I have a superpower, but it’s not what you think. When life gets busy and full, I have the ability to make myself invisible. To invoke my keen superpower, I simply ignore all of my needs, wants, dreams, and desires for long periods of time. And then, like magic, I wilt like a flower without sunlight and water, fading away into oblivion, every single time.
School is back in session, and we’re locked and loaded into our warp-speed, no-time-for-nonsense routines. It’s times like these that I fall back on my superpower even more. Even though I’m the maid, the cook, the lawyer, the boss, the nanny, and the homework-whisperer, it’s like I’m not really here. I’m just skirting along on auto-pilot, getting things done and making sure everyone (except me) is taken care of.
I’m like Wonderwoman, without the wonder and without the red boots. I wear sensible flats instead.
Lately, when a new day dawns, I’m hardly brimming with joy and gratitude. The alarm dings, and I roll out of bed, haggard and yawning. My first thought is, How can I make it through this day? I’m already exhausted and I just got up! After surveying the luggage under my eyes in the bathroom mirror, I greet the day with a pinch of dread and a lot of coffee.
I’m hardly unique. So many of us don’t take care of ourselves or our needs. We’re able to keep going, but we’re like a rickety car that hasn’t had its oil changed or tires rotated in years. We just huff and puff along with our bumpers dragging the ground.
Why, lovely people, do we do this? I understand that time is limited and we have lots of small people, big people, and responsibilities tugging on us, but it goes deeper than a time issue. If something is important, we make time for it. Period.
We live in a culture that considers selflessness to be a desirable attribute. If you indulge yourself too much, you’re selfish and lazy. After all, a good mother/wife always puts her children/family first, right?
We also live at a time when expectations are sky-high. No longer can we take pride in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in our children’s lunchboxes unless they are cut into giraffe and monkey shapes. Your house better sparkle like the big diamond on your ring finger, a gourmet dinner (involving quinoa and/or kale) should be on the table every night, and make sure your kids are involved in at least 12,000 extracurricular activities so that neither you nor your children ever have a moment to sit on the couch and just relax.
When we ignore that little voice inside that says, “Slow down, momma,” we make the choice to become invisible. We live without truly seeing, without feeling, and that, my friends, is not living. That’s surviving. We deserve better than survival.
You know that feeling when you got a really good night’s sleep because you didn’t drink 3 glasses of wine last night and you jump out of bed with a (gasp) smile on your face? Or that feeling after a good workout or a brisk walk to clear your head? Or that sigh of relief when you get in the car and drive somewhere by yourself and the car is quiet? Or that feeling of camaraderie when you have a conversation with a friend that really gets you? Or that rush of gratitude and joy that spreads over you when you stop and just look at the majesty and brilliance of a sunset?
That’s living. If we slow down just a touch, we can do simple things to make ourselves feel cared for, connected, and visible. For me, that’s exercise, sleep, writing, connecting with friends, and time to myself. You have to pinpoint what makes you feel good and rejuvenated and then do those things, even on a small scale. It’s as simple as that, and the rewards are huge.
As moms and women, we truly do have superpowers. We bring life into the world, and we keep everything and everyone organized, safe, fed, and loved. However, bringing life into the world does not mean we should stop bringing ourselves alive. We can use our superpowers for the ultimate good, and put the wonder back into the woman.