Hey there lady-friend. Look, I’m not a big fan of new year’s resolutions. BUT today I’m going to share with you a promise I made to myself this time last year. I want it to be your commitment to yourself in 2018.
I originally wrote this as part of email sequence I sent to my subscribers but it’s too important to only be seen by a select few.
ps. I don’t think the ‘superwoman’ problem is specific to single mamas but because we’re shouldering the responsibilities of a family alone most of the time it can be particularly damaging.
First, let me tell you a story…
Once there was a single mum who thought she had to prove to the world that she could cope alone. She’d ‘chosen’ to have a baby by herself so she had to just soldier on bravely, shouldering all the responsibility, all the work and all the stress. Didn’t she?
She insisted on living by herself, running the house, paying the bills, doing all the cleaning, cooking, caring for the child AND running a business.
Nurturing, teaching, disciplining, loving, worrying, getting up in the night, doing the school-run, worrying about money, stressing about work.
And slowly starting to resent that it was ALL on her.
But still she refused to give in. Her mother kept saying she could come and live with her. But that would be admitting she couldn’t cope alone, wouldn’t it?
And that’s what being an adult was all about. Coping. By. Yourself.
Until her mental health came crashing down.
The stress, fear and anxiety came spilling out in outbursts of anger her child took the brunt of. And as depression that left her numb with resentment about doing all the nurturing, cooking, cleaning, earning and worrying.
She could barely get out of bed. She ground to a halt. She couldn’t stop CRYING. All she kept thinking was, “Why me? Why is this all on my shoulders?”
Then a little voice in her head whispered: “Because that’s how you insisted things be.”
Only then did she finally give in and asked for help. Only then did she admit that she COULDN’T do it all alone. And only then did she realise she didn’t need to. That it was all in her head.
There were people there waiting for her to let them in…
Yes, you’ve guessed it. That story was about me. For a long time. Five and a half years of my daughter’s life to be exact.
The good news is that when I sought help it came in bucketloads.
- I no longer live alone, I live with my amazing mum, who’d spent years trying to convince me that being with her was the best option for us all.
- I found a great counsellor – for free on the NHS – who taught me how to deal with my anger before explodes in a horrible mess on all those around me.
- And I turned to friends who’d offered up their support without me having to ask.
I KNOW only too well how much you want to be seen as capable, like you’ve got your shit together. You want to be on top of things, setting a great example for your kids, and disproving the stereotype of the stressed out single mother. You want to be the best mum you can be.
That’s all well and good. But there’s only YOU.
You don’t have to do it all alone. And the more you try, the more resentful you’ll feel and the more likely you are to come crashing down. Like I did. Exhausted. Burned out. Stressed out beyond belief.
And then what? There’s only YOU.
But there needn’t be.
STOP taking on so much. Stop trying to take on more than any human being is capable of shouldering.
STOP trying to prove you’re fucking superwoman. You’re already bloody amazing for coming this far, but don’t martyr yourself, like I did, trying to prove you can do it all. Who are you doing all that proving for???
START admitting your vulnerabilities. Start admitting you need help. And witness the best side of humanity come your way as a result.
So, my last word on this is, take help when it’s offered. Seek help when you need it.
Your children deserve a human, flawed, real and happy mum, not a stressed-out, fragile, wannabe perfect one.
Do you free like you have to do it all alone? Do you find it hard to accept help, or ask for it? Let me know in the comments.