“I can rub & scrub this old house til it’s shinin like a dime
Feed the baby, grease the car, & powder my face at the same time
Get all dressed up, go out and swing til 4 a.m.and then
Lay down at 5, jump up at 6, and start all over again
‘Cause I’m a woman, w-o-m-a-n..” — Peggy Lee
Let’s face it, ladies. We Real Woman are constantly struggling to maintain our alternate identity: Super Woman. Even back in the 60’s Peggy Lee gave us a song that celebrated how we can do it all, and with style. Pile it on, we can take it. After all, we are capable of child birth – anything else is easy by comparison, right? Somewhere along the way in our lives, we each come to the belief or understanding that we have super strength. Not the kind that oozes out of Super Man, but more in the form fortitude, stamina, and resilience. In the 60’s, Peggy was singing about taking care of home and household. In the 21st century, we still do all that and more – multiple careers, volunteer work, more involvement in our children’s activities, social obligations, travel, and the list goes on.
We wear our Super Woman powers as a matter of pride. Admittedly, we even sometimes slip into a bit of a martyr role (how many times have we rolled our eyes and vented to friends about how we have to pick up the slack at home, or work, or….?). No matter what, we carry on…. UNTIL…. Yes – gasp – there are some times in our lives when we are forced to slow down. Forced to take our capes off temporarily. Times when our bodies are saying “enough already.”
Much to my chagrin, I have been a bit under the weather for a few days. Nothing major, but I have been forced to slow down – and I’m finding it extremely annoying. You have to understand that I am one of those lucky souls who rarely ever get sick. I’m not sure if I just have a knack for dodging germs, or I was blessed with a strong immune system, but whatever the reason, I am content to keep flying along in my little Super Woman costume the majority of the time (someone please, knock on wood for me!). So suddenly feeling yucky and having very little energy is just not something I accept gracefully. Last night after a work event, I came home and went to bed. I didn’t do any laundry, or dishes, or cleaning…nothing. Today I actually left work early to go to the Doctor. This to me is like having Super Woman admit she has to go in for a tune-up. Then I came home and actually sat and read a magazine because I didn’t have the energy to do much else. I haven’t exercised in five days, another rather unheard of situation. Good news of course is it is nothing serious, and I should be able to put my cape back on in another day or so. And I feel completely blessed once again that I AM a healthy person and not battling an illness or disability – and have an even greater appreciation for those out there who are waging serious battles with their health.
My slow-down started me thinking about all of the other Real/Super Women in my life. How so many of you keep flying, fighting the bad guys, taking on the world, with little rest. And how even the strongest, best of us sometimes are forced to stop and hang up the cape. Just for a little while. I realize of course that this is necessary. Because no matter how much we hate to admit it, we are all human. We really don’t have super powers. We have to take care of ourselves, refuel and re-energize when necessary. And we can’t feel guilty about it. We need to give in, just a bit, and let others in our lives carry on for us for a few days. And guess what? The world will keep turning, the people in our lives will not starve. Sure, the house may get dirty, the piles on your desk at work may get a bit higher, and the laundry glaciers may grow.
But have no fear – in no time at all Super Woman will be back, and her cape will be clean and ready and will still fit just fine.