The Supermother’s Fall From Grace…and Why I’m OK With It
Have we met? You look familiar…And you may recognize me as the mother with a dozen capes flowing behind me as I ran from here to there – Nurse cape, teacher cape, maid cape, career cape, chef, banker, administrator, bus driver…. Yup, a different cape for every job. And you should have seen how fast I used to change from one to another. My capes used to help me identify who I was at any given moment as I rushed through life with 4 kids in tow and no husband by my side.
Crazy didn’t even begin to describe my days. Life said “Slow down” but I didn’t listen. Life said “ask for help” but I kept flying solo. Life said “there are people who want to help you” but I said I was fine. That is, until the day I exchanged my fancy capes for a hospital gown. “Oh you’re serious”, I said? “Yes”, said life.
And that was the beginning of my journey of letting go. I had to let go of my need to control every stupid little thing (and the big things too). I had to let go of the thought process that I, and only I, knew what was best for myself, my children, my work…everything. I had to learn how to reach out for help. And it nearly killed me. It’s funny, I had cancer, but it was the “asking for help” part that was so difficult for me.
Can anyone relate? Are there some sister “supermothers” reading this who might be on the path to burnout, just like I was? Believe me when I tell you, it’s OK! You’ve earned a break. You may be the best, most loving and caring mother in the world, but that doesn’t mean you have to have all the answers. And no one expects you to.
If something isn’t working in your life, I guarantee you’re not alone. I promise that there are other mothers out there working on the exact same thing. Go find them! Get some camaraderie, find a community, get some help!!! Take care of you before life steps in and slows you down, without your permission.
We all know that being a mother is hard work. And it’s not like you can figure out everything with your firstborn and breathe a sigh of relief when number 2, 3 or 4 come along!! Oh no. Each one is unique and has a mind of their own… I know you know what I’m talking about. What works for #1 doesn’t necessarily work for #2 or #3, right?
No, your job is to hold the space for each of your children, to see them as individuals with their own personalities and purpose in life and to be there for them while they discover who they really are. But you have to do all of that while also keeping your own head above water and that’s not always easy….but it can be done with ease if we listen.
Put on your own oxygen mask first, right? Then you’ll be able to think straight when your teen comes home and says they’re not going back to school anymore or her teacher calls to tell you that your child is failing the 10th grade or that he is being bullied. You’ve got to be strong to handle these things. You may have to make some tough decisions as a mother so please get a support system in place before you need it.
Here’s the thing….now that my four kids are older, I can look back on their younger years and say that I have absolutely no regrets, and that’s a pretty amazing feeling. It really does take a village to raise a child, but modern, busy women often don’t get that message until it’s too late. If I didn’t have my health scare years ago, I’d still be running around with my hair on fire and I would be sitting here wondering where all those years went.
But instead, I have nothing but wonderful memories of intentionally parenting my children, of being there for them during the tough times (yes, there will be tough times) and for enjoying the time spent together during the good times. Take a minute and really think about how much time and energy you have to give to your precious children and if it’s not enough, then consider how you can make some changes.
Remember, you do NOT have to do this by yourself – there are people out there who can help you make better decisions, for yourself and for your family. If you’re screaming though life without feeling much joy and ease, then it may be a subtle hint to stop and think about what you’re missing and what you can do differently in the future. You can still be a “supermother” without depleting all of your strength and energy, you just have to be smart about it! And asking for support may be the smartest thing you could ever do right now.
And if you do all of that, you just might stop the fall from grace from happening in the first place. In fact, there’s a very good chance that you will remain a Supermother indefinitely!!!