I can recall one of the scariest and most confusing moments of my life… my newborn was napping, my 5 year old was watching T.V. and my husband was out of town at a flag football tournament. Despite two small children inside of the house, I found myself outside in the car; crying hysterically on the phone with my mom.
Picture From: Whattoexpect.com
I specifically remember running outside so the kids wouldn’t see me upset, and then running to the car to avoid the neighbors who were out enjoying their afternoon. I couldn’t figure out what was happening to me! I knew I had a pretty overwhelming day, but I was consumed with emotions and anxiety. I literally went into hiding! The only thing I knew at the moment was I could not let a single person know that “Superwoman” was actually a vulnerable, tired, and frustrated human being.
What got me to this point? The quest to be every ones perfect somebody, but nothing to myself was the best answer to the question I was faced with.
My first years of marriage were spent putting everyone’s needs AND wants before my own. I found I was restricting myself from personal pleasure (that didn’t involve my family) because that was not my perception of what a wife was supposed to do. I did not grow up in a marital home and had no direct model of what marriage was (or could be for me). I saw strong independent women who always made it happen! They didn’t ask for help; they didn’t complain and they never had breakdowns (or did they)?
Initially, I immediately blamed my husband for my sudden loss of control. I accused him of never offering help and not caring about my needs. After much prayer, I had to get real with myself.
-When I asked my husband for help and he didn’t complete the task fast enough (or to my liking) I did it myself
-When my mother-in-law offered to keep the girls, I would decline because her parenting style was a bit different from mine
-When my husband encouraged me to hang out with friends, I rejected the notion thinking that any free time we actually get should be spent with each other
-Despite already having a heavy workload, I would still raise my hand for the new project at work
The list of what led me to that car can go on for quite some time, but ultimately I was suffering from the “Superwoman Syndrome,” which I (personally) define as the need to be everything to everybody and most often times nothing to one’s self. Ultimately, when you reduce your self-worth to just being the title of others, you will lose your own identity and personal happiness. I am so much more than just Travis’ wife or Taylor and Morgan’s mom. Before I was given the honor to carry these titles, I was simply Rhea; a woman who I happen to like very much when she’s being herself and not what everyone else needs or wants her to be. Besides… my husband and kids like Rhea a lot better than that machine that walked around, with an ironed on “S” on her chest!
If you also suffer from the Superwoman Syndrome, the Wife Coach, Lakia Brandenburg offers great tips that I have implemented myself to cure me of this syndrome in her March blog post, “The Selfish Wife.” I am learning and accepting that it actually is okay to be selfish and make your needs and wants a top priority too!
Rhea A.G. Plummer is the Executive Director of GLAM Wives, “A community of wives committed to Growing Love and Marriage.” For more about Rhea and her journey to rediscovering her own identity and other stories related to love and marriage visit http://glamwives.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org