It’s 2 a.m. and I’m awake. Mentally and physically exhausted, but awake. I’m staring at the video monitor, waiting for Baby Bird to move, and building a mental checklist of everything I need to do once the sun’s up:
… dishes, week’s meal prep, laundry, vacuum, write for the blog, plan activities for Baby Bird, childproof the house, network, edit …
I tell myself the fatigue is temporary, and that women have successfully managed their children, homes, and careers for decades. I can do this. I have to push through this. My husband and child are depending on me.
Superwoman doesn’t take mental-health breaks. Supermom doesn’t turn on the TV when she needs a break from entertaining her child. Superwife cooks for her husband more than once or twice a week.
But I’m not Superwoman. I’m not Supermom. I’m not Superwife … and I’m beginning to accept that no one expects me to be.
I’ve never been the type to ask for help — not from my parents, friends, or even my husband. And I never planned to ask anyone for help with my child. I had her, so I should be able to care for her, regardless of my fatigue.
I continuously refused my mother-in-law’s offers to assist. She could keep Baby Bird for a few hours, she’d say, and I could sleep, visit friends, or just wash my hair.
Finally, after seven months of being put off, she insisted on taking my daughter for an afternoon.
I didn’t get any real rest — I went the mall, cleaned a rug, cleaned the house — but I felt oddly rejuvenated when my break was over.
I think those hours of quiet allowed me to focus, to stop my head from spinning.
One afternoon didn’t cure me of Superwoman Syndrome, but it did give me a chance to breathe and put things into perspective. That afternoon helped me realize that there’s no shame in needing a break.
There’s no shame in asking for help.
There’s no shame in admitting I can’t give my all to my family and keep nothing for myself.
I’m not a bad mom/wife/daughter/friend for needing help. I’m human.
There’s no shame in being human.
It’s so simple, but it’s been a hard lesson for this new mom to learn.