Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Curse of the Competent Woman

Herself speaks.

As I have mentioned previously, when I was a preteen, the feminism movement was strong, and there was a tremendous push to encourage young girls: "you can do anything!" "You can have any career you choose, if you set your mind to it." "Girls are just as good at math, at science, at everything, as boys." I believed it. I had no sense that things might be otherwise. The all-girls high school I attended (and at which I received the most excellent education) further underscored the potential of each girl to achieve. We learned self-reliance, fortitude, perseverance. All very good traits that have served me well, not only in college, but thereafter, and always.

There is one downside, though, of which we were not aware then, and about which we were never taught:

The curse of the competent woman.

When you are smart and strong and capable, self-reliant and persevering, so much is expected of you. And you willingly take on task after task, juggling and multitasking, because women can do anything, so surely you should be able to do ALL THIS too.

And then, some days, you realize you are tired. And occasionally overwhelmed. Really, what you would like most of all is for someone to make you dinner and take care of all the million little things for a few hours, just so that you can have a respite from all the things that a competent woman does. But, you are a competent woman -- you can do. And so you do. You do not ask for help, because that is most definitely not what a competent woman does. You do, and do, and thus it becomes: barring an Absolutel Crisis, you are expected to continue to do all that you do.

Why? Because women can do anything if they set their minds to it.

So very tired.
Too tired to ask for help.
Perhaps, for now, a nap is best.

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