Why Being A Woman Is Just So Exhausting

by Lisa Sugarman
Lisa writes the nationally syndicated column "It Is What It Is" and is the author of Untying Parent Anxiety.

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I’m not what you’d call a girly girl. Never have been.

In fact, I was way more tomboy than anything for the better part of my pre-teen life. It was only when I started noticing boys in ways other than throwing and catching or as skateboarding buddies, that I shed my ponytail holder and Toughskins for an eye pencil and some lip gloss.

And even though my newfound awareness of the opposite sex definitely helped bridge me over to the land of low-level cosmetics and regular nail care, I never became a hardcore makeup wearer.

I guess you could say I always dabbled just enough to look presentable. You know, like I was making a legitimate effort as a woman.

Bushes and pencils, elevated view

What I’ve learned, though, after all these years of semi-primping and moderate fussing is that it can be absolutely exhausting to be a girl. Because, when you stack up the check list most of us have just to be able to walk out the door, it sometimes feels like a full-time job. Or, at least in my case, a part-time one.

I mean, think about it, unless a tardy slip is at stake for our fourth grader and we have to grab a ski mask and go, the average woman won’t walk out the door without at least swishing some mouthwash, running a brush through her hair, walking through a light spray of perfume, tossing on a drop of foundation, lining her lips a little, and plucking the errant chin hair. And that’s a rush job. The real regimen takes considerably longer.


Now I don’t know about you, but my morning ritual usually looks something like this: wake, shower, wash and condition hair (every other day, of course, because no one wants dry hair), shave all shavable body parts, moisturize, mousse, pluck, apply make-up, dry hair, and dress. All of which takes me roughly thirty to forty minutes.

And while I know that’s pretty speedy compared to a lot of my friends, it’s decidedly different from my husband’s seven minutes start to finish routine (including a shower, mouthwash, and fluffing his beard). It’s just so unfair.

And God forbid I take a run or workout during the day because then it means repeating the entire process if I plan to go out in public that night. It’s an ordeal, trust me. A first-world problem, I know, but still an ordeal. I’m just reaffirming my point that being a girl can be a very labor-intensive process.


Keep in mind, too, that everything I just talked about is just the day-to-day. I haven’t even touched on all the other stuff most of us do on a regular basis to supplement the day-to-day drill. Stuff like manicures and pedicures, eyebrow waxing, hair coloring, facials…the list goes on for days.

So, as much as I love being a woman—and I do, believe me—there’s an awful lot to be said for being a boy. I mean, to be able to pee standing up, let alone throw on a new white t-shirt and jeans, slap some cologne on your cheeks, run your fingers through your hair, grab your wallet and keys, and run out the door looking perfectly put together. The thought of it is just so dreamy. And I guess I’m just jealous, that’s all.

view of a young couple in a bathroom

Now trust me, I have no problem whatsoever throwing on a trucker hat and some yoga pants and calling it a day. In fact, if I didn’t have a job that requires that I wear pants, I’d permanently opt for some form of spandex.

Yet, for me, making myself look presentable most days is just an issue of pride. I like to look nice, it’s as simple as that. As much for myself as for my husband and my girls. You know, set a good example and all that.


As with anything, though, there are always occupational hazards that pop up from time to time. And my latest was a massive and debilitating allergic reaction to my mascara.

I know it sounds absurd but it’s true, my mascara took me out of commission for two full days last week. Yup, I missed work because I simply couldn’t open either of my eyes. It was ridiculous. Looked like I just got out of the ring with Ronda Rousey. Full-on eye disaster. Ironic, too, that someone who dabbles so superficially in the world of makeup at all could have an eye makeup disaster on this scale. But it happened.

Yet more proof that it can be tricky being a girl.


Well, at least there’s an upside. Now that I just eliminated putting on mascara from my daily routine I just bought myself an extra minute-and-a-half of free time. Winning.

For more from Lisa Sugarman, visit and Twitter and click here for an exclusive offer to order her upcoming book Untying Parent Anxiety.