I keep hearing a lot lately the words: ‘Strong Woman.’ And it made me think. What does it mean to be a strong woman?
It seems that in the past standards for strong women were more obvious (at least for me): courageous, brave, hero, inspirational, leader, genius, victim, savior, saint, etc.
When I thought of strong women of the past the following names would come to my mind: Rosa Parks, Mother Theresa, Joan of Arc, Margaret Thatcher, Catherine the Great, Vera Atkins, Indira Gandhi and there were so many more.
When I started thinking of a modern strong woman, it wasn’t as obvious of the traits and standards that belong to her. But it seems that one way or another every woman is a strong woman nowadays.
To be able to juggle so many things at once on an everyday basis already makes us strong. Some women are full time moms. And to refer to them as unemployed is unfair. As being a mom is beyond any full-time job. If you have more than one kid, it’s like working two jobs already.
Trying to keep up with the house is another full time job. If you don’t have a hired help for this, you are likely always behind with your house work.
When you add a full time job to all of this, it almost makes it insane. Talking about modern day heroes… 🙂 You are trying to figure out what your priorities are, and you are almost always behind with something, in at least one area of your life and sometimes few or all of them.
To top it all off, our society nowadays, puts a tremendous pressure on us to look good, to have a slim body, to be dressed nicely, to have your hair and make-up done, manicure and pedicure, etc. And a lot of women are drawn towards plastic surgeries, invasive procedures. Not too many women are aging gracefully anymore.
No wonder that so many of us have anxiety and depression nowadays. Unless you are able to hire help with kids, with house, to take care of yourself, etc.- it is not humanly possible to be on top of it all.
So, you are either giving something up or you are not up to the universally and/or culturally recognized standards. And you start driving yourself crazy. To share with you my personal experience: oftentimes, I am ‘beating myself up’ that I’m not a good mother, I’m not a good wife, and I’m not a good daughter…
I have put a high priority on my work, and I always did. In my mind, in order for me to be able to give to my family ‘more’, I have to have a good job, I have to earn money. If you put a high priority on this area of your life, you don’t have much available time for anything else. Therefore, you start feeling like a failure in all other areas of your life, besides career….
Hypothetically speaking, if I were to quit my job and start spending more time with my family, we would not be able to do all of those things we enjoy doing as a family. And don’t get me wrong, we do spend time together, just not as much as I would have liked. And who said that I will be able to feel fulfilled without being employed, without making an impact outside of my family.
I guess there comes a time in everyone’s life when you start questioning things, choices you have made, risks you didn’t take… Is that what mid-life crisis is?:)
I guess we are expected to be so much more nowadays than before. The expectation before was to be a good mother and a housewife. The expectation now is to be a good everything. We have to be feminine and masculine at the same time. No wonder our brain is getting confused. And we are struggling with our own emotions and feelings.
What is the right thing to do? I don’t know yet. But I will continue searching and studying myself. I’m sure there is not one correct answer for everyone. It is individual to each, as all of us are different. We have different personalities, values, backgrounds, and one solution cannot fit all. I’m not sure what the ultimate answer is…
But I do think that trying to stuff ourselves with the pills to numb the confusion, feelings and pain is not the right thing to do. I’m not a doctor and I’m not suggesting you stop taking your medication that was prescribed to you by your doctor if you were diagnosed with a severe anxiety and/or depression. But I do suggest that you start exploring yourself and learning why are you doing the things you are doing, what is driving you and what fulfills you.
As being happy and fulfilled is the ultimate goal for all! And you cannot achieve this without knowing who you are…