Maria writes at Feisty Tapas, she’s Spanish, married to an Englishman and they have one child. She is a WAHM, translates, writes freelance and a myriad of other feathers in her cap but it’s all getting a bit too exhausting – read on and let me know if you see yourself in this post. Tweet Maria too she loves to chat! Or find her on Facebook
Since always I have been one to take everything on, whatever it is. I am totally aware that, if I put my mind to it, I can do it. I may not be the best at everything or at anything but, if I can do it, I do it.
Then I became a mum, the whole world turned on its head, nothing went as I expected and things… well, things changed when I least needed even more change.
I have carried on as always, I have kept on doing everything, I went back to working from home but now in the company of a child and I have kept on doing housewifey things (I must confess that I am quite rubbish at being a domestic goddess).
I even started a blog for goodness sake (a blog can serve multiple purposes: call for help, psychotherapy, support network, friendship, it truly is endless in its giving).
We have thought about childcare but, in between the fact that I know I can carry on and the fact that I’m not one to throw in the towel, why have childcare? And the fact that it involves research (I tend to be quite detailed in my research, it’s part of my job): find a place, ask for an appointment, etc. It just ends up not happening when I realise that I just can’t bring myself to take a decision, what if something goes wrong? Then something does go wrong elsewhere, even if it is in Qatar and I think no way! But I so need some help with LittleT.
Basically, with me, the fact that I can do everything doesn’t mean that I want to and that there aren’t certain things that I dread doing and put off because they ultimately scare the crap out of me.
Today I am exhausted, today I told my husband on the phone that we need to find childcare. Today I should be…
This is as far as I got writing this post the other week, probably 2 weeks ago, because this is one of the things that really scare the crap out of me. These are things that I try to keep inside of me until one day I explode.
I decided to retake the post and, in the aim of research, I googled the title I had chosen, The Supermum Syndrome. Do you know what? It turns out I am not the only one suffering this ailment. Hooray for the Sisterhood of Mum.
Then I watched the film I don’t know how she does it on DVD and it all got me thinking: why do we feel the need to be supermum?
I started thinking of all of this because there have been lots of things getting me down lately:
– A really energetic child who I am constantly trying to get more focussed
– Family demands of the Spanish kind (imagine family pressure and then multiply it by 1,000). Let’s not go there.
– Clients not taking no for an answer, the most difficult of clients who seem to have forgotten how to do their jobs, I swear a year ago they used to be quite efficient. I have a theory: either a) everyone has forgotten that the economy isn’t that buoyant at the moment and they really shouldn’t rest on their laurels or b) they are just spreading themselves too thin. The truth is that, if I say no to a client, I do mean it and in fact I say it for their own good, because I know I am not going to do the quality of work they are used to receiving from me. They actually know this, they have been working with me for years. I may earn less that way but it keeps my reputation where I have had it for many years and it means I haven’t missed a single milestone of my child’s life so far, I was the one sitting at the kitchen table recording her first steps on video when I saw the determination in her eyes.
On the other hand, it was hard enough to make people realise before I became a mother that when I say “I work from home” I literally mean “I WORK from home”, just like other people earn their livings at more traditional places of work, home is my place of work, yes it is, but now I have to put up with the “oh so you have a hobby “looks (and I don’t even mean my blog, i.e. the thing that is keeping me sane).
What I don’t understand: with so many of us working from home, is this lifestyle so difficult to comprehend? And no, it’s not a hobby, it’s my career and profession (as well as a whole chunk of who I am and something I am extremely proud of. Talk to any stay at home mum: even if society doesn’t think so, they work really hard. Looking after a child, keeping them entertained and trying to do housework with them around your legs is indeed hard work, running a household in this economy is hard work, trying to save money when the prices of everything are on the increase, meal planning (of the kind that the family will eat and a long etcetera).
I have to add that it is not just mums who juggle, just the other day I got talking in the playground to a father who turned out to be Spanish and married to an Englishwoman. She works, he looks after their 2 year old and he seemed to be feeling a bit overstretched.
All in all, for me it is a relief to know that I am not the only one feeling like this, going through this.
What is it that makes us keep pushing on? Why do we think that we need to show to ourselves and the rest of the world that we really can cope with everything? Add another ball to my juggling act? Oh, go on, why not? What is one more ball after all, right?
I do wonder: does this Supermum Syndrome affect people equally whatever stage they are at in their lives? i.e. mums in their teens, early or late twenties, thirties and fourties?
Mari, did you have the same expectation of yourself with your first pregnancies and with the twins? Did you feel the world expected more or less of you? Or is it perhaps a 21st century syndrome?