T’was the third week of December, Samson was almost 6 months old and I was having a very very hard week. I was on another cycle of trying to be Super Mom a.k.a Super Woman, on a mission to earn my Multitasking trophy. I had so much on my plate (still do) and was working so hard to be Jane of all trades, Master of all! I was trying to be the best Mommy to Samson, the improved attitude-free wife to Sam, keeping the house tidy, and cramming my schedule at work to meet deadlines before the holidays. I was draining energy, patience, sanity, memory, just everything lovely…and fast!
Sam had been working late everyday that week and I was alone taking care of Samson. In one week I accomplished the following: 1. Filling the house with smoke trying to re-toast tortilla chips, air out the house, change a blow-out diaper, and run out to safety (the car). 2. Slice my finger open cutting sweet potatoes to make baby food, attempt first aide while caring for a crying baby (My neighbor Georgia ended up coming over to help, thanks Girl!) 3. Smoking up the kitchen again, steaming those sweet potatoes (always check the water levels). 4. Within seconds of my grasp, watching Samson in slow-motion roll off the couch on to the carpet, between the couch and his glider. By the end of that week, I seriously had a breakdown. Sam asked what was wrong with me. I told him plainly with attitude, “I need a break! That’s what’s wrong.”
Now, I know Sam has told me time and time again not to be this Super Woman. He said, “I rather you not be Super Woman than burn down the house.” Yet, for some reason, I was still determined that I had to be. I’ve never really had that problem before, but I guess something about becoming a Mom made me think I had to transform into this “traditional” role of a Mom and Wife. After that week, I finally decided that Multitasking/Super Momming was not for me. For the safety of our home, I had to let it go. However, doing that was really disappointing to me and I felt that I failed.
I truly believe that there were several times I dealt with Postpartum Depression, just trying to be this Super Woman meeting the needs in all the different roles I possess. I was beginning to feel isolated from friends, not wanting to go to Church, having random crying spells, feeling down about my appearance, overwhelmed with sleep deprivation, feeling guilty about leaving Samson with a babysitter because of work, trying to pump enough breast milk for the next day, not affectionate/intimate towards Sam, questioning how good of a Woman I was… the list goes on and on.
Now, looking back on all that, wow! I was the happiest ever because I finally had our adorable baby boy. Yet, it was one of the most miserable times in my life, because of how I felt emotionally and physically. I know a lot of people don’t talk about it, due to stigma. However, it’s really a huge and hard transition for many Women. And because we don’t talk about it, New Moms’ feel overwhelmed and alone. As I reached out to my support system of other new Mom’s the more I realized I’m not going crazy; these are all valid feelings and experiences. I am indeed doing a great job! The fact that I can even be concerned about these thoughts speaks volumes to how great of a Woman I already am.
It took a lot of prayer and finally a 10 day fast to help clear my head. Side note, if you can relate to any of this, just know Love, you’re doing awesome! You’re not alone and you’re going to make it through this! Reach out to someone you trust to vent and get some encouragement. If someone comes to you with these feelings, just be an ear, let them cry, let them get it out, don’t interrupt. Then support them, encourage them and build them up with reminders of how well they really are doing. We are our worst critics.
The Love Language
So I asked in the title, Super Mom – Syndrome or Love Language? I believe it is a very true Syndrome that probably should have some space in the DSM (The Psychology Bible). However, it didn’t click until a week ago that this Super Mom/Super Woman syndrome is actually also a Love Language. If you haven’t already, I suggest checking out any of Gary Chapman’s books on The 5 Love Languages. You can actually go to the website to take a free test to see what your top love language is (unpaid plug). One of the love languages that I feel matches up with the Super Mom/Super Woman is ‘Acts of Service’. You know, ‘don’t tell me you love me, show me you love me’. I realized that I try to do it all as a Super Mom because I love my husband and son so much. My endeavors around the house and for them is out of love. Even if I’m frustrated and annoyed while doing it (just being honest). I don’t do it because it’s “expected” of me, but because I love them. Even beyond exhaustion, I keep trying. I re-took the test a couple days after that realization and saw that my top two love languages are ‘Words of Affirmation’ and ‘Acts of Service’. It all made a ton of sense and clarified a lot for me.
Now, with re-labeling Super Mom as a love language – it’s still important not to overdo it. Try to find ways to balance it with other displays and languages of love. Here are some tips to get past the Super Mom syndrome:
- Scale down your tasks: If you have 10 things on your ongoing To-Do list, scale it down to 2 or 3 things for the day and give each one it’s designated time slot.
- Prioritize: Trying to cover everything at once, is most likely impossible, and you may end up burned out. Those tasks of love will turn into resentment, and well… that really doesn’t do anything to help anyone.
- Time Out: If you’re becoming stressed about it, take a time-out and come back to it later. It could be 10 minutes or 2 hours, doesn’t matter as long as you can come back to it in a clearer head space.
- Ask for Help: Don’t be reluctant to ask for help. Trust me, you won’t loose points if someone else helps you. It could be from your spouse, family, friends, etc. Chances are, there is someone close to you, who would love to practice the “acts of service” love language for you. It’s better to ask than to assume you have to do it yourself (speaking to the Choir). It takes a Village to raise a child, right?
I am a constant work in progress. I still find myself working up a frenzy in Super Mom cycles. Yet, when I catch myself- I immediately stop. I literally talk to myself (sometimes aloud) and say, “Stop Desiraé. Focus on one thing at a time.” I also say, “finish what you were doing first, before moving on.” You don’t have to be Super Mom/Woman to show your family you love them. More than likely with all the efforts you’ve already made for them, they know it; even if they don’t say it. Also, make sure you’re making time to love on yourself with some Me Time. Even the best Super Mom needs a break sometimes. Just remember, as long as no one is in danger and the surroundings are safe, everything else can wait. One more thing, in case no one has told you lately. I’m telling you…don’t be so hard on yourself, and don’t give up. You’re doing a FANTASTIC job!