There are many variations on the same question/comment/musing… whatever you want to call it:
“How do you manage?”
“I don’t know how you do it…”
“I can barely take care of myself, never mind three kids.”
And my favourite:
“You’re Super Woman!”
I can assure you, in confident fact, that I am not Super Woman. Nor am I Cat Woman, Wonder Woman, Black Widow, Ms. Marvel, or any other female figure deemed to be “Super Human.” I am just a normal, everyday, woman doing the everyday woman kinds of things. Like most women in their mid-thirties, I have a job (albeit one that demands significantly longer working hours and higher levels of stress), I have kids, I have a partner, and all the responsibilities that go along with those roles. At the end of every day I collapse into my bed and wonder how I managed to survive yet another day without some kind of catastrophic mishap.
However, I believe the real truth comes when you consider that every 30-something, working mother of young kids, who may or may not have interests or commitments of her own, probably has this exact same thought: “How in the world did I manage to do it all today?” And, I know this because there is nothing easy about any of it. Telling me that I’m some kind of hero for keeping my life flowing in a (semi) forward direction… well, that’s not helpful to anyone, including yourself. The question or statement in itself is one of insecurity and self-depreciation thinly veiled as a compliment to my apparent (and non existent) strengths.
When faced with an exacerbated voice asking me “How do you do it?” I used to get a blank, dumbfounded look on my face while searching my brain for some kind of answer to the question. I felt as if I was supposed to have a magical answer to offer as an explanation for my life, or a secret to being more productive, or more organized, or even in possession of a time turner of sorts. Then I transitioned to more of a diplomatic, neither-here-nor-there kind of answer: “Well, you just do what you have to do…” or “You just find a way to get it all done.” But these days, I don’t know if it’s because I’m just so unbelievably exhausted, or that the comments don’t catch me by surprise anymore, or if it’s my confidence in authenticity that has me replying with an equally exacerbated tone:
“I don’t know how I do it, either. Somehow it just happens.”
And that’s the truth…
I’m not special and I have no Pandora’s box of answers. But I do work hard, I love my family, and I put my best effort into everything I can. Most times its enough, sometimes its’s not, and like everyone else, I have days when I run out of clean underwear… just like you!