You Can Do Anything -
But Here's Why You Shouldn't
How three dollars reminded me that...Even if we CAN do it all, there are reasons why we shouldn't.
Young girls get this message early and often:
“You can DO anything!”“You can BE anything!”
(I’ll save the rant about the messages boys receive for another day. If you can’t wait, check out this New York Times article.)
Recalling my earliest memories of my mom, I see her with a screwdriver or paintbrush in her hand, fixing, painting, repairing, pretty much everything. We moved a lot. Each new home was a palette for her many talents. Plus, she could sew anything! (which I wasn’t always happy about…how I longed for store-bought clothes!)
Fast forward to early in my 25-year marriage. My parents were visiting, it was a casual lunch and sandwich fixings were out. As we helped ourselves, my mom commented to me, “Aren’t you going to make your husband a sandwich?” At that time, my ethic of “I can do anything” most definitely did NOT include making sandwiches for my husband! (He could do that himself, right?)
I think my '180' came from watching my mom serve my dad throughout their 65-year marriage. He worked. She worked outside the home PLUS did all the laundry, meal prep, AND brought him ice tea while he sat in his chair commenting on his thirst. (I wasn't going to be THAT wife - if I can do anything, he can, too).
Decades later, I began my own business and for years insisted, “I can do anything!” I can build my own website! I can write my sales copy! I can write a book! Sure, I did all those things – but did I do them well?
Only when I arrived at marketing, completely depleted, did I capitulate and hire help. Did it make me weaker? No, only stronger!
HOWEVER, dear women: When we freely live the “I can do anything” mantra – are we also aware of our great capacity to hurt the men and boys in our world – without ever meaning to cause them harm?
“I can change that lightbulb.”
“I can fix that loose whatever.
”I can keep up with oil changes and tire pressure.”
“I can work, prep meals, supervise homework, change diapers”…until YOU CAN’T.
Then the resentment builds: “WHY do I have to do EVERYTHING?!” said with a huge sigh.
Well, no wonder.
You’ve effectively pushed him out of any area that he feels capable in because you've had to prove “I can do anything.”
Try this: “Yep, I can do anything AND I don’t have to.”
You are no less capable if you turn some things over to your man.
As a single woman, I’m always sure to have some task for my friend’s husbands to do when they come to my house. They feel needed, useful, competent, capable and oh-so-happy to help! Their eyes shine. Their pride beams! Such a little thing to yield such great results!
There is freedom in knowing “I can do anything!” – and that I DON’T HAVE TO!
This ramble came about after a visit with my dad (At that time he was 90 years-old with Parkinson’s).
On the morning when I was flying home, as we were getting ready to leave the house, he handed me three one-dollar bills.
“This is for the airport porters.”
My brain immediately spun off into thinking: Why in the world would I need that? I don’t even use porters at the airport because “I can do anything!” includes carrying my own bags!
My higher-self paused and recognized how much EFFORT it must have taken him to move his wheelchair over to where his wallet is stored, open the drawer, take out the wallet, open it, and pull out three one-dollar bills (if you don’t know Parkinson’s - any movement is arduous).
My higher-self recognized this significant gesture of love and care.
My higher-self took the three one-dollar bills and said, “Thanks Dad, I really appreciate that.”
Now, if I can only be as gracious when he wakes me up an hour before my alarm to make sure I don’t miss my flight…..there is love in that, too.
How will you love the men in your life by letting them DO for you?
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