Updated: Jun 22, 2022
© Copyright 2021 Artwork by Cordi Neckermann
My first three years of being a mum where pure joy. Surrounded by a supportive husband and family members it was wonderful news when baby number two came along and our family was complete. All was running smoothly until life happened. We moved to London because of my husbands job. My kids were still very young 1 and 4 years old and without any family and friends around to help out and my husband being more tied up in his job things changed. It was clear that I would stay home and take care of the kids. Help them adjust to their new surroundings, new school and new friends. Being a mum is the best job in the world. But that was exactly the problem. I was determined to be supermum. I was going to do everything myself and be the perfect mum with the happiest family. After all I had no job and all the time in the world, or so I thought.
Down the rabbit whole
Unfortunately, what started out to be a journey of perfect happiness went down the rabbit whole quite rapidly. I completely lost myself in keeping my family happy and healthy while I was along for the ride taking pictures. That’s what supermum’s do. I was constantly stressed about every little detail and always on the go. Never having the feeling of actually accomplishing something. When I was done on one end 12 other things were already waiting plus the laundry. There was never enough time because a supermum thinks of everything all the time. It all turned into a self pretty self-destructive spiral.
The first signs of burnout started showing up. Anxiety came swooping in and I just couldn’t feel happy anymore about anything. Every moment felt the same kind of dull. I didn’t want to admit it to myself but I was overwhelmed. My striving to be a supermum had killed off all the fire in me and I had become the puppet of my own expectation and perfection. I felt empty inside and all I wanted to do is just disappear. On top of it all I blamed myself for not being able to fix this, creating some seriously destructive self talk in my head and with that I was heading for some really deep dark waters. Nobody knew how I really felt. I didn’t allow anything to show on the outside. Supermums are strong and don’t fall apart. It would have rather died then admit to someone that I was overwhelmed.
Attention: If you can relate to this in any way shape of form. Please keep reading. I found my way out of this and you can too.
Strange, but It had to come form a stranger
On some level I knew I was falling apart but I would have rather died then let anyone on the outside see what a mess I was on the inside. Luckily there are people in this world who can see deeper and who can’t be fooled. I was lucky that someone like that crossed my path and became my mentor. I guess this is how it had to be for me. Only somebody completely outside my circle of friends and family was able to wake me up to the fact that I loved everyone else in my life more than I loved myself. Once I realised that the healing could begin.
First steps in the right direction
Having a coach or mental health professional help in the healing process is vital. Of course I thought I could do it alone, as usual, but asking for help and being open to receiving it is the foundation for the healing process. Allowing myself to ask for help was the first step in the right directions.
If you relate to my story and you only feel a little bit like I did. I want you to take action NOW. It is NOT a weakness to ask for help it is the first step to discovering your full human super powers. Being the the puppet of your own or others expectation is your kryptonite and keeps you weak and dependent. If you have a supermum voice inside you not allowing you to be vulnerable I officially give you permission to kick her butt out the door. It is time for you to write your own story of love and happiness and believe, me perfection does NOT play a leading role in this story. YOU are the main character. YOU are loved and worth more to your family than you could ever imaging but not as machine that just has to work. Your family needs the amazing human that you are. The best place to go is a coach or mental health professional. Anyone that feels right to you will do.
Supermum got fired and replaced by Cordi Power!
This was my second step into the right direction. Nobody in your family wins when you are not yourself but only an empty shell. Children don’t need to always be served and pampered, they need to be inspired and motivated. They need a healthy role model to look up to and learn from and that means the more you are yourself and admit to being human the better.
There were three things I had to deeply internalise throughout my healing process that helped me to develop the inner strength I needed to not get overwhelmed and burned out again. Instead of just putting on armour up and quietly hiding behind it taking the blows I had to make friends with the idea of being a hero. A super hero for myself. Protecting myself and my energy level. A smart super hero knows when it’s time to retreat and replenish and takes action.
I learned to say NO
It was hard and it took a while but I eventually learned how to say the big NO out loud. Sometimes you can say all the no you want and still end up having to do that very thing you don’t want to do. But I tell you it is still important to be very clear and vocal about your “no” and here is why. I hate doing dishes, cooking or emptying the dishwasher and I used to do it all with a smile on my face because that’s what mum’s do. Now I make sure my family knows I do it but I don’t enjoy it. Guess what happened? My kids and husband are happy to help because they love me and that’s what people who love each other do. Being vocal about not enjoying something is my like a new super power.
I rediscovered my passions
We all have a passion for something. Something we love to do and can get completely lost in. For me this was art and dancing. I had stopped doing both of these things feeling guilty spending too much time away from my family. With shaky knees I began taking art classes again. I got into belly dancing and Odissi and even trained to become a dance fitness instructor. Slowly rediscovering my passions and sharing them with my kids not only reconnected me with my Cordi power but inspired my family too. I had more energy because I was filled up with the joy of being myself.
It’s ok to love yourself
Destructive self talk is one of the worst parts of burnout. It can lead right into a downward spiral. Slowly making friends with the idea that it is ok to be kind and loving to myself was a major break through. Looking into my own eyes in the mirror and saying I love you was one of the most difficult and powerful exercises I had to do. The truth is that we have to love and respect ourselves first in order to be of service and help to others. Self love has nothing to do with putting yourself on a pedestal. It creates acceptance and compassion for who you really are and keeps the destructive and unhelpful self talk in check like a super power. And on top of all that self love and acceptance is the fuel for compassion. If we are happy and content with ourselves we have the capacity to truly walk in someone else's shoes.
If you feel like you need to pencil in some serious me-time and dancing or yoga is something you might enjoy. Then don’t wait another minute.
Be a super hero for yourself!