Ditch the Cape, Supermom
Published in The Briefcase Diaries column at
October 7, 2005
article as a pdf file
You are great at multi
tasking. It’s 6:30 a.m. You’re ready for work, thrown a load of laundry
in, taken something out of the freezer for dinner and made the grocery
shopping list for the way home.
You’re a Type A personality.
At the office by 7:30 and
still there twelve hours later. You did the work to climb the corporate
ladder while you could – before the kids came along. It worked. You kept
Now you’re on maternity
leave. What a piece of cake! Trade the office work for a few poopy
diapers, story time, play time, and a walk in the park!
Except it’s been a few
months now, and things aren’t quite the way you thought they’d be.
- You’re on the go
from morning till night. You tell yourself that you can manage just
fine with half the sleep you’re used to. But you’re snapping at
everyone around you.
- To save money, you
canceled the cleaning lady. Your spouse said he’d help but that’s
not happening. You’re cleaning spills and picking up toys ALL the
time – especially now that your in-laws are dropping in more
- You’re getting
headaches more frequently but you chalk it up to out of whack
hormones and ignore it.
- You’re crying more
than usual. Everyone just says its just ‘baby blues.’
- You’re having
trouble sleeping at night even though you’re tired.
- You have indigestion
problems, cramps and heartburn.
- You feel isolated.
You didn’t realize how many of your intellectual and emotional needs
were being met at the office. And now you feel alone.
You’ve known people at work
who’ve been on disability leave because of stress related illness.
They’re often the most capable, top performers, the ones who seemed to
thrive on being workaholics.
Being a top performer at home can leave you burnt out, resentful, and
possibly even depressed. It’s vital that you figure out how not to be a
Many of us don’t recognize
how stressed we really are until we reach our breaking point. Those of
us who’ve reached that point, can, in hindsight, recognize what the
signs were that we ignored.
Don’t let it happen to you. If you don’t get it in check now, it’s only
getting to worse, especially if you decide to go back to work:
Introduce yourself to your inner Superwoman:
your superwomen tendencies. Why does the house need to be
clean 24/7? Reflect on where this need comes from and
resist. Give yourself permission to live with imperfection.
Don’t wait for a mommy-promotion:
approaching motherhood as you did your role at the office.
There’s no promotion waiting for you if you work twice as
Create realistic expectations:
your maternity leave with the end in mind. If you’re
thinking of going back to work, what do you need to put in
place now, that will facilitate your having balance in your
life then? Don’t get the family used to you taking care of
everything yourself. It’ll be hard to give it up when you’re
back at work.
- Keep your
partner in check:
- Don’t let
your partner off the hook! Make sure he’s doing his share.
Stand your ground when, in a moment of frustration, he says,
“But you’re home all day!
isolate yourself. Unlike an office environment where there’s
activity buzzing around you, motherhood can be lonely work.
Sign up for a stroller fitness group, join a moms’ group.
These bonds will serve you well later even though you may
feel too tired to bother now.
- Learn to ask
- If you’re
going back to work, avoiding 12 hour workdays will require
you to delegate. Start now. Learn to say no and accept help
from others. You’ll be surprised what you get if you learn
Karen Todd is a
professional speaker, writer, and consultant. She can be reached at
, or visit www.karentodd.com
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