly got any appreciation from the world. Though she does have a Master’s in economics, she chose to stay at home and look after the family.
If I really think about it, mom never worked for a living, but she did all she could to keep me happy. To keep us, the family, happy. She isn’t an un-superwoman. For me, she is superb and she is superb for my brother too!
Doing engineering was my choice, working was also my choice, and so was grinding in a nine-to-none job! What I did was my wish, while what mum did was hers.
While there is no dearth of talent in women all over the world, not all get a chance to show it to the world. Women in rural areas do it every day—work, motherhood, and household chores. They never get the superfluous tag of superwomen. And, they tread their journey too. Restlessly, tired yet content.
The millennial society wants women to earn, care for the kids, serve lip-smacking meals all the while satisfying the man in her life.
But what if a woman fails to do any of these? What is the sum total when she does not complete a task or two?
An immense pressure crushes her back to perform top-notch in all areas of her queendom. Any mistake and the crown is crushed. But no one tells the ladies, that it is perfectly fine to miss the finish line some times. And that it is alright to just rest and forget the failures. So what if the long-awaited, well-deserved promotion was withheld or if the food was burnt?
Don’t burden the young (or old) women with this massive weight on their shoulders. Not just because a lot of these failures are momentary, but they pave a road to learnings too. Quite often, these are the stepping stones to a fulfilling life and success.
“A woman can have it all, yes. But not necessarily, all of them together.”
I wish people would stop hammering a woman with the label of a superwoman. Superwoman is a myth. And if it is true, every woman is a superwoman with her own wins and non-glamorised success stories.
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Tumhari Sulu
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After a decade-and-a-half long IT career, Rashmi switched to professional writing as
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