Real Women

 A few months ago I joined a book club.  Our first book, “Eat, Pray, Love,” traced the author’s journey toward self realization.  Her book decribes her visits to Italy, India and Indonesia.  Apparently she’s energized a lot of women to step out of their comfort zone and do things they never thought they could.  Many of her readers describe how this book opened the door for them to a fuller and more satisfying life.

Did this book cause an epiphany for me?  Yeah, not so much.  I enjoyed the “voice” of the book and read page after page about the author’s visit to Italy.  I smiled as she described how she gorged herself on pasta and gelato gaining 22 pounds in just four months.  In my own moment of self realization I thought:

“Give me some Chunky Monkey and a couple of bags of Doritos and I can do that on a Saturday.”

As I moved with her to India and read about her praying in silence, reaching new heights of self awareness and finding her spiritual awakening: I realized I’m just not deep.  All I kept thinking as she poured her heart out describing another crying fit she’d had on a bathroom floor in some foreign country was:

“I could never put this woman in charge of a PTO event.”

Don’t get me wrong.  I think self exploration and stepping beyond your comfort zone is terrific.  Time moves fast and you have to stay ahead of that sweep hand to get the most out of life.

Most of us however, don’t have the luxury of stepping outside our lives for a year to pursue a solitary journey.  If I had written that book when the boys were toddlers it would have been titled “Eat without putting together a Happy Meal toy, Pray that I get more than three hours of sleep tonight, and Love to go to the bathroom by myself”.  My own book title “There’s a booger on my lampshade” may be a far cry from the descriptions of Sanskrit meditation techniques but will probably be more pertinent to women as we muddle through balancing families, work and raising our children.

Here’s the challenge for most real women.  Real women have to reach our potential and achieve our aspirations in the time that is tucked between flossing someone’s teeth and filling the van’s gas tank.  Real women self actualize and look to make a difference between 10:00 in the morning and 2:00 in the afternoon.  Real women have to be so much more in touch with our emotions, our reality and our needs because somehow we have to fit our lives into the reality of our lives.  We can’t just pick up and indulge in a one year search for our destiny.

On the upside, maybe during the course of the year we will get the chance to enjoy some pasta and some gelato.  If we are smart we will pray for strength and leadership to guide our families.  And when those critters get off the bus, or come bounding out of the school with their coats flying and their backpacks bouncing, we will love.  We will love until we’re ready to burst. And if by chance we find ourselves needing a good cry on the bathroom floor, we’ll have one and then we’ll get up and get moving.  Because that’s what real women do.

Parent Tip of the Day:  Teach your children to use the word “I” when they describe their successes and their failures.  (For example:  “I” studied hard and earned an “A” on the test, or conversely “I” didn’t follow the rules so I’ve lost the computer for the day.)  Kids need to feel empowered in both their successes and their failures and will learn they have the ability to make a difference. 















8 responses to “Real Women

  1. Hey Shanda–I’m working on “The Shack” now. The story line is very compelling certainly. I’m having a bit of difficulty settling into the more “spiritual” side of things. But I’m working through it. I’d be happy to pass the book along once I’m finished. As to E,P, Love…it’s a nice diversion and I’m glad it has helped so many women but honestly, I guess I’m just a bit more grounded than the author. It has certainly “paid off” for her however.
    Thanks for the great note!

  2. D,
    It was great to see you tonight at the game. I enjoyed hearing you tell of Danny’s humor. (“Baby come back!” and “traffic was terrible!”) He definitely gets his quick wit from you! 🙂

    I had just looked at this book today at Target – it was one of their 20% off ones and I have heard that so many people had loved it. I thumbed through and read a bit here and there and had very similar thoughts as you did…(just probably condensed as I only read about a chapter) I also looked at “The Shack,” but couldn’t bring myself to go into the depths with that one right now either-any chance you have read it? Any thoughts?

    I have been praying for more humor in my life. Thanks for blogging and keepin it real!

  3. I have had grown children tell me that it is difficult for them when they are older and are still the center of their parent’s universe. I always say from the minute they’re born our job it to make them “grow away”. It’s hard but we can’t lose ourselves and our own goals to them. Eventually that will come back to haunt us. Dogs are good :).

  4. Absolutely I am finding strengths that I never knew that I had. I always worried about having kids because I knew I was selfish about my free time, sleep, and freedom. But I do not even miss it because I have so much joy with my daughter. However now I am scared about her getting older and me having more time on my hands as she gets more independant, I am just so used to spending so much time with her and devoting my whole being to her. I guess I will just have to get another dog lol.

  5. Having a child changes absolutely everything doesn’t it sunny! d

  6. Loved the thoughts. I thought when I was younger that getting out in the world and experiencing life would make me a real woman, but I quickly realized being an only parent is what really turned me into a strong real woman. I am not saying that getting out there doesn’t do it, it was having a kid that did it for me.

  7. Theresa–how great to hear from you and I’m thrilled these stories are bringing you such happy thoughts. I’m sure you have a ton of your own. Please share the site with your friends. I love hearing from folks and miss our day to day interactions!!! Hugs to all and congrats on 25….d

  8. D-

    Thank you for making my day! I look forward to reading your “random thoughts”. The memories you are bringing back – oh my gosh – I often wonder how we survive…but we do! Chris and I just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary – the kids threw us a huge party. Please continue your writing – I geniunely enjoy your stories!

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