When I was a child, I used to love Wonder Woman, the TV show. I don’t remember not one episode or anything she said (via Spanish subtitles), but I do remember how she would spin around and magically change into a superhero that would save the day. I would spin around thinking that I would transform too.
Today the superheroes seem to be the women who brag that they went back to work 2 weeks after their child was born. Remember Sarah Palin‘s “badge of honor” for returning to work 3 days after her special needs child was born?
When I was pregnant with twins, I read a book written by a doctor who is a twin mom (sorry, don’t remember the name of the book). She boasted about working non-stop, traveling for work, and doing it all throughout her pregnancy.
I know someone who says she worked all the way until the time her water broke at the office, and then they drove herself to the hospital. Sorry lady, you get no kudos for that. I’m not impressed.
The message in our culture comes through loud and clear: Don’t let any circumstance, or any person, place or thing get in the way of your career goals and aspirations. Worse, these women, when they are your bosses and workmates, subtly pressure you to choose between money, job security and career advancement and your life, your health and your family. I think it’s sick.
A child should slow you down. He should turn your life upside down. Things should not go back to business as usual. You should not resume regularly scheduled programming.
Your child is not an interruption, she’s a complete detour. Reroute.
I don’t look up to Wonder Woman anymore (the modern-day one, at least). And I know that spinning around just makes you dizzy.
When I was pregnant with twins, my wise midwife said that our plan of action was to do everything possible to make me low risk and to carry the babies full term. That meant minimizing housework (my dear mother paid for someone to come help out with cleaning and laundry) and resting as much as possible.
Allowing yourself to slow down is not a weakness. Knowing and living in the season that you’re in, is strength.
Taking a break from work to tend to your newborn does not make you less of a woman. You’re not weak because you can’t do it all…today.
You’re not doing anybody any favors by risking pre-term labor in order to prove that women can do as much as men.
And intuitively, I know we know that. We know that when we don’t slow down, life suffers, our children suffer our health suffers. We know that if we don’t pay attention to what’s important (relationships, home life, our body, our devotional life), it starts to wither and die.
We know that.
And yet we also absorb and believe the message that we are our accomplishments, titles and paychecks and that we should be busy with a million activities (even good ones). It’s a badge of honor to be exhausted, because that means we’re doing something, right?
”Our greatest fear…should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” -Francis Chan
Are you investing your life in what really matters? How hard is it for you to slow down, and not try to do it all? Do you ever feel guilty for not trying to juggle more?