Accepting ‘Failure’: I’m Not Your Superwoman

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 cartoonSuperwoman 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.

Accepting 'Failure': I'm Not Your Superwoman
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5 comments

  1. Thank you for this post. It’s comforting to know that other moms experience the same feelings that I do. It’s hard to not feel like a failure when I can’t do everything. When I need help. I know I shouldn’t. But I do. Thank you for reminding me that it’s okay to not be able to do everything and be everything to everyone and to need help.

    • You’re welcome 🙂
      As I said in the post, just keep reminding yourself that you’re human, and we all fall short. I have to tell myself that at the end of nearly every day. It really makes me feel better about what I was able to accomplish, and I don’t stress as much about the things that fell through the cracks.
      Thank you for reading! 😀

  2. I found exactly that, I was the one expecting myself to be super mum. It’s impossible and no good for anyone if we’re exhausted trying to be unrealistically super! So different once you change your expectations of yourself.

    • I actually felt lighter once I started to let go of my unrealistic expectations. Don’t get me wrong: I’m still tired. But I don’t feel like I’m ready to drop anymore.

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