Written By: Lauren Howard
Stop praising “superwomen.”
I’m not a superwoman.
I’m tired of hearing about the myth of the perfectly imperfect woman who can do it all because what it really does is glorify the frustrating reality of women who just have too much and no one to take any of it from them.
Or the idea that asking for help somehow means they’re failing.
I have never met a “superwoman” who wasn’t silently struggling, nearly ready to buckle under the pressure of everything she is responsible for, but doing it anyway because it’s what women do.
And that shouldn’t be the case.
The image of the woman who can do it all, handle it all, feed it all, work it all, pick up it all, transport it all, and have the kids in bed in time hurts much more than it helps.
I know people think it’s a compliment. At first glance, it seems like it.
What it really does is create unrealistic standards that make real women feel less than because they feel like they miss the mark every day.
I do a lot and I balance a lot and I get to enjoy the best of a lot.
It’s not because I’m a superwoman.
It’s because I have full-time help, a husband who is incredibly active and does more than 50 percent of the work, and a business that I have worked to build with trust from partners who let me check out when I need to for my kids.
That is not a superwoman. That is a combination of luck, excellent partner selection, and a literal community of people who make it all possible.
It has taken a solid year of hard work that is nowhere near done to undo the instinct to do it all and beat myself up when it’s not all perfect.
I wince at the praise we pile on women who are just doing more than any human should be able to do because they don’t have any other option.
Are women superheroes? Absofckinglutely.
But should they have to be to survive?
If you see a woman in your life who is doing all of it without asking for anything, stop and ask how she is. And when she says she’s fine, ask again. Ask over time until you stop getting the robotic answer that we are all programmed to give. Keep asking until she knows you actually want to know the answer and that you're there to help.
Women can do a lot. Women can do a heroic amount.
But “it all” is not a metric that means anything.
We’re not superwomen.
We’re just women. And a lot of the time, we need someone to notice and lend a hand.
Founder & CEO at elletwo