Wonder Women (& Man)
Molly: I thought I would change it up a bit and ask a question instead of John. One of the instructors in my family nurse practitioner master’s program sent all of the students an email in the first semester reminding us that we are not Wonder Women (all female class). Her point was that we can’t do everything: work, be a student, parent, spouse, friend, etc. and we would have to give something up in order to be successful in the program. I have often thought about that email, especially as a female professional in that I feel do need to be everything. This is further reinforced by the unrealistic portrayals on social media. My secret is being resourceful, delegation, and prioritization (aka not sweating the small stuff). I am open about getting the help I need (it takes a tribe), but I am still everything. My question for my three friends – Do you feel you have to be “everything” and if so, how do you do it?
John: Everything to who, Molly? You? Trish? Jen? Anyone else? Nope. Not anymore. The only respect to me that matters is self-respect. I know who my inner-circle is, I know who I value and who want to be proud of me; and I know who I don’t. We can do everything, we just can’t do it all at once. You always have to give up something, to get something, and some of things that I gave up, were self-loathing, self-doubt and limiting beliefs. If you want to be everything to everyone, you will fail miserably and most importantly, let yourself down. That hurts the worst. I was the world champ of that. I could’ve whipped Tyson in his prime. But realistically, I used to think everyone was watching me, but they are not, they are busy living their own lives. As they should. The only way I am busy worried about everyone else and I am not focusing on what I need to – learning, growing, bettering my skills; worried about me. I have said it once and I will say it a thousand times – when you work on improving yourself, the good things happen, but when you work on improving yourself, then good things always happen. I don’t have to be anything to anyone other than me. And my dog. Because when I come home, no matter what, he will lick my face. He loves me. Kelly loves me but most importantly, I love me.
Jen: No way! I definitely do not feel obligated to do or be everything to everyone. However, I do often feel other people expect me to sometimes. And other times I begrudgingly jump in and take over, because, you know, “me do it better myself…” Last weekend my husband bought some salmon filets to cook. He is not a chef, but he can make food that is totally edible. He’s always had issues with salmon for some reason though (once baked it in >1 inch depth of olive oil, splatter everywhere, never mind the mushiness…). Sunday night I was beat and the two of us were in a silent battle-of-wills waiting to see who was going to cook the fish. He finally walked into the kitchen, and with dramatic snail-like slowness, began taking everything out to cook. I walked in and told him I was exhausted and I was not able to cook or clean up; not something I often say when someone looks like they need help. I suggested maybe we should cook something different. He told me no way, and insisted he had it under control. I left him to it and went upstairs, expecting dinner in 15 or so minutes. About 45 minutes later, I went back downstairs to see what was going on. He had side dishes prepared and already cold again and was staring at the oven holding a pot-holder. I could see the defeat in his face and took the pot-holder away and fish out of the oven. It was still raw! He had the oven on 325 degrees as opposed to broil because, “the package it came in said to do that”. I flipped on broil, made some adjustments and in ten minutes I had everything reheated and the salmon fully done. This is not meant to be a story about traditional gender roles or to jab at my sweetheart, it just happens to illustrate that my husband lacks experience with salmon broiling. My broader point is that there are times when I have an urge to do things because I am impatient, even when others are willing. So no Molly, I don’t feel I have to be everything, but sometimes I guess I just want to be (or something like that). 😂
Trish: Molly, I do feel like I have to be “everything”- the one who has it all together, the one to take lead, the one to lean on, the one who is the “wonder woman”! I set such high standards for myself and I am my own worst critic when I realize I don’t have it all together. Just today I realized that I paid my monthly mortgage payment to my car loan holder last month. I use online banking bill pay and the two companies are listed one after the other on the pay to list. Bad news is- I got hit with a nasty late fee on the mortgage and good news is- I will outright own my car next month after I pay the last $479 left on the car loan. This mistake hit me hard mentally. Seriously, how could I have mistaken one company for the other. I’ve made over 48 payments perfectly to each of these companies previously! I pride myself on having it “mostly together” all the time and I don’t make mistakes like this. Today was a great learning lesson to me, that I have to back myself down on trying to be the person who has it all together all of the time and realize that mistakes happen, they can be fixed (sometimes with a nasty late fee attached), we learn, move on, and most importantly, that we breathe through the process and reset. Today, I am pressing the wonder woman reset button and waiting for my next great win and my next mistake.
Originally published Dec 7th, 2018; Four Friends Molly Downhour, Patrician Graham, John Nocero, and Jennifer Rawley