Lynette Botha

Oh my word, youre like superwoman. I dont know how you do it. People say this to me all the time. And yes, on the surface, it may seem like I have it all together. To the outside world Im excelling at life: highpressure career, doting husband and two little girls under the age of three, able to cook a good meal and whip up some frosted cupcakes at 2am for a last-minute bake sale. My Instagram feed looks like a coffee-table book on a good day (thanks, filters), my Facebook account only projects positive anecdotes or nothing at all (negativity is a no-no) and I almost always have a smile on my face. But Im not superwoman. Far from it. I will not lie; for a very long time I wanted to be her “ a curse of modern society.

I like to call it the Gwyneth Paltrow complex “ you know, the perfect career, the perfect kids, the perfect cookbook, the perfect blog, the perfect body, even (if necessary) the perfect divorce. And although life is not unflawed, I wanted it to appear to be. And Im not the only one. But in a bid to overcome the Superwoman Syndrome, Id like to reveal all (and I encourage you to do the same): I may blitz my own green juice for breakfast, but by 1pm Ive definitely had a chocolate (or two); my kids look angelic and oh-so-cute in the Katy Perry singalong video on Facebook, but they are in fact more akin to disobedient monkeys (albeit still cute); my job is fabulous and does have perks, but because its so fabulous during the day, I have to do the actual hard graft late into the night; I have so little time to myself that dry shampoo is my NBF and I do my make- .CO.ZA GO TO ELLE.CO.ZA for tips on how to handle stress IM NOT SUPERWOMAN LAST WORD up in the parking lot before I step into the office; and those Martha Stewart-esque cupcakes on Instagram were made with a pre-mixed baking kit from Woolworths, Ill have you know.

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We need to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect “ or to project our lives as flawless to the outside world. We need to break away from feeling the need to do and be everything. Not only is it driving us over the edge, its making us nasty and competitive among our peers (as we scroll through our social media feeds and roll our eyes, muttering, Theres no way she baked that pie herself). At almost 30 years of age, I’m stressed, stretched far beyond my capabilities and completely exhausted.

Dozens of surveys show that women in their 20s and 30s are the most burnt-out “ and the pressure is mostly self-induced. We feel that juggling a career and a home is not successful enough any more “ we also need to have a blog, follow a Banting diet (er, sorry, lifestyle) and own a Boston Terrier to really feel accomplished. Look, Im trying to change. Reading reports that girls as young as 13 suffer from Superwoman Syndrome is enough to prompt me to shift my attitude. My plan is to spend more time doing less and less time trying to do more, because the only person losing out is me “ and more importantly, Im setting a bad example for those (cute) monkeys. So, whos with me?

Lynette Botha

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