The Super Woman Complex

The Super Woman Complex

Since becoming a mommy, I have been reflecting deeply about this tug inside of me to be
super woman. I’m not talking about wearing tights and a cape, but rather overwhelming feelings of obligation, expectation, responsibility and pressure to be all and do all for everyone around me.

Here are ways my super woman complex shows up. It may appear as a strong need to create order in my life such as cleaning the kitchen, finishing laundry or grocery shopping for the week. It may show up as a sense of urgency to bring something to completion like a work project, taxes, paying bills or answering emails. Sometimes it manifests as an overwhelming desire to meet the emotional or physical needs of people around me.

Before my daughter was born, I had mastered the art of taking care of me. After Berlyn arrived, I gained a whole new perspective and appreciation for what it means to be a healthy woman who is also a mom. It’s not only easy, but sometimes it feels like a badge of honor to sacrifice sleep, workouts, home cooked meals, prayer time, date night and showers because of an innate drive to do anything and everything for this tiny person.

I know many of you get it. I feel the heart of every woman reading this who feels the weight of the world on her shoulders coupled with some heaping doses of guilt and inadequacy. I understand how finding the time and energy to take care of ourselves can feel impossible because - what’s left to give?

So what’s a woman to do? I can hear the men saying - hire a housekeeper, get childcare, order groceries online and automatically pay the bills. But it’s not that easy. You see, if we don’t believe we are worthy to make ourselves a priority, we will simply add more to our plates whenever something is removed.

Amber with daughter Berlyn.

Six months into being a mommy, I made a fundamental shift in my thinking. There is a difference between living life focused on what needs to be done and living life focused on how I want to experience it. Everyday I choose to be grateful, patient, enthusiastic, faithful, passionate, playful, courageous and full of love in everything I do - even washing the dishes. I refuse to live life stressing out about my to-do lists and measuring the value of my day based on productivity.

It’s so much more fulfilling to focus on how you want to “be” while you “do” all the responsibilities of life. For example, every day I focus on showing Berlyn what it looks like to be a confident healthy woman by honoring my body with good nutrition and exercise, setting healthy boundaries and making relationships more important than to-dos. I have faith that someday Berlyn will fill her up own cup up before pouring out to others because I showed her how.

I believe that if we choose to not take care of ourselves, we take away from those around us. It’s actually selfish. Think about it. When we eat unhealthy food, drink too much alcohol, skip working out, stress out from over commitments and say yes when we want to say no - we become a bitter, resentful, anxious, controlling, short-tempered, depressed and sad version of ourselves. It doesn’t matter if things get done, the experience others have of us cannot be undone. Eventually our health can deteriorate to the point that we become limited in what we can do. This is when the tables turn and people are now taking care of us because we didn’t take care of ourselves.

Taking care of you doesn’t require big, momentous changes. Begin by giving to yourself in small ways. Make a healthy breakfast, drink more water, take a family walk after dinner, ask your spouse to fold the laundry or do the dishes and don’t insult them for not doing it right. Schedule time to journal or pray. Cuddle with your kids instead of picking up the toys. Begin to say yes to your priorities in life and no to everything else and you will begin to create a life you love.