I am a classic overachiever and have been my whole life.
When I was little, I worked really hard to get excellent grades and always did extra credit work (even when none was assigned).
Nothing much changed in college. I wasn't just a sorority girl; I was a sorority girl on steroids (not literally—don't worry, Mom!). I was always an officer, sat on Panhellenic Council, and was inducted into the Greek Honor society. I took more classes than required, staked out a place on the Provost's Honors List, and graduated cum laude.
I was the first of my friends to get married, the first to have children, the first to buy a house. (It was a fixer-upper, so I became an overachiever at home remodeling as well). As the kids grew, so did the number of activities they had. I was a driver, a mediator, an orchestrator of quick backseat uniform changes, a classroom representative, a Daisy leader, and more. I was the ultimate Super Mom.
But over time, I realized that I couldn't always be perfect. So I decided to remove my Super Mom cape for a while. And guess what? The world didn't stop turning, quite the opposite actually. There were a lot of positive effects of my giving up the "super" role, not the least of which being that I became happier!
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So to all of my "super" sisters out there (you know who you are!), I hope this helps you take a break from your cape. Don't worry, you don't have to give it up altogether! Just practice removing it once in a while, and you'll still reap the benefits. Here are three positives that I noticed once I was able to let loose and become a little bit more carefree:
1. More "me" time. I found that when I stopped doing everything for everybody I had more time to spend by myself. This doesn't make me selfish. It makes me sane. Just ask my husband, my kids, my friends, and anyone else unlucky enough to be on the receiving end of my frequent resentment rants. Now I only take on the projects I really want to, and I make sure to have plenty of time to recharge my own battery. Give it a try if you want to have more energy and some fun new experiences to talk about at the dinner table or over drinks with friends.
2. A stronger team. I used to swoop in and "save" my kids from trouble. But all I was doing was teaching them that if they left an assignment until the last minute or forgot their uniform on game day, there would be no consequences for them—while for me there were plenty! When I stopped pulling all-nighters to help with essays that should have been done weeks before and stopped fetching lost or forgotten items, they started becoming more responsible for themselves. That's something we can all be proud of!
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3. Share your power. I used to wear every possible hat at my house. I played cook, handy man, laundress, accountant, etc. The thing is though, when one partner does everything, the other partner tends to start watching absurd amounts of English Premier League Soccer. And at my house that caused more than a little bitterness. I had nobody to blame but myself because my husband was always willing to help out, I just wasn't taking him up on it. Post-cape I'm happily sharing the household chores...and the remote.