Superwoman Syndrome pushes mothers to do it all, but what about our well-being?
Superwoman, much like mothers, is …
As a young girl I remember my mother coming home from work, setting her stuff down on the table and immediately starting on another project, laundry, dinner, mail, or bills. To this day the woman only sits still right after lunch or right after dinner and only for a few minutes before she’s either onto something else or falling asleep in her chair.
For portions of our life my mother raised me and my siblings as a single mother. Looking back I often think “how did she do it” and am immediately reminded it wasn’t “how did she do it” but rather that “she had to do it.” There’s no alternative as a mother. You do what you have to do for your family. We take off one cape and put on another. Sometimes that looks and feels really great and put together and other times it’s complete chaos and you just wait for the ball to drop.
The good news about balls … they bounce.
In the past I used to think in order to have it all together I needed to have it all. Meaning that the pursuit of happiness and the perfect life is one that mothers depicted from a story book or fairy tale. After questioning multiple times where I went wrong in past experiences or relationships I finally came to realize that those bullshit bedtime stories aren’t real. And that’s when I started letting go.
I let go of … lying to protect myself or others.
I let go of … needing to be wanted or wanting to be needed.
I let go of … feeling bad about how I choose to live my life.
I let go of … serving others to ultimately serve myself.
A few of those are pretty harsh realities to consider and process. Motherhood is continuous work and a lifetime of deconditioning the notion that we have to do it all, alone. The term “superwoman syndrome” more or less means that as mothers we have to do it all and essentially neglect ourselves during the process. But, why?
Why do it alone?
We don’t have to.
We don’t need to.
In my opinion Superwoman Syndrome is self imposed. It has become the female version of Imposter Syndrome. “Hey, look at me and ALL that I’m doing.” On the outside we look like we have it all together but actually we are really struggling and hanging on by the last thread of that damn cape we so desperately desire. More than likely it’s not until we’ve been through this ourselves to some degree that we can start to recognize it in ourselves as well as others.
What if we give Superwoman an upgrade? What if mothers really were all in it together–Superwomen.
What if we recognized ALL that we do and want to do it. Keeping in mind that what WE WANT is actually really important and worthy of consideration. And even MORE importantly, what if we kept in mind the things we DON’T WANT.
Most of the women I know do this type of thing subconsciously. All too often we push our needs and desires to the back burner while we help someone else accomplish what they want. It could literally be for anyone else. Maybe it’s for our significant other, children, friend, work, charity, or community organization.
This concept may be the single most important attribute I’ve learned to change for myself. Are there times when I do things I don’t want to do? Yes. Is that very often? No.
I no longer put myself or my pursuits behind those of others.
When an image of superwoman comes to mind it’s not that of the Marvel character. It’s my own damn reflection.
I think of all the women in my life who are making themselves a priority while supporting and encouraging others.
I think of one of my favorite songs by the talented Alicia Keys.
Because I am Superwoman. YOU are Superwoman. We are Superwomen.
Photography by Valeria Zoncoll and Eye for Ebony via Unsplash
Born and raised in rural Kansas, @MamaFitWhit carries a sense of small town appeal on her sleeve. MamaFitWhit is a personal trainer (in person and online) and business owner. She has a passion for health, fitness, and motherhood. For over a year and a half she has been advocating for Autism Awareness and is devoted to educating herself and others about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Education about cannabis as medicine and how it can be utilized for overall wellness is a growing concentration of hers.