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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Super Woman Complex

I've mentioned before that it took me awhile to adjust to life with two. Being adjusted is a different thing from thriving though...I'm still in the process of feeling confident when leaving the safety of our home with both kids ;) All children are different and I'd always heard that the second baby is often easier than the first because they have to be more adaptable. Well, not Britt. She likes to make sure we don't forget about her ;) She is NOT a fan of her car seat what-so-ever and that makes outings a little tricky.

Before Britt was born I talked to Zach, Mrs Charlotte and Mom about helping take Kye to and from school for me since his drop off and pick up times clashed with her schedule. Now that she's on the four hour schedule I'm able to drop him off and pick him up...but it's not a joy! Poor Britt screams majority of the time on the way there, on the way home, then again on the way there and on the way home. If she isn't screaming, she's sleeping and that's not good either! In my old car I could reach back and make Kye stay awake at this age...with my new car I can't reach her. I'm a shorty and have to be super close to the wheel to be able to touch the pedals so my arms aren't long enough to reach the car seat. If she falls asleep there is nothing I can do about it and, as those of you with a baby on a schedule know, a baby who falls asleep prior to nap does NOT sleep well for their nap!!!

The past two weeks Kye has had school Mon, Wed and Fri and then swim on Tues and Thur. I am HARDCORE about survival swim (he took it last summer, you can read about it here). To help keep Kye's skills up and to continue to build those skills we did a few weeks of swim in the winter and are doing a two week refresher this month. He's a ROCK STAR. Seriously, he amazes me! Margie is so sweet and did me a big favor by working with my schedule. We go to swim at 11, when Britt eats. So I pump a bottle and take it with us. She eats while he swims then we have some free time to run errands before heading home for naps at 1. It has worked out great! Last week we went to Target one of the days and the mall the other. I packed Kye's lunch and he just ate it in the stroller. Britt is a little trickier since she doesn't like the car seat...I have to get her out often to keep her happy. It can be interesting!

Today I didn't have any errands to run after swim. I am feeling pretty confident about my mama-of-two skills and thought we all deserved something fun. I've been CRAVING some Zaxby's and there is a new one by the mall so I figured why not try it? How hard can it be to eat out on my own with two kids? I was pretty excited to see how it would all go down.

I always get Kye out of the car first and have him stand still and wait for me while I get Britt. I'm SO thankful I taught him from an early age to STAND STILL when told. He never, ever moves and this makes life a lot easier. I brought her in with her car seat thinking I may need to set her down some. I know a lot of parents with two or more kids dread when the baby can sit and when they become mobile...but I'm pretty pumped for her to be able to sit up on her own. It'll make outings like these easier on me!

Once inside, Britt was obviously ready to be out of the car seat so I set it down on a table and held her while I got in line to order. I left my purse on the table with the car seat and just grabbed my wallet. I kept an eye on it but something I realized lately is that I simply HAVE to trust people now not to steal  my stuff haha. There is no way I could manage holding all of that while ordering. We ordered and I got my drink then got a high chair and tried to figure the dang thing out. This is the point (like 5 min into our adventure!) when people started offering help.

Don't get me wrong, I greatly appreciate the sweet people who stepped up to help me out. The lady who tried to figure out the high chair with me. The man who buckled the strap once we figured it out. The multiple ladies who let me cut in front of them in line to get more ice, ask for a kids straw, and trade out the rice krispie treats for cookies. The lady who pointed out when Britt had spit up all over me and helped pick up the dropped burp rag. The man who picked up my keys when I dropped them. The girl who jumped up when our order was called to go pick up our food for us. The man who kept a watchful eye on Kye when I had to go up to the counter (I also NEVER took my eyes off of him...). The Zaxby's employee who ran to hold open both doors for us on our way out. Everyone was so, so sweet and thoughtful. However, it also bugged the crap out of me.

I have NEVER had people offer so much help to me before. It was a blessing, but at the same time did I appear like I needed it?!?! I was thinking on this on the way home and I realized I have a Super Woman Complex. I have this need to be super woman. To do it all. Not just "get it done" but get it done WELL. Handle everything gracefully. Look good while doing it. I never, ever want to appear like one of those frazzled mothers who appears to have zero control. I'm in control. I've got it handled. I don't need your help! I honestly DID feel like I was doing a good job at handling everything. Kye had fun. I enjoyed my meal. Brittlynn laughed and babbled and smiled a ton. We got out of there by 12:30 with plenty of time to get home before naps. 

Brittlynn, of course, fell asleep on the way home. I needed gas anyway so I let Kye eat his cookie in the car while I filled up and as an extra special treat I also went through the car wash (after our trip to the beach this weekend my car needed it). During that time I had like 5 minutes of reflection time.

Sleeping girl, yes it took her 30 min to fall asleep for her nap once we were home!
 Enjoying his cookie!
 Enjoying my ice ;)
I was thinking about the success and the failure of my little outing. How I felt like it was a success but I also felt like a failure because SO many people "had" to help me. How much it bothered me to appear needy and how embarrassed I felt over it. I really, truly had WANTED to do it alone. Prove to myself that it could be done. But then I realized something, I like to help others. It feels good to hold a door open for someone. Pick up something they have dropped. Help make their lives a little easier. All of those (MANY!) people who helped me got to have those good feelings we all get when doing something for someone else. I need to get over myself and my perfectionist ways and LET others help. A smile and a thank you is all that is needed in response. Did I appear frazzled? Less than perfect? Maybe! But maybe I just have two adorable children who people wanted an excuse to talk to. Maybe I didn't appear to need help, but they just wanted to help. Maybe I helped make their day like they did mine. I enjoyed all the smiles from everyone. People stopping to talk to the kids. Asking Kye about his age and his status of a Big Brother. Commenting on how sweet Britt's smile is. It's nice to meet new people, even if they are only in our lives for a few short minutes!

In the future I'm going to try to get passed this Super Woman Complex I have. While I'll never stop being my independent self who enjoys doing things just to prove to myself that they are possible, I'm going to (try to!) be OK when people help me in my journey to those successes. I'm going to look at that help as a compliment and a blessing instead of feeling embarrassed or like people are judging me. The feelings of embarrassment are due to my own insecurities and I just need to get over that. I am a good mom, a great mom actually, and I have nothing to be insecure or embarrassed about!

The Lord put those do-gooders in my path today to help make my life easier, and to help me see that I have some improving to do in the way I view myself. There's no such thing as Super Woman. I don't live on some island where I have to do things alone and on my own. I'm thankful for all of those who do step up and offer help in times of need!!! While this may have been the first time...it surely isn't the last ;)

I love how when we got home she was zonked out but holding strong to her toy...guaranteed she was dreaming about how to get it in her mouth haha
Have you ever had a hard time accepting help from others? I have a feeling I'm not alone in this struggle! As women in our society today I think we have a LOT of pressure to be "perfect." Not just as mothers but as professionals, wives, etc. It's a difficult balance and it's hard to feel "good enough." I read this awesome article last week and many of you have probably already read it but it is SO true. I don't need to be perfect by what society views as perfection, because to my children I already am perfect just by being their mama and by showing them all the love I have for them! I'm going to work hard to focus more on THAT!!!

10 comments:

  1. We definitely have this in common.
    Anytime I go anywhere, people always want to help me. I too get so annoyed. I realize it often appears to others that I am a total frazzled mess attempting to grocery shop with 4 children. (thats why I go alone now!) Actually it is easier doing things with all 4 of them bc Abigail and Aaliyah are well behaved and huge helpers! Its when I have to go anywhere with Maggie and Madison alone that I tend to fall apart a little. Or at least that is what it must seem like by the amount of helpful people. Little do they know I really do have an S on my chest and am totally in control 90% of the time :) I always get mad at myself for being annoyed at help too. I know I should just accept it and be thankful there are still such good people in the world. Everytime the man at the grocery store offers to help me to my car I am quick to say, "NO I got it!" It's probably one of those 'Murphy's Laws" When you need help no one is ever around to help, but when you don't need help everyone is there wanting to help!!
    lol I guess we should just get used to it and appreciate it huh?

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  2. This was my biggest struggle as a new mom. Now I'm like someone take the kid! :)

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  3. Emily, 
    I'm sharing this advice as a mom of three who went through surgeries and chemo after baby 3 arrived...be thankful for the help.  Don't think less of your mothering because of it.  You were surrounded by caring people today that wanted to help not because they thought you needed it but because it was nice to do.  You won't always have the helpful people around you.  The more children you have means that sometimes you're going to be around people who comment on your family size, are they really all yours, etc.  Not because you're frazzled or a bad mom, but because so many people have opinions.  Trust me, I know that it's hard to not be Super Woman all the time, but God is reminding us that we can not do everything ourselves.  Plus, it was really nice for Kye to get to witness other people's kindness and how his momma was appreciative of it.  I'm a great gift giver but I'm terrible at receiving gifts...and recently I heard that it's just as important to receive gifts as it is to give gifts.  You're doing a great job and the only person that needs to know that is YOU.  Oh trust me I have serious self esteem issues especially regarding my parenting, so it's good for me to encourage others so that I can tell myself to be a bit nicer to myself!

    Yay for the special outing today.  And trust me, be so thankful that you have family helping get Kye to and from school.  I'm all about schedules but without family near by it was hard to keep to very set ones as the kids got older. 

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  4. I'm totally in the same shoes. When i first started taking both kids out I felt like a mess but i didnt expect anything any different. And it surprised me to see how many people wanted to help me! And even now, while i feel i have it all under control, i'm pretty sure i still look like i need help. And i appreciate the help :-) Cause lord knows, i'm pretty sure i need it! ha!

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  5. There is hope about Britt and the carseat... mine screamed every time we were in the car until he was about 8 months old. Now he is fine... I hear it's a sign of a child full of energy and spunk and that they don't like being strapped down?!? Who knows... I wanted to say that my insecurities with being out in public come from worrying that they are judging my parenting. I gave up the Super Woman Complex after baby # 1! Now I know I need help! LOL

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  6. I love this, and can completely relate!  I have this immediate instinctive reaction to say, "Oh, no thanks, I've got it" the moment anyone even looks like they might think about helping me.  What I have been telling the mamas I work with (and am trying hard to apply to my own life) is, like you said, it is a pleasure and a blessing when you can provide help to someone else.  So why on earth would we want to deprive others of that pleasure and blessing?!? 

    I am leaving in the morning to fly over to Paris with my two girls (3 years and 18 months) alone to meet up with my husband who went earlier in the week for work.  This will be our second trip abroad where Daddy wasn't flying with us (due to him coming from another country all together because of work commitments.) If there is one thing I have learned from navigating the airport, security line, taxis, etc with two kids and all our stuff on my own it is this: when someone offers help, find something for them to do!  :)  

    I needed this post today to remind me.  Thanks!

    P.S. Congrats on a successful outing!

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  7. You were speaking right to my heart today! This is the EXACT reason that I didn't take Brianna out alone until she was like 5 months old. I thought I had to look perfect all the time . . . like super-mom . . . and that was my own insecurity. 

    By allowing people to help you, you are allowing them to fulfill their Christian duty. Think about it that way, and it may be easier to accept the help. 

    Thank you for blogging so honestly!

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  8. I can COMPLETELY relate, especially at this point in time (with a 2year old and an 11day old!). I'm turning away all sorts of help just to prove to myself that I can handle things on my own. You've made me remember that really I'm probably depriving people of feeling helpful and good, especially my mon who is staying with us for a month to help out. Today I'll be sure to kick back and relax when she offers to help, and hopefully everyone will benefit :). Great post--very inspiring and honest as always.

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  9. Great post Emily!! I'm glad you can admit it! LOL!!! But yes those people, like myself, just "wanted" to help. Not that you needed it. But they see things differently than you. We all see ourselves differently than others. I am sure you looked fine! Not frazzled at all. They were just kind hearted souls that truly just wanted to help!  But I can see where it might get annoying! Like every single step you take and every single thing you did someone was right there following  you! LOL! I have faith in you! You'll be great! 

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  10. Mmmmm  I am slacking because I do not have this complex.  I don't care if people think I am super mom because I am NOT and I don't pretend to be and I never will.  I do the best I can and judgemental, grumpy people will always find the bad.  When I get together with my girlfriends and someone runs out of diapers, it's like, so what? It happens! Thank goodness these people have kids and can relate!

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Reading your comments makes my day!



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