Can you tackle self-care for supermom?
You say your Supermom and you can tackle anything.
Supermom was everywhere in late 1980, and early 1990’s when I had my children
Supermom could do everything and be everywhere.
I believed I was that person. That meant I could do self-care for supermom.
I had two small children, and I was working in corporate America. This meant getting up early, get the kids ready for daycare (I also had help from Superdad) one of us would drop them off and then it would be hi ho the merry oh off to work.
My husband worked for the City government and had bankers hours. I worked for Corporate American in Bookkeeping, Payroll, Human Resources, and I worked 9 – 10 hours daily.
By the time my daughter was 1, I had realized she didn’t know who I was, she wanted her daddy and was a little scared of me.
About this time, my husband was on a list to lose his job with the City as they reorganized the departments, he started looking for another job, and before the reorganization finished, he found one.
We moved from Dallas, TX, to Decatur, IL. From a sizeable metropolitan area to small-town rural America. Our kids were 5 and 1 1/2!
We decided I would become a stay at home mother like some of my friends wanted to be. It would be perfect, my daughter would get to know me, and we would find playdates and fun things to do.
That lasted all of two full months, and I didn’t like playdates, in fact, I didn’t like my now two-year daughter old much. I wasn’t meant to be a stay at home mother.
Remember I was supermom!
Children need to see you taking care of yourself.
For single parents, parents who work different shifts, or just any parent, this can be one of the most challenging things to achieve.
Now my children were 7 and 4, and I was supermom. I even had the color-coded calendar, that had every appointment, birthday, event, and school projects on it.
My husband would work a twelve-hour snow shift during the winter months. I would work all day and come home to him sleeping and my kids ready for a parent to play with them.
My children would meet me at the door, screaming hello, and well, you know where this is going. I had to find some way to stop the madness.
I set the children down and explained that Daddy needed his sleep and Mommy needed some “me” time if they would quietly greet me and then give me 10 minutes to be by myself.
It worked most of the time, so I felt I had achieved self-care for supermom. I was so proud. I pounded myself on the chest or at least I thought it was.
But, BAM… my youngest still under five, I started having problems with a racing heart, shortness of breath, and fatigue. As a child, I had a heart murmur, but the doctors said no need to worry. This time the doctor gave me medication for Panic Attacks, but nothing changed. I didn’t give up I knew something was very wrong.
I thought I was going to die and leave two small children behind.
To make a long story short, test after tests finally showed I had Atrial Fibrillation.
In May 1999, I had open-heart surgery to fix two congenital heart defects.
Diagnosed in 1998 with type two diabetes.
The Practice of Self-care
I didn’t understand self-care, and then I was hit with some severe health problems that made me take a step back.
Embarrassment and fear kept me from admitting my problems, so I was still supermom.
Self-care mentors were far and in between, so, who could give me advice for self-care for supermom.
My fear of losing my job if I let on that I couldn’t do it.
I was of another generation. Raising children in the 1990s, supermom could do everything, be everything, work all day then come home, raise our kids, and be there for our husbands.
Supermom became an impossible task.
My health problems have continued during my adult life, causing me to learn a self-care routine and try to carry it out. It has been hard, never easy, but my family is my life.
I am proud to say that my kids now are very focused on self-care for themselves and me.
note: parts of this post appeared on It’s Mother’s Turn in 2017, title Self-care and You need it too.