At the start of a new week, Lady Perfect African woman needs to ensure that the kids eat a healthy breakfast and are ready for school. Dressing them up from the neat piles of uniforms, drawers and socks locked up in dainty cupboards gives her the greatest satisfaction. The drive to work as therapeutic as the cool refreshing air is intertwined with endless questions such as, “Mama why can’t we a purple car”, “Have you noticed that the trees have been following us ever since we left the house?” Fully knowing the perks of not communicating with her children, suppressing their imagination and self- expression, the next minutes that ensue are based on endless fantasies as to why the trees did not stop following the car.
By lunchtime Ms. Perfect is frazzled, in between meetings all she needed was that breakfast she had to forgo because she had deadlines that were detrimental to her yearly bonus. She couldn’t forget that could she? That bonus was the key to days of sunshine at the beach. At 3:00 pm she was sure she had ticked off most of her daily action items only to remember that she still had that meeting with her child’s teacher at school. Could she call Daddy to be there? But how could she be so insensitive to his hectic Monday schedule. At a last resort, she called to reschedule.
She knew that she couldn’t afford to skip her monthly women’s meeting based on family matters. As the chair for this quarter her involvement with the organisation had not only boosted her association with the right people but she could really see the difference in her sales portfolio. At 8:00 pm she was craving for a foot soak, had some reading to catch up with but could barely make it through dinner time. The last she could remember was setting the alarm to mark the start of a new day. Tomorrow she was certain that she would do better at her tasks.
Ms. Perfect is the 21st Century African Woman, who has the world at her feet. She is living the life of her dreams by being everybody’s best except to herself. The world constantly expects high performers, successful people and achievers. None of these expectations are wrong or undesirable rather choosing the path of proper planning, realization of our human capabilities and self-care might prevent the host of people who battle ill-health, are burnout and fatigued, stressed out parents, depressed professionals and unhappy people as a whole.
Does this day reflect a fragment of your lifestyle or can you identify a Ms. Perfect in your network? We can make it better together as we will look at strategies to keep Ms. Perfect imperfectly whole:
Becoming fully aware of your body and its limitations can be a first step to staying present. Enjoy moments in your daily activity without projecting into the next. Staying focused in your tasks will increase productivity. Savour your moments! When was the last time you really tasted the flavours of your lunch?
Bionic women exist only in fiction books fictional characters; it will not make you any less than a dutiful partner to ask for help. Get other people involved in sharing your daily tasks- delegate responsibility to older children. Do not get caught up in micromanaging every single detail that concerns you. Something’s were meant to go wrong- Own it- It is not always about you and how you do it. Stay connected with people that support you, find time to make that call or send that message to someone you care about. Don’t be an Island.
Applaud Yourself Daily
Find moments each day to tap you on the back, say well done champ; I am the best! Accept compliments. Don’t you know that you are unique by simply being you? Research has proven that self-praise boosts levels of your feel-good hormones; serotonin and dopamine.
Accept that the price of commodities is not determined by you. Not having a good bargain on groceries does not equal to a bad day. Looking after yourself is what you determine; eating healthy, exercising, taking routine vitamins are within your scope. Taking care of you guarantees the future of great expectations.
Make time to accomplish the big goals of fine dining, body massages to exotic holiday trips when you can but don’t forget walking on the beach, watching the sunset. Enjoy your favourite book/movie. Do what you love!
Ignore the Crowd
Don’t be one to follow the trends and expectations of society, set your own rules that will govern each area of your life i.e. social- professional – family life. There would always be people waiting to condemn and criticize where you went wrong in being a lady, a good mother or a boss. Take in the good points and throw out the rest with a good laugh. Remember that simple things such as choosing to eat lunch by yourself might be termed wrong by your best friend. As humans we can never please everyone.
Romance Your Pillow
Make time to sleep, let nothing or no one disturb your sleep. When you sleep rest in peace, forget the sorrows of today and the maybe’s of tomorrow. Rather be grateful for the little things that went well. Let all other things go.
The new you that pays attention to self-care will grant you a healthier and a meaningful life of purpose!