I first saw this sentence in a magnet. It showed a woman with a desperate look, as if she were asking the world to give her some respite – I found it very relevant and I bought it. It has been on my fridge ever since, and whenever I have a glimpse of it it invariably makes me smile.
It is a fact that many of us women think we’re invincible. Worse, we think we are super women and we are secretly proud when we read some article praising the capacity we have of doing do many things at the same time. In fact we take this as a “female characteristic”, as we are utterly convinced men are incapable of doing that!
Take me, for example: in just one morning I have my gym session with my PT; then I’m back home for a quick shower and I take my ten minute drive to work (fortunately I live near my work, or it would be an added complication). Then I have my first coffee, I open my mails, I make some phone calls, I have a meeting…between mails and meetings I still find time to schedule an appointment at the doctor, to call home and warn the lady who has taken care of us for many years not to forget that my elder son will not be coming for lunch, and to warn my younger son he has an extra lesson that afternoon…the morning is soon over and I’m off to lunch, I grab something very quickly because this is precious time that cannot be wasted doing nothing: on Mondays I go to the hairdresser, on Fridays I try to go and have lunch with Mom, sometimes I have a working lunch and on others I go to the supermarket near the office and do some “speed shopping” – and have them deliver the groceries later on at home! On my way to the office I pass an ATM machine and withdraw some money or charge my younger son’s card: “Mom, I have no money on my card at all…”, and then I’ll go up to the office and again I’m doing tons of things at the same time!
Now that spring has finally arrived and days are so much longer I forget the time and when I look at the watch it’s seven pm…sometimes I have to force myself to shut the computer and go home, there are so many things to do, still…
I’m very lucky because when I get home I don’t have to cook dinner; our “guardian angel” has already prepared it. I’ll briefly talk to the boys before they leave for their respective trainings: Pedro leaves at 7.30 and arrives at 9.30 and Afonso leaves at 8.30 and comes back at 10.30, so no family dinners during the week, and I’ll be heating dinners and putting dishes into the dishwasher until 11 o clock…yes, I know they are big boys, then can do it, but then they come home so tired, and mothers are like that…no matter how tired we are ourselves.
Because I’m positive we (so called “super women”) are all on the brink of exhaustion. I know that I am.
Some weeks I have to travel, and even if I enjoy meeting different people and being with my colleagues from other countries it is very tiring: travelling by plane has become more and more complicated. Just to pass security is a nightmare: I’m always ready with the liquids and my iPad, but depending on the airport they will ask me to take off my shoes (which I hate!), and my bracelets (which I hate even more because I never take them off otherwise and they are a lot of trouble to put back on). And then it’s as if you are getting dressed all over again, putting back your scarf, your jacket, your shoes…my God!
Is there an alternative? I don’t know. Do I know how to live otherwise, without this constant running from one place to the other, from one subject to another, from the mail to the telephone, from doctor’s appointments to supermarkets and the occasional meetings at Pedro’s school? From a quick coffee with friends to some errand to the laundry or that phone call you really have to do to a relative you haven’t talked to for some time now or to one of your friends who has been operated on recently…From my professional agenda to my personal one – and yes, I keep two, and both in paper, although I also use the electronic one….the question is…do I know how to live without this urge to take care of everything myself?
And I could go on and on, but I think by now I’ve made my point. Maybe I do too many things, maybe I should slow down…to be truthful I must confess I do relax at weekends and I sleep and sleep…and during the summer I spend fantastic lazy afternoons on the beach and they do me the world of good, filling me with energy. So I suppose for the time being I’ll go on like this, always running, trying not to be late, trying to squeeze my numerous engagements into the few hours of my day. And I suppose I’ll go on feeling I’m a super woman, invincible…and inevitably tired.