I’m Not Your Superwoman

Lois Lane's first appearance as Superwoman. Ar...

Lois Lane’s first appearance as Superwoman. Art by John Sikela. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was a song I loved growing up, titled: I’m Not Your Superwoman, performed by Karen White. If you were to go check out the lyrics (video here), you’d wonder why it appealed to my teenage self. But it did non-the-less.

A few years ago I started using the catch phrase: “Well I’m off to save the world one person at a time.” It was my standard exit line instead of “bye” or “I have to go.”

People would say things like “Oh you’re a superhero?” Of course, dripping with sarcasm.

To which I would reply in the affirmative. Assuring them, “My cape is tucked into my blazer and my tights and boots were hidden in my heels.

They’d ask, “If you’re a superhero, what powers do you have?”

Thinking they’d stumped me I would smile and say, “I can read minds.”

You know what comes next …

Prove it!”

You’re thinking, she’s out of her @#$% mind,” I’d say, getting a laugh for my flippancy.

I’m not your Superwoman …

Nor do I want to be …

Boy I am only human …” is a line from the song. And that’s me. I’m only human. And most of the time the first person I’m off to save is me, from myself.

Superwoman (Kristin Wells). Art by Gil Kane, 1983.

Superwoman (Kristin Wells). Art by Gil Kane, 1983. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Growing up though … my mom was Superwoman. She worked full-time outside of the home. I honestly don’t know how she did it. Even with the help of 4 able-bodied children.

Our house was always clean. She managed to make home-cooked meals at least 4 nights a week. The other 3 nights were handled by the leftovers. Laundry was always done. And not just washed and dried but folded and put away. And, we didn’t have a dryer, they were hung on a clothesline outside (year round). Dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, scouring.

It all got done some how; without modern conveniences. We didn’t have a dishwasher (she still doesn’t). I was almost out of high-school before we got a microwave.

Yet, our home was a constant state of “guest readiness”.

Where am I going with this?

My husband and I have been talking about hiring someone to come in and help clean our house; maybe cook meals. We just can’t do it. Not with our schedules and other responsibilities. 

I have several friends who’ve referred their person or service; a maid who fills the gaps in house work and does the things that they just can’t. It seems the norm within my peer group.

And crazy as it sounds … it feels like cheating … taking an unauthorized shortcut. I actually feel guilty for needing the help (which I shouldn’t – feel guilty that is).

I mean what’s different from the generation before to my generation now? I guess each generation has its battle. For my mom, she was up against the June Cleaver model of wife and mother.

Barbara Billingsley in the pilot "It's a ...

Barbara Billingsley in the pilot “It’s a Small World”, 1957. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Still … how’d she pull it off?

My mother was always the first one up and usually the last one down. Which is true for me too but I accomplish far less around the house than she did.

I don’t remember seeing her enjoy much of the homey home she provided. She rarely sat to read a book or watch TV. Maybe on Mothers’ Day or her birthday meals were prepared and served to her. There weren’t days of staying in her PJs to cuddle up with us.

That’s not what I want from my life.

So this is me giving myself permission: I’m NOT Your Superwoman.

I’m just a woman … a mom … a wife … an employee … a daughter … a friend … a sister … Dreaming of living a SUPER life.

Now I’m off to save my world.

To all you Superwomen out there, my cape’s off to you for all that you do!

Superwoman (Kristin Wells)

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An End of an Era

This past year or so has found us saying goodbye to many talented people, who have shaped our culture and our lives …

Steve Jobs
Whitney Houston
Don Cornelius
Sherman Hemsley
Richard Dawson
Dick Clark
Donna Summer
Andy Griffith
Ray Bradbury

And that’s just a short list. With each announcement I feel the hit. Each marking the fact that we’ve come to an end of an era.

This week finds me saying goodbye to a personal celebrity and life influencer. A woman who’s been a part of my life for more than three decades.

She was known for her role as church mother. If you’re not familiar with the term “church mother” it is a title of respect for a woman who cares for everyone she comes in contact with. Very common in predominantly African-American churches. It’s the living out of the African proverb:  “It takes a whole village to raise a child.”

Church mothers were vital to me growing up. They filled the gaps when my Mom wasn’t available because of work. We even called her mother.

As a church mother she shared her faith, strength, and wisdom. She encouraged us and spent time with us. She taught Sunday School and sang in the church choir. To this day her version of Go Tell It on the Mountain is the version that resonates with me.

Others will come along and show me examples of faith and strength. They’ll even provide me wisdom. But gone is her voice and experience.

She was known for being a church mother but she was famous for her southern hospitality, down-home BBQ, and home made peach cobbler.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve had the opportunity to stand beside her in the kitchen. She tried to pass down the recipe for the famous peach cobbler. But she was from the school of just a pinch or a dab, a smidge or a dash. It couldn’t be written down in measurements I could follow:  teaspoon or tablespoon or cup or quart.

It’s lost to us.

But the memory of her and everything she had to offer our lives and culture will live on. I celebrate her life and honor her legacy …

Thank you Mother for the hand you had in raising me.