There are a lot of jokes made about our tendency to try to be Supermom and probably even more books written about how destructive the behavior is to ourÂ well-being; yet we continue to get up in the morning, reach for the cape, and try to save the world.
For some of us it just seems like itâ€™s in our DNA, and no matter how hard we try, we canâ€™t overcome the force that pushes us to continue to do things when any sane person would have stopped.
When I went through my divorce, I had six kids at home and I hadnâ€™t worked outside the house in 30 years. I saw myself as a homeschooling mom and I had no doubt I would be homeschooling until my youngest graduated. I enjoyed being a mom; I enjoyed homeschooling, homemaking, and everything involved in that lifestyle. I was not looking for a career.
The divorce was abrupt, unexpected, and chaotic. Although my ex-husband, and even my children, tell me I should have seen it coming, I didnâ€™t. Maybe I just didnâ€™t want to see it. In any case, I was pitched headlong into a lifestyle change I wasnâ€™t ready for. Suddenly I was working 18 hours a day to build a hobby into a career to support my family. Thank God it was a career that allowed me to work from home.
Even though I was working hard to make a living, I still felt like I had to continue doing the things I had always done. I pushed myself to cook three meals a day, have a clean and organized home, and continue homeschooling. I did have the foresight to get rid of the dairy goats that we had, although I kept the chickens.
I still struggle with that every single day, nearly three years later. I have loosened up to the point that the kids fix themselves cereal and sandwiches most days. I work in the kitchen; writing articles while listening to my youngest read aloud, helping one with math, and another with science. My concentration is constantly fractured, my brain on overdrive slipping from one mode to another rapidly.
And at the end of the day I fall into bed exhausted and cry because my house is a mess.
Obviously something needs to change but I just canâ€™t change it. I donâ€™t want to be working â€“ I want to be focusing on my kids and my home, because that is where my heart is. Since I feel that I need to give 100% to everything I do, I am often frustrated, irritable, and feel like I have failed at everything.
Oh, the angst of it all! Oh, the drama!
I canâ€™t bring myself to say no when asked to bring cupcakes to an event, or chat with one of my kids that is overseas. I want everyone to have the quality time that I want to give them â€“ even when that is unrealistic. My cape is choking me and as much as Iâ€™d like to take it off, I donâ€™t know how. Everything feels like a priority.
Looking into my life, others have suggested the most obvious thing â€“ put the kids in school. I donâ€™t want to put the kids in school; I want to stop working. I donâ€™t want to give up the things I want to do for the things I have to do; for most SuperMoms that is the entire problem in a nutshell.
If you are struggling with your own cape, I canâ€™t offer advice; I can only say that I understand.
photo credit: Katherine Johnson