If you are called Mommy by anyone, congratulations…you are in the “club!” With your membership you get unconditional love and a life enriched beyond your imagination, but you also get the opportunity to be so focused on taking care of your children, your home and your job that you may seldom have time for the care and feeding of yourself. Even if you are not a Mom, more than likely you have been in situations, perhaps for years where you are in autopilot. Doing what you do, because it is what you have always done—making excuses rather than pursuing what’s next and more in tune with what you most want.
The Forgotten Woman lives inside each of us.
She peeks out just as summer ends and the new school year begins. She shows herself on an occasional Thursday evening out with girlfriends, or a Saturday afternoon at the mall. She has been spotted on a date night with her spouse at a local restaurant, running out of the gym and into the supermarket, jumping in the car at the drycleaners and out again at the nail salon.
We are all guilty. As women, we are overscheduled, perhaps perfectionists, trying to do it all to “balance” the various aspects of what is most important to us. Except for one thing. In an effort to “balance” and juggle and fit everything and everyone into our lives, we often sacrifice ourselves. Instead of being first on our to-do lists, we are often last. Tomorrow is going to be our day. We don’t have the time today, or the energy, or the resources to support the Forgotten Woman. We tell ourselves that we will do better tomorrow, we will say no to something so that we can say yes to ourselves. We will do this just as soon as we sort out everything else in our lives. For today, we will just have to keep the Forgotten Woman hidden.
Just who is this Forgotten Woman within each of us?
Can we locate her, and if so, how do we get her to play a more active, meaningful and memorable role for us?
The key to finding her is to acknowledge that she exists. By being a guest in our own lives, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to live each day to the fullest and with the personal space we need to think and grow. We rationalize that we are busy; we make excuses for not doing things for ourselves because we need to do them for our families, our friends or our careers. After all, we don’t want to be selfish, right?
The startling perspective that no one shares with us is that as we are creating perfection and simplicity for everyone else in our lives, we are often creating the exact opposite for ourselves. As we put everyone else’s needs ahead of our own, slowly, our own needs fade into the background.We get lost in our own lives. As women, we thrive on our ability to multi-task and to be the glue that holds everyone and everything in our Universe together. By nature, we are farmers and nurturers. Yet, there is a part of the Forgotten Woman in each of us that is coming unglued each time we are forced to pass on a secret passion, forgo an opportunity to try something new, deny ourselves a new outfit, an exotic trip, an adventure to call our own.
Simply put, we deny the Forgotten Woman’s existence.
Yet, for most mothers and for most women, she is a part of our alter ego. Once we acknowledge that she exists, we need to make peace with her. She wants what she wants…and the Forgotten Woman does not want to be forgotten! She exists to remind us of something. She exists to remind us of ourselves. She exists to remind us that we do take on many roles as woman, really important roles like wife and mother and CEO of our companies and along with that, we take her on as well. The Forgotten Woman exists to remind us that self-love is not selfish, because self-love provides us with the opportunity to evolve and flourish and thrive, not only for ourselves individually, but for those whom we love and care for. The Forgotten Woman has a voice within us. Finding her allows her to be heard and completes us because she represents our commitment to ourselves.
Today is the perfect day to connect with your Forgotten Woman, maybe for a yoga class or a lunch out, or to draft a business proposal. She’s been trying to get a date on your calendar for a long time. Embrace her and befriend her; let her know that she is really important and loved. Listen to her, she has something to say and it needs to be heard. Once your kids are back in school, spend some time with her. Get to know her, because she knows a lot about you. Finding your Forgotten Woman will unearth a part of you that has been muted and in the background, and she may even prove to be the catalyst toward connecting you to your dreams and igniting a few inspirational sparks along the way!