I Am Woman. Hear Me Roar. More Like Snore!

Back in the early nineties, I received a card for Mother’s day that made me laugh, then gave me pause.  I still remember the cover.  It talked about the modern woman who has a career, goes to meetings, has kids, goes to soccer practice, bakes for the school bake sale, cooks dinner, is a loving wife, etc.  Then on the next page, it said, “You crazy?”

A moving GIF showing a basic 3 ball-cascade ju...

A moving GIF showing a basic 3 ball-cascade juggling pattern: good for juggling explanation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have not forgotten it.  Having a child and running a household, being there for your spouse, attending meetings, seeing patients, running to hospital emergencies at all hours, all these were quite the juggling act.  Looking back, I’m just amazed.

I grew up in a household where having a career was a value drilled into our heads quite early on.  And this mantra was not just for the boys in the family.  And so, like the good kid I was, I set out to fulfill that programming.  I went to college, then med school. Then I got an internship in Toronto, and eventually, residency in Pediatrics, with a fellowship in Neonatology. During all these years, I managed to get married and build a life with my hubby, who’s also an MD.  We had our daughter while I was on my third year of residency.  We did our best to combine all the modern-day opportunities for women while building domestic bliss at home.  It was interesting to note that when I started my residency in Pediatrics, we were only a handful women in our batch. By the time I completed my four years of training, the women entering residency outnumbered the men.

Looking back, I think we all “winged it.”  There were no books nor courses for us to refer to on how to juggle our various personas.  What’s more, there was just too much going on that we did not have the luxury of pondering, let alone analyzing all these mixed sentiments.  But as I think of those years, I marvel at how we seemed to have sailed through them.  It was exciting as it was somehow lonely.  It was frenetic with all the deadlines at work, the dance classes, the gymnastics, the swimming, the advanced reading. You name it, we probably did it.  I remember being exhausted and perpetually sleep-deprived.  But I also loved it all.

Cover of "Super Woman"

Cover of Super Woman, photo credits Amazon

Is it all worth it?  All the juggling of several full-time preoccupations 24/7?

As our kids leave the nest, our parents are getting older and we have had to care for them more and more.  Our caregiving duties somehow have shifted to another generation.

Now, I am at an age that my mother was when I got married. I thought at the time that my parents were old.  Somehow, it’s not THAT old.  It’s not as crazy and confusing now though.  I’m not rushing to a volleyball game or model U.N. anymore.  I’m not making sandwiches for school lunches anymore. Somehow, I can do my nails without having to stop to help someone go to the bathroom or have an extra sip of water.  I have some time to myself now.  I even have time to enjoy a good book now and then.

I look at the last two years and I think to myself, “I can now find myself again.”  I look forward to another year of weaving together my life story, one day at a time.  I see it as a time to reconnect with old friends, family, travel more, and hopefully, new challenges and a reinvention of ourselves.  I am hoping for less of the tedious chores, and yes, less drama please.  I can use a break from those.

This entry was posted in Empty Nest, Juggling Motherhood & Career, Life Stages, middle years, women's rights and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to I Am Woman. Hear Me Roar. More Like Snore!

  1. mommyessays says:

    Thanks for linking to my blog post Super Hero Mom!


  2. mommyessays says:

    Thanks for linking to my blog post on Super Hero Mom!


  3. Wonderful post (and how I am beginning to relate–my kiddos are still a bit younger!) 🙂


  4. likeitiz says:

    I must say, Aunty Uta, your children have such divergent lives. But, I’m sure when you all come together, you are a family. At this point, this is most mportant for you and Peter. Your children are who they have become. They are the product of your genes, your parenting, and at this point in their adult lives, who they have met and where they have been. The latter will be more important as hey get older.


    • auntyuta says:

      ‘ .. . . . .who they have met and where they have been. The latter will be more important as hey get older.’
      They are in their fifties, the youngest in her thirties. But as they get older these things become definitely more and more important. And you’re so right in pointing out that they have divergent lives. This might increase with the following generations. We all come together as a family about once or twice a year. Maybe this is going to become less once Peter and I are gone.
      My father had a very close knit family. They were three brothers and three sisters. After the war they didn’t live close together anymore. In 1947 Grandfather died. After his death, my father naturally took over in keeping the family together as a whole over the distances. Surprisingly even the next generations kept similar standards from what they had been used to from their parents. And they seemed to have kept some kind of contact over the years even after everyone in the older generation had passed away.
      The only ones, who kept more of a distance, were my brothers. I think they had been very much influenced by my mother when she was still alive.


  5. You are a supermom with a hear that loves and gives generously. I always believe my mom had super strength and now my wife has it too.Mothers are heaven sent. You make us believe that we can do anything. Thank you to you and all the moms out there. Beautiful post my friend. Thanks.


  6. In fact, one word to your post- “You crazy”? huh? 🙂 Brilliant piece!!


  7. auntyuta says:

    No, for sure it’s not THAT old. People definitely seem to stay younger longer. Despite all the juggling and hard work you managed to not become THAT old. You can really enjoy now everything you worked so hard for. Do you think if your daughter wants to achieve as much as you, would she have to work just as hard?


    • likeitiz says:

      When my daughter was young, she asked me what I’d like her to be. I told her I would like her to have a better life than her dad and I have. She must have been 12 then. She responded that this would be tough. She thought we had quite a good life. I told her that it’s up to her to define what a good life is to her and she should set out to get there, whatever that may be. My standards, definition, preferences for a contented life are going to be different from her. I will respect and appreciate whatever she decides to make of her life. I only ask that she not waste it in superfluous pursuits.


      • auntyuta says:

        Thanks for this response, Mary-Ann. You say ‘She thought we had quite a good life.’ This is exactly what our children thought of our life, even though we hadn’t achieved very much educationally. Both Peter and I had had divorced parents, The postwar-years in Germany were pretty difficult initially. After we left Germany in 1959 living standard in Germany went up and up. Still, we were happy with our life in Australia. We went back for visits to Germany, but we had no desire to live there again permanently.

        Do our children have a better life than we’ve had? I think it depends on the way you look at it. Their lives turned out to be very different from our life. Each of our children lead totally different lives with different values, not only from us, the parents, but also from each other. It amazes me how totally different they turned out to be. As far as our three daughters are concerned, I can’t see that they had very good chances to get ahead in life. Our son didn’t want to finish school. ‘Papa,’ he said,’you didn’t finish school and you turned out alright.’ And Peter said to him, he could only leave school, if he had a job. This is when our son left school and started working as a bank-teller. Later, when he got together with an extremely well educated girl, he decided he had to qualify to take up university studies. He was lucky, in those days in the early 1980s, there were no university fees to pay for here in Australia. The government footed the bill! By the time our youngest daughter got to university in the 1990s, she had to pay her own fees. She dropped university after eighteen months, having to pay back an enormous amount of accumlated fees. I mean it took her years to pay it off. But now that she’s with a guy who went back to university, she went back too. They get a little bit of support from the government and do part-time work. They are happy and claim they are not into earning big money but they study what they like studying.

        Well, I better stop here. I still don’t know whether we advised our children properly. Basically we always had the attitude we must let them make their own decisions.


      • auntyuta says:

        Sorry, I just read what Island Traveler said about supermoms. I can’t help but mentioning one of my daughters in this connection, because I regard her as a supermom. She raised twin-boys, who are both doing very well, After she separated from her husband she had three daughter with another man. She ended up not staying together with the father of her daughters, but the way she raised these daughters, you can only say she’s supermom. She has a job now in a call-center, very demanding for sure, but she seems to handle it well. We always thought this daughter of ours was the brightest of our children, because she was doing extremely well at school and was at the same time extraordinarily handy too. Still is. We always notice she can do anything! However she never made it to university. She married at 19 and eighteen months later she had the twins. She started working in a bank after leaving school, the same as our son.

        Our first born daughter sadly was struck by polio at age four. But I think she’s become extremely well adapted considering that she’s a quadriplegic. Some people think she should have studied more. But maybe this just wasn’t for her. Not every one is into intellectually demanding studies. Her qualities lie somewhere else and I respect this. She’s very good in communicating with people. I really admire this.


  8. Gilly Gee says:

    I must say life is easier now, still busy but filled with my choices! Great article 🙂


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