Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Death of Super-Woman

There are some things that I miss about the Simple Life. True, it was never really simple, but life was more laid-back, there was less waste, and a sense of community. I really miss those days! I miss the wood cuttings, the barn raisings, and the quilting bees. I miss getting together with other families to butcher a deer or can vegetables. I even miss the idiocy of making ice cream in the dead of winter because that was the only time we had access to ice. But these days, I just miss community.

It seems our culture has turned from the Scriptural premise of "bearing each others burdens" to a "survival of the fittest" mode. Each of us is expected to eek out an existence while putting on a "Super Woman" facade. Inwardly, we wonder what happened to the elder women from Titus 2 and secretly long for the day when a sweet, mature voice on the other end of the line simply asks how we're doing. But when the phone does ring, it's a "less experienced" mom, timidly asking for our help. Bitterly we comply, grumbling that we should be thus imposed upon. How can we bear someone else's burden, when we're already straining under our own? Yet, we plaster on that fake smile and apply ourselves to "their" problem.

What has happened? Can it be that age-segregation in the churches and schools has fostered this mentality? The hoary head is no longer revered, so young mothers must "learn" from their peers? I can't count the number of times when a woman old enough to be my Mom has complimented my "wisdom" and commented on how much she has learned from me! That isn't the way it's supposed to be!

I'm tired of being Super Woman! So, I'm just going to be honest with you. My floor hasn't been mopped in I don't know how long. My toilets need to be scrubbed. I have days when I'd rather frit away my time in some endless dispute on facebook, than attend to the matters of my home. I raise my voice, and lose my temper, then I cry myself to sleep. When a "less experienced" mom calls for help, I'm as likely to bite off her head as to offer a word of encouragement. I wallow in self-pity and despair, but I don't know how to ask for help. And then I go to church with that plastered smile and do everything in my power to convince everyone I meet that I've "got it all together."

Oh, Lord! Would You humble my pride and teach me how to ask for help when I need it? Would You bring me to my knees that I may lift my eyes to Jesus? Teach me to cast my care upon You, that I may truly bear the burdens of others! And may Your name be glorified in all I say and do. Amen!


  1. Thank you for your honesty. At least you have the tenderness of heart to weep after losing your temper (I probably ought to, but haven't.)

    How do we get past SuperWoman to be real with each other? I guess we cannot bear each other's burdens unless we first admit that we HAVE burdens!


  2. I guess the first step is in realizing that we allow society to put unfair expectations upon us. We don't need to be Super Woman! We are each flawed by sin and none of us have adequate training for life. Then, we need to be humble enough to ask for help and gracious enough to accept it (not sure which one is harder for me!) But I think it's also important to soften our hearts to the needs of others. Just because "I had to struggle through this by myself" doesn't mean my sister should!

  3. Perfect timing Mary! Had one of those melt down days yesterday when everything was a mess and had to pull it together laast minute for church. ( Yes sorry I made it the week after you were here) Totally not the superwoman over here!) Anyhow, this was very encouraging in your crazy way!!

  4. Jen, I'm not claiming to be a Super Woman, quite the opposite. But I'm sure, with your brood you must get those kind of remarks from people. They want to put you up on some pedestal and admire you from afar, without taking the time to get to know you and minister to your needs.

    After sleeping on this post, there is one thing I regret. I don't want to seem like I've been totally abandoned by the elder women. They've been gracious to bring meals after each of my babies were born, and after I had surgery on my wrist. They have given wise counsel at baby showers and offered encouragment during many conversations. The fault is mine; for thinking that I have to put up a facade. Elder women are not mind-readers, so we do need to ask for help. Of course, we need to be sensitive too, because they can't run over to our house every time we're having a bad day...

  5. Mary I appreciate your sweet honesty. I agree with you that we seem to have lost the spirit our bearing one another's burdens in this society that we live. We have allowed the busy ness of daily life override what we have been commanded to do. Please forgive me for being so busy with everything that "I" want to do and being too lazy to take the time to give some of the younger moms within our assembly a simple call just to say "how are you doing today?" I think it takes some willing to change to see this trend reversed. Pastor has started a Titus 2 class within our assembly to hopefully change this within our assembly. It will not happen over night but it takes some willing to change to see change. I would love to share your post with the class next week, anonymously of course. When I call you later please let me know what you think. Thank you again for being bold enough to bear your soul.

  6. Thank you for sharing this! i loved your thoughts here. and, as a homeschool mom, it seems i feel all the more pressure for my kids to be more successful and well-mannered than public school children. for me its almost, if they aren't smarter and ahead of their peers then, i am failing them. i know for myself that is not the case! but, the social pressure is still there. my homeschool children still act up in resturants or stores on occasion just like other children. Makes me feel so sad to think that moms are so critical and judgemental of each other instead of the loving ecouraging and burden-bearing sisters Christ called us to be.

  7. Jesse, I know exactly what you're saying! As a child I can remember being bothered by the way my Dad seemed to expect perfection from us, and his disappointment at our failures was painful. I felt as though we were just trophies intended to be placed on a shelf, rather than human beings with real emotions and thoughts.

    Now that I'm a Mom, I totally understand! There are pressures put upon us by the world, the church, our neighbors, and our families; pressures that add to our frustrations, rather than bring us to Christ.

    Jesus criticized the Pharisees for laying heavy burdens upon the people and then not lifting a finger to help them. I have done the same. May we all learn to "bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ."

  8. Jesse, Mary Jo recomended your site to me and I have enjoyed reading your posts and honesty. I would like to recommend a site that helped me seek out wise 'older' women in my church. I found that when I would approch them they were very receptive.

    Now being on the other side (4 grown children) I am learning to be there for the younger ladies.

    sample from the blog:
    First we should pursue friends that mentor. Titus 2:3-5 commands the older women to be training the younger women. We should all be aggressively seeking out other women to help us grow in the admirable qualities of biblical femininity. And if you are that older woman, I want to encourage you to consider passing on your experience and wisdom to those behind you. We need it! So, stop a moment and consider your friends. Young women, we should ask ourselves: “Do I have a friend from whom I am learning some aspect of biblical womanhood?” And older women, ask this question: “Am I faithfully imparting biblical womanhood to at least one friend?”

  9. Mary Jo I just realized that this is your site. The above post is from me (Julia). And I have no idea how to get my name to come up when I post. I am a little slow sometime :)

  10. Julia, thank you for the link to that blog. I really like what I've read so far. And I agree, instead of sitting back and waiting for the phone to ring, we need to be humble enough to call for help or encouragement. This is really hard for me, but something I need to learn.

    Thank you!