Is they Superwoman Syndrome slowing killing you?
I realised 8 years ago that I was addicted to the power trip of caring for others and if I didn’t change my ways it was going to kill me.
I race home from work see the washing unfolded, quickly fold it whilst overseeing homework, cook my tribe dinner because that is what I had been taught a mother is supposed to do. Pick up all the mislaid toys. Clean up the kitchen. On the way up to bed I realise a child needs a sports uniform which was sitting in the dirty laundry pile so on goes the washing and fall into bed at 11pm having all these good intentions of going to bed early but it never happened. Wake up early stumble, out of bed exhausted because I want to fit in my exercise before my cherubs needed me. Make lunches, race up and wake them up. Get myself ready and race out the door (often running).
The downside of my superwoman addiction took its toll. I would prop myself up with stimulants to keep me going. I was taking daily doses of berocca, coffee and sugar. Of course I always carried painkillers for the afternoon headache. The relaxation came in the form of wine o’clock. Finally my addiction slapped me in the face. I was diagnosed with my second chronic illness. First a brain tumour then grade 3 breast cancer 5 years later. Our bodies are like a supercomputer, when our lives are out of whack they give us a message. If you don’t listen you get an even bigger message. As I lay in hospital completely bed-ridden for 12 days it dawned on me… let superwoman go or die. I made a pact with myself to embrace Guilt Free Living.
Here is the single thing I did that changed my life forever.
I asked for help, well really I demanded it. My realisation hit me like one of my burnt chops in the face. In loving my family so much I was creating the young men and woman of the future who I despised because they couldn’t do anything for themselves. Cook, clean, wash. I think it was the memory of the Italian boy I dated after leaving school who didn’t cook (he went home for dinner) and his mother still washed his clothes that really did it.
The biggest challenge to make the leap from Superwoman to Guilt Free Living is letting go of perfection. Settle for Lasagne and Macaroni Cheese for dinner as the kids start sharing the cooking. The washing will be folded in all sorts of unusual ways (God forbid, sometimes it’s inside out). It may come in wet and then get folded. I can hear you gasp. The dishes get washed but you find yourself scraping off little pieces of hard food that have been missed (Yuck). You say “I don’t know if I can do it … give up superwoman”. Here is why superwoman had to go. I looked at my 5 year old daughter and she was mini-me learning the ways of life from me. The superwoman that looked like she did it effortlessly was a fake. It was all stimulants that kept me going. I didn’t want her getting exhausted and sick because of her superwoman complex.
Now I have more time to sit … I mean just sit. Write blogs… do what I love. I schedule in my passions (sometimes sneakily) at the busy household times like breakfast. This forces my kids to get their own brekkie and make their own lunch. After dinner I sometimes force myself to sit on the couch doing sweet FA while the kids do the dishes (resisting the urge to jump up and help). As a family we have time to actually sit and talk or do things together because my endless list is gone.
So if you are ready to let superwoman go I would love to hear about one area in which you are going to ask for help so you can implement Guilt Free Living to make 2018 your best year ever?