Taking Off My Cape
Let me ask you something ladies. When was the last time you were truly taken care of? I mean, so taken care of that you didn’t need to use your brain for anything! You didn’t have to worry because you knew that life was going to continue on seamlessly, even with someone else at the reigns. And all you had to do was sit back, relax and enjoy not having to be the ringmaster for a while.
I’m willing to bet that it may have been a very long time ago.
But I’m wondering if that might be the case for some of us because we have a tendency to resist the opportunities to be taken care of because it conflicts with our definition of being an independent woman. Our fear of losing control of the details of our day to day leaves us to appear as though we never need or want someone else doing those things for us that we could do for ourselves.
I’ve been thinking about this lately because of some recent experiences and some of the emotions that came with those experiences.
Being the Ultimate Independent Woman!
Last summer my husband had a pretty serious surgery requiring months of recovery. I stepped up in a way I’ve never had to before. I stepped up for him and for our family by taking care of him during his recovery and taking over the management of our entire house by adding to my plate all of the household responsibilities that have been his for years. With the help of family and friends I was able to juggle all of the kids’ activities and the household responsibilities and even learned a few new skills in the process (like how to cut the grass and how to put salt in the water softener). Hey! Don’t judge. I guarantee my husband couldn’t tell you how to turn on the washing machine or what cleaning cloths to use to clean the bathroom!
It was a stressful time for all of us, but being able to keep our family life afloat, virtually on my own, was honestly very empowering. Sure, the experience also made me grateful to have a partner to share not only the good parts of life with, but also the responsibilities. Coming out of that experience with my husband fully healed and life back to normal, I can see how confident it made me feel to know that I really could do it all if I had to. This feeling, I thought, must be what pure independence feels like.
How It Feels to Rely on Someone Else
Now contrast experience #1 with a recent experience I had while travelling with our family. The four of us finally did what we’ve been talking about for a few years now – we booked a trip which would require us to
a) Go on a plane and
b) See the ocean
While I coordinated all of the basic travel requirements like booking the flight and the resort, my husband was delegated the responsibility of deciding on transportation to and from the airport. We did what we typically do – I take the role of project lead and divvy up the duties and then we work together to make sure everything gets done.
On travel day though, I was in for a nice surprise! When we settled into the shuttle for the airport – my husband completely took over. I mean, he took full charge of the situation and ensured that the kids and I made it from that shuttle office to the airport, through check-in and security and safely onto the plane.
Once we arrived at our destination, my husband found our luggage and our hotel shuttle, and all the three of us had to do was trail behind him the entire way. He didn’t return my supervisor’s white hard hat until it was check in time at the hotel.
I don’t travel often on my own or with the kids without my husband – but it’s never usually an overly complicated process. I could’ve navigated the entire experience on my own and we would’ve ended up safely at our resort. But let me tell you what I noticed and realized about this particular travel experience:
I did not have to blip a brain wave the entire time!
AND IT WAS HEAVENLY!
So, from these two vastly different situations, I sit back and wonder – what does being a strong, independent woman really look like? Did I actually lose any of my independence just because I let go and let someone else completely take care of me for a while?
I know I can support myself financially and emotionally, which probably meets the typical definition of independence. But in this era of wonder women, is that typical definition overlooking the fact that sometimes it simply feels amazing to be taken care of? To have someone do for us what we know we can do for ourselves?
Ladies, I believe we can have it all and I know we certainly can do it all – but just because we can, doesn’t mean we have to all the time.
I’ve learned that taking off my cape every once in a while, and handing over the reins to someone else in my life that is just as capable of being as nurturing and caring towards me as I would be to them – doesn’t take anything away from my independence. And as long as I perceive the nurturing for what it is, rather than an attempt to stifle my independence, it really can be an enjoyable experience!
I always struggle with how to wrap up these reflections I have in one thought provoking sentence at the end of these posts – but I suppose what I want to say is that I know I can rely on myself even more than I once believed to be possible – but, there are other people in my life that I can rely on just as heavily when I need to – or even just when I want to. And it feels good to let go of the reigns sometimes. And handing them off for a while, doesn’t mean I’m giving them away – I’m still in control of my life, I’m just letting someone else help me enjoy the experience in a different way.
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