When I look around at my friends, I notice that the vast majority of my female friends are overworked, stressed, and never feel like they get everything done. The vast majority of men I know are fairly relaxed, not massively stressed and quite content. So, why is this?
- A highly successful career
- Super-organisational skills
- A perfect home – always tidy
- A wealth of culinary skills
- A flawless look at all times
- A great sense of humour
- A knowledge to rival Stephen Fry
- A set of crafting skills to rival no other
- Skills in the bedroom
- Perfect mothering skills – and the urge to be a mother
- DIY and car skills – well, it is the 21st century ladies!
I asked my husband-to-be how many of these things he feels under pressure to achieve. Like most men, he’s not hugely worried about external pressures. It’s important to him to be successful in his career so he can afford things. He’s not really worried about having a ‘perfect’ home, and is quite happy to just know the basics of cooking. He’s funny and smart, but doesn’t feel under any pressure to be. He can’t wait to be a dad, but conceded that fathers don’t sit under the same scrutiny that mothers do.
In summary, men don’t feel the same pressures we do. Partly because the media and society doesn’t expect them to be supermen (well, did you ever see Superman making a soufflé while looking after his Superkids?). But it’s partly because…well, they just don’t give a shit.
Now, we’re smart women. We know that our urges to do everything and be Superwomen are fuelled by the media (I’m looking at you the Daily Mail), and expectations from a society that still, whether it admits it or not, has sexist tendencies. The sad thing is, it’s often women that push the idea that you can have it all. We don’t expect men to do it all, so why do we expect it of ourselves?
So, why do we fall for this crap? Especially when the strain of trying to do it all ends up in stress, crankiness and a feeling that we’re never good enough?
It’s no bad thing to aspire to do more things. That’s natural! Learning how to craft, cook or expand your skills at work is only a good thing. But stop pressurising yourself to do everything. Stop trying to be perfect. No one ever gets everything done. No one. Give yourself a break. Stop setting standards based on other people’s lives. Be a savvy woman, not a superwoman.
So, here’s where I put it out there. My name is Emma Cossey, and I’m crap at crafting. I’m untidy, not particularly organised and my cooking skills rely on cheat methods. But I’m a badass at Monopoly and Risk, love nothing more than a good laugh and have a career and a man I love. I don’t have kids yet, but when I do I’m going to take Sally’s advice – Mummy knows best. Not the Daily Mail. Not Mumsnet.
Go on, break the myth! Tell me why you’re a savvy woman, not a superwoman, in the comments below. All those things you’re great at? Celebrate them, and don’t worry so much about the things you can’t do.[box] Have you got your tickets yet to our awesome fundraiser Sex & Mugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll on the 24th November? Tickets are priced at just £8 for 6 hours of jam packed entertainment, dancing and cake. All to raise money for Janies School. Buy tickets now! [/box]
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