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Superwoman: To Be Or Not To Be?

“I am not your superwoman, I am not the type of girl that you can put down and think that everything is ok, because I am only human .... ”

These are the words sung by Karen White, an American R & B Singer in the 1990s. I am humming and singing these lyrics a lot lately.

According to Collins Dictionary a “superwoman” is a woman who fulfils her many roles with apparently superhuman efficiency.

The description does not do the definition of a superwoman justice. However, according to Collins Dictionary, a “superman” is an ideal man who through integrity and creativity would rise above good and evil and who represents the goal of human evolution.

Perhaps we can thank God, for Malcolm X’s quote

“to educate a man is to educate an individual, but to educate a woman is to educate a nation”

He at least, understood the power of a woman. In my opinion and I am sure many men and women would agree, it is the woman who instils such values of integrity and creativity and hands these down to her family, relatives, friends, colleagues and anyone in her network, and it then spirals out to the community in which she lives.

If we are to stick to the idea of a “superwoman” being able to fulfil her many roles with apparently superhuman efficiency, we really are only scratching the surface of what a superwoman is.

In my opinion women are superwomen because on a daily basis they perform a variety of roles in their households: women are saints, they are nurses, they are entertainers, educators, working women, bankers, accountants, advisors, counsellors, a shoulder to cry on, cleaners, cooks, personal managers, lawyers, doctors, police and CEOs of their families, the very nature of a woman makes it so.

We are nurturers, we give, give, and give, even when our tank is empty, and yet in the Collins Dictionary they think they can succinctly describe “the superwoman” in one sweeping sentence that in my opinion is totally inadequate, and yet they have taken more time to define “superman” adding words like “integrity” and “creativity”!

“Superwoman Syndrome”, as I call it came into being because women permitted it to be so, through watching our mothers, aunts, grandmothers and other women within our network over the years – by the time we came to adulthood, we were well-school and groomed!

The trouble is that we have done this without question, and to our detriment, we can only look at today’s women who are now beginning to feel the strain.

They are burning out rapidly because they have to spend so much time juggling, struggling to fit everything and everybody in an already increasing schedule.


Stay at home mums, business women/career women struggle/juggle with child-rearing challenges, looking after the extended family, housework, supervising children’s homework, extracurricular activities and a host of responsibilities too numerous to mention.

Lives spiralling out of control, it is time for women to begin to question as individuals, and collectively how we came to be in this position in the first place, perhaps it is our need to feel needed, loved and we have equated love with not valuing our own needs and taking on requests despite the fact that we are overstressed and burdened with other responsibilities/demands.

I guess we have to ask this question, is it still necessary for women to try and live up to this “superwoman” label?

It is time for women to say “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! there must be another way, there must be a more practical alternative that will bring peace, harmony, balance, fulfilment, accomplishment and happiness”.

It is most likely that a “superwoman” is following the unwritten rule that women should put others before them and they must put their own personal needs on hold until everyone else’s needs is satisfied, as passed down by her mother, and her mother’s mother before her.

However, today’s women are complaining they have too much on and they are tired, exhausted, their relationships with their partners and children are strained, worst falling apart.

Could it be, that women are putting up with a role that no longer fits in with her current lifestyle, and worst she has faithfully followed her mother’s/other women’s lead, which is reason for her unpleasant predicament of being overworked by trying to perform the many roles that is being demanded of her.

Today’s woman needs to tell the truth, and re-evaluate her values and beliefs about who she really is as a person first and then as a woman and/or perhaps mother, she will need to be able to evaluate what is causing her stress and finding ways to eradicate it.

Women will feel more empowered to stop this unnecessary “superwoman syndrome” by clearly defining what they can and cannot do and communicate this with their family, friends and community.

The sooner women realise “superwoman syndrome” and the values attached to it are faulty and is partly to blame for them feeling exhausted, burnt out and fatigued the sooner we can begin to bring more balance in our lives, by delegating, eliminating and downsizing unnecessary things/activities that clutter up our schedules and ask for more help as and when needed.

Once this is achieved, women will begin to use their time more effectively on finding time to pursue those things that give them joy, satisfaction, fulfilment and accomplishment.

As a result, her relationships with her family will improve because she is now no longer trying to be all things to all people, but rather is valuing herself as a separate entity, as a unique, separate and whole person despite the variety of roles she may be required to perform.

One thing is for sure I, Sandra G Jarvis am not your superwoman!

Sandra Jarvis is the founder of W.I.S.H. [Women In Search of Happiness] and organises networking events and workshops for women. Please contact her for more information.

Sandra Jarvis and 07747 372 754


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