The Superior Wife Syndrome

I was listening to the radio today, and there was an interview with the author of the book “The Superior Wife Syndrome” – Carin Rubenstein.

Now, I’m not typically one who buys things because of something I heard on the radio, and I probably won’t buy this book to be honest (those I may check it out from the library).

So what is the book about?

Well, from what I heard from her description on the radio, the book is about women who try to be the perfect wife – and the perfect mother – and about how the quest to be perfect is A) impossible and B) puts a strain on her relationship with her husband. For those of you who watch Desperate Housewives, my immediate thought was of Bree Vanderkamp.

And what Carin’s conclusion was is that you have to let go of that voice in your head that is the internal critic that says about your husband “He isn’t good enough” or “He isn’t doing that right” – and learn to just let your husband help and not be critical of it. You can’t be a full time employee, full time mother and a full time house-keeper – so to keep from going insane you need to let your husband help you out and learn to let go of everything being perfect (and let’s face it, we women do believe that most of the time we can do it better than they can in a shorter amount of time).

And this got me thinking about this blog and the blog of so many people out there – and I feel a little bit like the main reason there are so many more women personal finance blogs than men is because we’re so OBSESSED with being superior women. We have these ideas and plans for perfection in our life and we’ll stop at nothing to achieve them (short of our own inadequateness). And sometimes I wonder if all these blogs are, are just a show of how superior we are to the world, how much in control of our lives we are – even when we’re not. And I wonder if my having this blog is just an outward expression of the control that I want to have over everything: my finances, my body, my apartment, my life – and it makes me scared that I would be like that in a relationship as well.

If any of you followed me from my former blog to this one, you know the obsession that I have with being perfect – or at least trying to obtain it. I have this idea of how my life should be (see yesterday’s post on being a grown up), and sometimes I feel like a failure if I don’t have it.

So how does one live self-sufficiently, but happy? Will we ever be perfect? Should we even try? Or should we just learn to love who we are and accept our inadequacies even if they make us miserable? I mean… certainly no one in the personal finance world should be convinced that they should just ACCEPT that they’ll be in debt forever as part of their flaw in character, should they?

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3 Responses to The Superior Wife Syndrome

  1. Your questions (So how does one live self-sufficiently, but happy? Will we ever be perfect? Should we even try? Or should we just learn to love who we are and accept our inadequacies even if they make us miserable?) are really good ones. I think I’ve gotten better at accepting myself when I do less than perfectly, but I don’t know that it is a bad thing to strive for perfection. Shouldn’t you always try to do the best you can and push others to do their best too?

  2. Jessie says:

    wow, great post and great questions.

    It really makes you think, I know I’ve got control issues for sure. My brother actually brought it up the other day.. he said that there is help available, I just have to take advantage of it. It’s hard, because if you take help it means your not in control and what if something goes wrong. I hope that doesn’t permeate too negativity in my relationships but I think it’s defn. something to be aware of and work on slowly changing.

    With this question “should we just learn to love who we are and accept our inadequacies even if they make us miserable”

    I don’t think we should accept our inadequacies if they make us miserable, but I think we should try to figure out why they make us miserable and how to turn it into a positive thing. So maybe instead of getting worked up that I like control, maybe I try to find a way to make that control work for me and become a positive leader rather then someone who just needs to do everything all the time….

  3. TMcImmy says:

    First off, obviously perfection is impossible. And for whatever reason, women do seem more prone to strive to make things “perfect”. Men, in general, seem more likely to let things slide.

    On the other hand, despite living in the 21st century, I feel there’s still a lot of internalized pressure of “typical” gender roles. Single women often feel pressure to not only succeed in their career, but also maintain a perfect home and a flawless figure. I’ll leave the debate if men put this pressure on women for another time.

    I’m going to propose a counter-theory for why women are more into personal finance blogs. Typically if a man has a problem he wants to figure it out for himself and prove he is strong and manly. Women are far more likely to look to others for a sense of support and community. One example I can think of is weight loss. While everyone can benefit from a gym buddy, women are far more likely to diet together or make exercise plans with friends. Men seem more likely to say “I’m getting chunky” and try on their own to make changes.

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