Wednesday, 27 May 2009

From M.I.S.S. to M.R.S.

My hubby asked me to write about my journey from MISS to MRS. I immediately dismissed the idea as I had about a million other things I wanted to write about and that topic seemed to come much further down on my list of urgency. I smiled sweetly like only wives do when we pretend to agree and we are trying to mask an internal rebellion. I had already decided about this week's entry and had in fact penned the opening paragraph. But when my husband asked me later on in the week for my feedback on his projects, I noticed how eager he was to understand my points so that he could put it into work. Convicted by the respect my hubby gave me, I took pen to paper, fingers to keyboard and set to work. Today, my birthday I really entered the cinematic world of my mind and screened my final year as M.I.S.S.

Enter MISS me, my afro head far too inflated with marriage theories to allow me through my single friends front doors. This time last year, I had read up on all I thought there was to know about courtship and marriage. I had a tower of books erected beside my bed that was my gateway to marital bliss. I had appointed myself the relationship counsellor to all those around me, my best friend called me the courtship cop! I would sit for hours understanding the mechanics of men and women, their purpose in each other's lives and would shake my head in disapproval at anyone who went against my courtship commandments. My behaviour and actions weren't as helpful as I had intended and I want to take this opportunity to apologise to everyone I may have offended. I have come to understand that true wisdom does not need a fanfare when it arrives. Wisdom needs no introduction or announcements. It is observed by those around you without a lecture, a breakdown of a scripture or the 10 key steps to courtship paradise. I knew little if anything at all then, it was a good foundation but since when did reading the driving test theory prepare you for changing gears or driving on the motorway. I have taken time to observe the lives of the wives around me and realised that they lived quite a different life according the chronicles of wifedom I had played in my mind. I took a deeper look at my character when I started my marriage and realised I had got a lot of things fundamentally wrong. I began to deconstruct the pillars of knowledge I had on the inside of me and decided to become an ambassador for love. This does not mean I put on a maxi dress, wore flowers in my hair and sang 'love and peace to all ', it became more of a personal journey within to speak love louder than any theory, latest revelation or scriptural dissection.

I had never really had much respect for patience; I needed answers last week, success yesterday and the future 60 minutes ago. The last 365 days have taught me something surprising – things don't always happen when I think they ought to. Wow, what a revelation! It seemed that my husband had been assigned as my own personal tutor for patience. I soon became tired of flying off the handle if he didn't reply to an urgent email regarding the wedding colours or if bridesmaids were reluctant to rehearse their all important entry. I admit I do like to have an element of control in my life but I am learning that I do not hold time. It seems so basic but, I realise now that is better to go with the natural flow of things than to force timing to match with your emotions. As clichĂ© as it sounds, some things are worth the wait. I have not quite mastered this eight lettered phenomena, I still take a number of deep breaths and resist the urge to turn into the incredible hulk some times. It seems the more I pray for patience, the more opportunities that seem to come my way for me to exercise it. I believe patience not just to be the ability to wait whilst maintaining your composure and positive attitude irrespective of the timing of a particular event. It's extremely difficult at times especially if you have strong opinions like I often do, holding back can feel as though you are losing a part of who you are. It was important at those times to remind yourself of the end goal and it is not to win the argument but it is to resolve it so that both parties can continue in love. By listening to my internal thought process I can sort through my emotions and try to make my thoughts logical, if I can't make sense of what I am feeling then usually it means it's not worth fussing over. My hubby is not a mind reader so unless I speak logic and reason to him, we will both be intimate strangers. Now when he is in cyber world and I want him to look at the latest Jimmy Choo's I realise that it is not because he doesn't care but that he is in speaking with gigabytes, html, xml, POM and Choo's just don't fit in. I had an incredible knack of turning quite simple tiffs into mountainous arguments that would stretch the entire day. My repertoire of arguments range from heated discussions in oxford circus over the colour of grooms men's ties, whose turn it was to drive whilst on a winters day and a pair of newly acquired boots. Naturally the arguments would start over these little things but my mind had a wonderful way of connecting other completely unrelated issues to form a way of sticky issues. My sweet hubby with a bemused expression on his face, would wonder how we had escalated from the colour of ties to discussing his commitment to our pending wedding. Over the course of the year I have learnt to select my arguments well. It is not every matter that requires a board meeting with your subconscious taking minutes for later reference. Life is too short to argue over boots that's what receipts are there for; take them back or apologise and put them on!

This day last year I was seated opposite my hubby, then fiancé. He had been a little late to meet with me which just seemed to make my already disappointing birthday worse. I love birthdays; the cheesy cards and the copious amounts of cake. Last year, things were a little different. I had been at work all day so there were no cheesy cards until later on in the evening when I met with my hubby. The anger and upset welled up inside of me and no matter how I tried to resist it, the familiar warmth of my tears rolled against my cheek.

'What's wrong?' my hubby asked. Anxious that perhaps his present wasn't as great as I had insisted it was.

'Nothing.' I mumbled.

Wiser than I thought at the time, my hubby persisted. 'What's wrong?'

I threw a tantrum about my birthday, things hadn't gone the way I was used to. Where were the balloons, the excited faces and the birthday girl attention? How could I have a birthday without renditions of Steve Wonder 'happy birthday' recitals! I had spent the majority of the day with work colleagues who didn't understand my rich traditions. If this M.R.S. could see that M.I.S.S. she would slap that M.I.S.S into reality.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

I am NOT Superwoman!!!

Tears ruining the perfect make up on my face and every muscle aching from too many late nights, I looked at my ‘to do’ list. It seemed to stretch the entirety of womanhood, from mundane activities like doing the laundry through to developing my business empire. On the sheets of paper in front of me seemed to be the tasks for 5 different people, the business woman, the wife, the children’s ministry member, the daughter, the friend, the sister, it didn’t seem to end.

‘I’m soo tired’ A shriek of frustration that came from the depths of my soul. ‘I just can’t take this anymore!’

My mind started playing tricks on me. I jumped on the ‘I’m just not good enough’ emotional merry go round. It reeled off the mental record of things I should of, could of and would have done; like the unforgiving boss completing an internal appraisal of myself.

After I had bent the ear of everyone who cared to listen, I faced my internal mirror. I took a good look at my busyness and concluded that I was achieving very little. I came to the strange but very true conclusion that I am not Superwoman. I am not a fan of ‘I can’t’s but aren’t there only so many ‘I can’s one can have? I can try to relax my hair whilst making dinner and encouraging a sister on the phone. The reality is one of those tasks will suffer, that evening I could end up in A&E with blood pouring from my scalp, a cindered kitchen but a very encouraged sister. The realisation of my true identity as a forever newlywed and not superwoman threw up many issues.

We have been taught from the beginning of time that women are the greatest multi-taskers. We have been praised for our ability to juggle tasks like trained circus performers but, what if the learned psychologists were wrong? There are millions of women who can empathise with how I have been feeling; tired, worn out with a list of tasks long enough for the circumference of the earth. Of course, that idea does not settle too well with a busy body like me. I still agree with those learned people. It’s not that we cannot multitask; it’s that we grab at soo many tasks at one time. We snatch them as if they were the last pair of shoes at the Boxing Day sale. So quick to select the tasks that we don’t always weigh up the pros and cons of it. We don’t always ask questions like, what affect will this have on my time, is this time that I have to spare, how will this affect my resources? Surely a better understanding of each task will naturally lead to a better management of time, effort and energy. So instead of relaxing my hair whilst cooking, I could cook first whilst speaking to my sister and relax my hair on the weekend. Bad multitasking means that either little time is spent on each task or the attention given to each task is severely divided. Either way, the end result is an express trip to the Isle of Guilt.

A career or a business brings multitasking to a whole new dimension. Juggling a successful career or an expanding business whilst trying to build a happy home could prove challenging. Sometimes when I get home from the office (especially when I have programmed my mind to sleep upon arrival), the will to cook and the desire to pick up laundry that magically missed the basket, mysteriously disappears. The apron doesn’t look a good enough exchange for the supercareer cape woman I have so delicately wrapped round my shoulders.

In the workplace women now how have the pressure to perform just like superhero’s have to conquer their evil counterpart. Wives of old used to have ‘cook outs’ and ‘baking days’ but now with the world’s favourite kitchen appliance - the microwave - u can be ‘Miss Career’ and ‘Best Food Warmer’ all in one. I am by no means banishing us to a prison of nappies and Jamie Oliver re runs. The person writing this has dreams, aspirations, plans and objectives that are carefully conspiring for world domination. Believe it or not, there are women who place their businesses and careers far above their husband and their children. They love their family but continuously arrange their everyday tasks around their career and not around their family. Things like happily spending an extra hour in the office which means that you’re not able to spend that hour with your husband or children. We ought to strive for a life of balance.

Sometimes in the midst of our multitasking, we forget that we are part of a formidable team. We have husbands!! What an underestimated asset we have by our sides. I believe there are a number of tasks/projects we struggle with that we could work with our husbands to achieve. Granted not everyman might want to help your daughter make her costume for the ballet recital but he might be thrilled to give you direction for your business ideas. You might just discover untapped potential buried on the inside of him. I believe in every relationship there is a visionary and an implementer perhaps, you can see opportunities but lack the momentum to see that come to pass. Every superhero has some sort of side kick, someone that goes along with him on all his adventures. Batman has Robin and Superman has Lois Lane. As wives I think we are guilty at times of forgetting that we are the side kick. I say that not to cause offence but to make you realise, the superhero’s aren’t anything without their side kicks. If Clark Kent and Lois Lane really did exist in today’s society, Lois Lane would be the breadwinner in that household. Think about it! Clark Kent would forever be flying off to save the world from the many disasters, so what work would he achieve to bring money in?! I wonder if he would help her to cook and clean?! Every good prince needs a princess to save, imagine if Rapunzel decided to buy her freedom by creating lace wigs with her hair! They are no less a princess for needing rescuing, both characters make up the entire story.
I am getting my life in check. I have learnt that not every good idea needs to be executed now. The world will not end if I don’t send that email or arrange my clothes in colour and season order. I have come back to basics to even question what my purpose is on this earth. Sounds deep doesn’t it? The definition of that purpose ensures that I only do the tasks that are centred on that. My core purpose aside from being the female version of Richard Branson (in business style only as I don’t have an aspiration to set sail in a hot air balloon), is just to be a WIFE.
With the tissues and the tears packed away, my vision and focus returns to start a new to do list.

Number one: Pick up the forever newlywed apron and drop my flying solo superwoman cape.