I recently had cause to remind my adult children that they i the greatest beneficiaries of their education and that they were not doing me or anyone but themselves a favour by being responsible individuals.
I made the statement because one of them, had not taken a vital step in-spite of several reminders and nagging on my part and I was a bit frustrated by the consequences of the inaction.
Hmmm, a mother’s job is never ending, for as long as one has children and is alive, we continue to mother our children and look out for their best interests.
Motherhood starts way before pregnancy and it doesn’t even end when one is in the grave. Even then, our children implore us not to st in heaven looking at them suffer but to use our influence on God (as if we have any) to help them.
Today, I see a lot of women who are frustrated, bitter and resentful of the sacrifices they’ve made for kith and kin. A lot of us are too ashamed to own up to the emotions and feelings we have lest we are labeled bad mothers or women. Society has not made it easy on us, as it has made womanhood almost akin to being a saint. We are the proverbial “hand that rocks the cradle and world “ or the “wise woman that should build our homes”and if we are seen to be less than capable of the societal standards, we are deemed unworthy of the word “woman” and vilified.
I understand the feelings that make us want to live up to the standards that society has foisted upon us, to play the parts we’ve been cast. To be the caring and attentive mother, the loving and attractive wife, the dutiful daughter and sister, the amiable daughter and sister- in-law, the successful entrepreneur and employee.
The proverbs 31 woman.
However, most times these roles come at a very high price. The price of forgetting and denying ourselves, of waking up one morning to find that time has passed and we can’t recognize ourselves anymore.
On several occasions , especially when my children were much younger I found myself inwardly screaming “Leave me alone” for it felt that I was being pulled from several directions. I wore several hats – mother, nurse, cook, cleaner, house administrator, house help, lover, friend, companion, daughter, sister, friend, employee.
I was meant to be everything to everyone and in the process I forgot about myself. My desires, likes, dreams, aspirations, were sacrificed at the altar of societal expectations.
At first , it felt so good to be indispensable but soon the novelty of being everything to everyone wore off and I began to yearn for a bit of me and when I didn’t have it I began to feel resentful. Yes, resentful of my kids, my life but especially my husband who in the midst of it all ensured his happiness was a priority.
I believe I am not the only woman who has felt somewhat resentful about the sacrifices we have made . Life is full of sacrifices and true love is evidenced by sacrifice but i am sure that if we women look at things objectively many of the errands we sent ourselves on did not have our names on them. Many of the sacrifices we made were choices we took on thinking we had to cover up for other people’s lapses. Many of the things we did and thought were indispensable were a product of our misguided (at times) obligations to please others.
The truth is if we died today our children and husband’s would cry for a few hours , days, months, years but will go on living and will live well. Our children especially, will look at our lives and resolve to enjoy themselves because they are not “superwoman like mummy.”
So, I borrowed myself “brain “as we say in these parts, in the midst of being all that I was and still am to several people, I resolved to enjoy my life, be happy, be me and look out for me. I took time out to go to the gym, parties, attend shows and fairs all by myself, traveled alone, learnt salsa, anything to help me retain my sanity in the midst of life’s pressures.
I am one of the fortunate ones. I am not in the cycle of regret, resentment and bitterness which many women have found themselves on realizing that the sacrifices they made were not as appreciated as they should be. I have in sacrificing myself also made sure I did not lose myself in the process.
So, I tell women today, in the midst of everything going on in your life, don’t forget to look out for you, to look out for what makes you happy, to be happy.
You are not Superwoman.