Mama Myths Series: I Can Do It All
"I am superhuman."
Funnily enough, we don't go around thinking or saying we are superhuman. In fact, mothers minimize it more than anything. However, just because we don't say it, doesn't mean it isn't alive and well within. This lie can show up in so many underlying ways or in sideways behavior.
*"I will take care of everyone else before myself, because that is what moms do."
*"My mom never complained, why should I?"
*"No rest for the wicked"
*Feeling depleted all the time
*Turning to alcohol and coffee to get through the day
*Resentment toward yourself, spouse/partner, in-laws, friends, or children
*Feeling underappreciated or resentful that you are "the only one" that can can do it
*A jam-packed schedule with little to no downtime
*Restriction or binging of any kind (food, fun, sleep, television, social media etc.)
Being superhuman is not a sustainable life practice. Mama, you are human. Humans NEED four things...sleep, food/water, connection, and movement (any movement, not just structured exercise). Humans do not NEED to check their email, scroll Facebook, or binge watch TV. Humans do not NEED to clean the house every night. Humans do not NEED to work until the wee hours of the morning or worry about the next day, week, month, year (or 10 years).
Nothing can replace these four needs. Not medication, not facebook or instagram, not alcohol, not caffeine, not T.V., not working, not a clean kitchen....NOTHING.
Where do you place these needs on your priority list?
If you take care of other people's needs instead of your own, you will quickly feel depleted. Now, do you get to take a vacation whenever you feel like it, probably not now that you have kids. You can, however, take mini vacations and get creative around how you take care of you. I don't mean just bubble baths and pedicures (although those are great, too), I mean deep rich self care. Eating well, resting/relaxing, moving your body in nourishing ways, setting boundaries, saying no, being responsible for yourself, and making sure you are nurtured and taken care of.
Ever hear the oxygen mask analogy? You have to secure your OWN mask before you secure others' masks. Why? Because if you don't take care of yourself first, you will lose oxygen and lose the ability to help others. Same thing with motherhood. If mom isn't nourished, she can't nourish the ones around her.
Now, not everything is an emergency like the analogy infers. Also, there are times where your kid absolutely NEEDS you to be there for them wholeheartedly and where you might have to help them in lieu of what you had planned to take care of yourself. The problem is, we treat life like it is an emergency and set up our behavior around that they always need (not want) us to do for them. This fuels the set of beliefs and behaviors that are associated with being superhuman.
To help bring in more mindful action to your life, take a moment to pause and ask if what you are doing is necessary or if you could take an extra moment to replenish yourself and get some "oxygen." Many times, the self care you are craving is letting go of effort (ie. doing nothing) instead of "doing something."
Ideas for Being Human
*Ask for help
*Receive help when offered
*Schedule your self care
*Take a deep breath
*Take a break
*Eat a snack or a meal
*Drink a glass of water with lemon
*Go to bed and wake up around the same time each day
*Listen to nourishing podcasts
*Talk to friends
*Do something fun that does not involve kids tables and indoor parks
*Let go of mistakes
*Set reasonable expectations for yourself
Remember that you are #1 Priority! Yes, YOU!! Remind yourself of your humanness and if you wouldn't expect your best friend to do it, well, maybe you could soften the expectations you have on yourself, dear one.
About the Writer
Danielle is a mother, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, a writer, a woman's empowerment advocate, and dedicated soul seeker. Writing has been a natural form of expression that originates deep within each of her experiences. Her purpose is to provide validation, encouragement, and support for every mom through her blog, the Motherhood Empowered Facebook Group, and in the therapy room.