‘A ticking time bomb, I realized something had to give. I stepped down from the committee and cried my eyes out.’: Woman realizes ‘I am not wonder woman, I can’t do it all’

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“You mean I’m NOT Wonder Woman?

A few weeks ago, I had an epiphany. It was rather a strong one, the kind that hits you over the head with a 2×4. And these days…that’s an expensive blow!

I AM NOT WONDER WOMAN! I CAN’T DO IT ALL!

I was stunned! It was a crushing blow. My jaw dropped. I was speechless. You’re probably asking, ‘What could have caused this realization?’ A text. One simple text.

It basically said…’Hi all! I sent you an email with a few dates to choose from so we can schedule our next meeting.’ So, I click on my Yahoo app and open the email.

There were 4 dates. I already had 2 meetings and an appointment scheduled on 3 of those 4 dates. Oy Vey. These dates were over a 2-week period. Over that same 2-week period, I also had a couple more meetings on the books. That’s when the 2×4 hit me. Bang! Right across the forehead. Like I said, I was stunned.

There is just not enough of me to go around; to do all the things I want/need to do.

At the time, I was the co-treasurer of the marching band boosters at my son’s high school, secretary of a political committee, Alderman, on the Long-Range Comprehensive Plan committee for the town I serve, general manager at work (my boss had just purchased 2 additional businesses, so my workload had increased greatly), wife, and mother. Wow, as I type this out and think about each position, I can see why this epiphany happened. I was a time bomb waiting to go off.

Woman being sworn into office on her local town's committee
Courtesy of Christy Renfrow
Mom helps her high school son push his instrument for a marching band performance
Courtesy of Christy Renfrow

You should also know, I have a touch of OCD and perfectionism in certain aspects of my life, as well as ADHD, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Yay me. Also at this time, I hadn’t physically laid eyes on my son in days. (He is quite the busy guy, too. It was the end of the school year, he has a girlfriend, and he has a job.) I didn’t get to spend much time with my husband. I leave for work between 5-5:30 a.m.  when he’s still asleep. Work all day. Come home for about a minute and a half, just enough time to grab a bite, then leave for whatever meeting I have.

Woman sits in an old-fashioned diner and shares a coke with her husband
Courtesy of Christy Renfrow

On work nights, whether I have a meeting or not, I go to bed early. On nights I have something, I go to bed as soon as I get home. On the nights I don’t have anything scheduled, I have to make myself stay awake until at least 9 p.m. If I fall asleep before 9 p.m., I’ll be wide awake at 2 a.m. I don’t tell you all this looking for sympathy. I just want you to understand what my daily life looked like.

Side note…while I was typing this, I ended up having to fire 2 employees. There are many reasons why, but not showing up today was the last straw. So, now we can add this problem to my work load.

And now back to my ‘moment.’ After the text, email, and several minutes of thinking, I realized something had to give. With great sadness, I stepped down from the political executive committee. Back when I won my election for Alderman, I had already decided not to seek re-election for the band boosters board, so my time there came to a close at the end of May. (I will still volunteer and chaperone for my son’s senior year.) I went home later that day and cried my eyes out. I cried because I had to give up those things I love, but mostly I cried because I felt like a failure.

I come from a generation that was a huge leap for women and men continuing on the same path they’ve been on since the dawn of time. I was born in the early 70’s when women were burning their bras in the middle of main street. I grew up in the 80’s when women entered the work force, and not as secretaries and teachers. They were climbing the corporate ladder. My generation of girls were raised by women who were still expected to stay home, raise the kids, and keep house. So growing up between women’s lib and June Cleaver, my generation of women grew up believing we had to do both, to do it all…raise kids, keep house, volunteer, AND work full time. The men of my generation were still raised to be the bread winner. That’s it. Grow up, get a job. They weren’t taught how to share the responsibilities of child rearing, cleaning house, and working a full time job. I am NOT blaming any generation or gender here. I am just explaining how women of Generation X were raised.

Mom enjoys a nice breakfast out with her daughter
Courtesy of Christy Renfrow

We were set up, by society, to fail. No matter what path we have chosen in life, we will all have that 2×4 moment, that epiphany – we can’t do it all. Then comes the feeling of failure. It’s such a hard blow to our self-esteem, our self-worth. It makes us question ourselves as women, as mothers, as wives, as someone climbing the corporate ladder. Who am I? Who am I if I don’t do all the things?

I’ve had several weeks to think about those answers, and I’ve come to a conclusion.

I’m still me. By stepping back from a few things, I am a better mom, a better wife, a better ladder climber. I am a better ME! I don’t have to do everything to be a better me. I just have to do the things I’m able to the best of my ability.

We, as women, have to do better by ourselves and by each other. We have to stop judging each other. We have to help each other. And most importantly, we have to lift each other up. One of my favorite lines from a movie (Moms’ Night Out) is, ‘I’m a hot mess, but I’m His hot mess.’ We are all sons and daughters of the King of kings. We are His. When I see your crown slipping, I will help you straighten it.”

Mom and business woman takes a selfie, embracing her natural beauty
Courtesy of Christy Renfrow

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Christy Renfrow. Submit your own story hereand be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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