Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wonder Woman

Yesterday, someone said that I must be "wonder woman" because of all that I am involved in or do. That's not the first time I've heard that statement or been asked "how do you do it?" way more times than I care to remember. So, what's so special about my life that makes others think I'm able to do so much more than they? I just don't get it.
Here we go...I am married with 4 children, ages 3-9, and the cycle of year-round sports practices (for 2 kids) has quickly collided with Wednesday AWANA at church. My husband is assistant coach for the 3rd grade football and the head coach for U8 soccer. We both volunteer during AWANA - he's a verse/group leader and I am a Sparks "secretary". Justin works 40-50 hrs per week at FedEx and I'm in graduate school. This being my final year of school (which I love to point out), I am completing a practicum, which basically means I'm working 18-20 hrs/week at a school 30 minutes from my home (for no pay, which is the part that really stinks!). This means, 3 days a week, I have to get the older 3 kids ready for school and off to the neighbors to catch the bus and then get the youngest to daycare and head off to work. On top of that, I just started a Tuesday night Bible Study (because I was starving for more and need to remember to be fed, spiritually, too) and I signed up for a MAPS group on Friday mornings (because I know that I am NOT alone in this season of life). I also teach pre-service training classes and do home visits with prospective foster and adoptive families 1-2 days per week. I have way too many loads of laundry to wash, dry, and put away than I care to count in a week and 3 bathrooms in our home that constantly need to be cleaned. A never-ending cycle of meals to prepare and dishes to clean along with carpets that need to be vacuumed way more often than I can get to it. Oh yeah, the amount of dust accumulated in my house in one week would probably equal a new world-record! Yes, I do have a lot going on. I'll give you that.

But, here's my question...How am I really all that different than the woman in the mini-van next to me at the stoplight or my friend who is shopping for groceries with her kids-in-tow at Wal-Mart?
So, when my friend called me "wonder woman" yesterday, I had to stop and think. I typically blow it off when someone makes this comment, because I know that its just something easy to say. However, I know that I'm not that special. I know that I am doing exactly what every woman does. We all try to be all and do all for everyone around us. Women are expected to be good and supportive wives, who keep a good house and support our husbands and our children. We're looked at by how we care for our homes and our families. We serve our families through the chores we do all day long. We are constantly doing something for someone else - and we do it because we love it! We avoid complaining and try not to get grumpy when the house is messy 2 hours after we finish cleaning it. We're having babies, chasing and potty training toddlers, all while getting the school-agers and teens where they need to be, on time.
Women are often expected (either by herself, her husband, her checkbook or society) to work outside of the home and help "support" the family, financially, while being conscience of how we spend our family's resources on groceries, clothes, jewelry, home furnishings and decor. That means that we may be working a job at home and away, in which case, we serving our boss and our customers all day long.
As girlfriends, we are always there for our friends and their families, too. We make sure we attend all the important birthdays and get-togethers to which we're invited. We answer emails and follow up on face book regularly, commenting on as many status updates as we can, just to let them know we're there and we care. We take time to talk on the phone and attend the next home-show/party that our friend holds - often agreeing to host our own, so she can get the benefits. We're there when our friend needs to cry, or laugh. We make a meal when someone is sick or has a baby and we offer to babysit so our friend can go on a date with her husband. We're doing a lot.
At church, we're called to serve in the nursery or preschool or children's ministry, or all of the above. We're supervising the youth groups and chaperoning camps. We're organizing VBS events and then we sign up for women's groups so "we can feel connected, too". We try to talk our husbands into the couples small-group or taking advantage of that home-team opportunity. Oh, and don't forget how we often encourage our man to participate (just as completely) in the men's ministry groups. (Isn't it funny how quickly we forget the men don't need all the "relationships" we do, and encourage them anyway?)
We are the team-moms, making snacks for the team after each game. We send the emails, make the phone calls, create and distribute invitations, and bake cakes for our kids birthdays. We plan extra-special holidays and family get-togethers. We sign up to help with class parties all year long and are there for every doctor appointment and parent-teacher conference.
In short, we do a lot. Don't we? All of us...women are busy, busy, busy.
I haven't even talked about the sacrifices women make, yet. If we were almost out of food, we would go without so our children could eat. If our clothes were old and outdated and our kids had a growth spurt, we would spice up our existent wardrobe so we can buy the new, longer pants for our kids. If our husband had a meeting, we'd reschedule ours. If we want to go out of town for a girls-weekend, we line up all the sitters, schedules, and meals ahead of time "so he doesn't have to worry about it". We pick the sick kids up from school and take them to the doctor. We clean up the various bodily fluids and comfort, even our husbands, when they're under the weather. We even do the carpool when we just don't feel like it, so our kids don't miss out. We're the first to miss our "event" if something comes up. We slip out of bed, weak and tired, in the middle of the night to help so-and-so get to the potty or go back to sleep from the nightmare. We pull the covers back up over the child who's kicked them off and now looks cold, and, we do it all out of love. Some women put their careers and life-dreams on the back burner to simmer, while raising the kids. We pray for our husbands, our children, our friends, our community, our church, and so on. We sacrifice and we do it every day, but we love it.
So, am I really wonder woman? I think not. Are we all "wonder women"? YES!!!!!!
I believe that God created woman because He knew, in His infinite wisdom that the world would need someone to do all of these things. Now, this is not to say that men don't hold a very special place in our world - they absolutely do, but I'll save that for another blog. Genesis 2:18 (NIV)
The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." This means, to me, that God knew and intended for women to help hold things together and to make sure things run smoothly.
He knew the world would need a species full of "Wonder Women"!!! Amen?
So, the next time you see a woman who is doing it all and you wonder how she does it...take a good, long look at your own world and give yourself some credit for all that you do and how well you do it. YOU ARE WONDER WOMAN in your own right!
I think I might just change my profile pic (at least for a while)...

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