I have a confession. I’m not really Superwoman. As wonderful as she may be, I just don’t identify with her ideals. Not that I’ve always been this way. In fact, up until very recently, I’ve always referred to myself as such—the “do-it-all” mom who also happens to be a “boss,” and looking quite fly while she’s doing it. But, as I reassessed my life, I’ve drawn the conclusion that I’m not doing any of this by myself. This mom thing. This homeschool thing. This business thing. I have a partner in all of this. I call him “husband.”
I may have had you fooled. You may have seen my posts on Instagram or Facebook—the images displaying my dedication to manage my household and life. And you may have assumed that, like many women, I’ve taken on these roles all by myself. I haven’t. And that’s where me and “Superwoman” collide. Superwoman does it all, but Nike Anderson knows when to ask for help.
“But, what I’ve learned is this: I can absolutely do it all, but why would I want to?”
As a stay-at-home mom, I’ve had the opportunity to hang around tons of women from all walks of life. What I found is the most stressful moms of the bunch carried something in common—they were trying to DO it all and BE it all for their family. I feel where they’re coming from. I love to “do” for my family, too. And it’s tempting to want to “be” it all. But, what I’ve learned is this: I can absolutely do it all, but why would I want to? When I do it all, there’s no room left to take care of ME.
Taking care of myself stems beyond washing and grooming. For me, it means that I exercise my gifts and talents, pursue my passions, strengthen my relationships, and invest in MYSELF. In order to accomplish this, I can’t fall victim to “doing it all.” I need help. So I ask for it. And I don’t turn it down if
it’s offered to me.
The former “Do-it-all-Nike” (as I like to call myself) brings me back to the time when I traveled to Palm Springs. During my layover in Phoenix, I heard the solemn news that my connecting flight to California would be delayed until the next morning. This was especially bad news considering I had brought my one-year-old with me! Thankfully, the airline made accommodations and placed us in a nearby hotel for the night.
That night, I recall struggling to push the stroller and roll our suitcases to the elevator. A nice gentleman and two of his friends stopped to ask if I needed any help. I firmly said no and kept it moving. I made it to my room without any help, but as I sat on the hotel bed I started reflecting on what just occurred. Help was offered to me, yet I chose to struggle. Why on earth did I struggle my way to my hotel room if I didn’t have to?
I asked myself a similar question last year when I found myself overwhelmed with all that I had going on in my life. I was that mom who had no energy to do anything for herself because I was too busy trying to “do it all.” Suddenly, God had spoken to me in the midst of my frustration and said, “Nike, why on earth are you doing this alone when your husband keeps offering to help you?”
“I was choosing to struggle when I didn’t have to, and this needed to stop if I was going to take care of myself the way God intended.”
You see, if I was cleaning the house and my husband asked if I needed any help, I’d say no. If I was cooking and my husband asked if I needed any help, I’d say no. My husband offered to help me homeschool our boys and I had not taken him up on his offer. Maybe I felt pressured to be Superwoman. Maybe I was just too proud. Or, maybe it was both. I don’t know. What I do know for sure is that I was choosing to struggle when I didn’t have to, and this needed to stop if I was going to take care of myself the way God intended.
So what did I start doing? When my husband asked if I needed any help, I’d accept his offer. And when he didn’t offer, I didn’t hesitate to ask for his assistance. We became a homeschool team. My husband started helping our eldest son learn his sight words, reviewing his math and reading comprehension, and began giving him bike riding lessons—all of which offered me more free time. This year, my husband is becoming even more hands on as our boys take on music lessons and learn the ropes of our family business.
Some of these father/son moments you don’t get to see because I’m either working or simply respecting their time together—so moments like these are not captured on camera. I may highlight much of what I do on social media, but you don’t get to see my husband making breakfast, making sure the boys do their checklists, helping them take showers and brush their teeth, or taking them bike or scooter riding during the early mornings. All of these contributions grant me time and energy to invest in myself.
With that being said, it’s safe to say that Superwoman is officially retired. I want to encourage you today, if you feel pressured to do it all and have put yourself on the backburner, start investing in yourself now! Whatever that means to you. Whether it’s becoming more fit and healthy, starting that business, writing that book, having a lunch date with that friend—seek help from your spouse, family, friends, church, and/or community to carve out that “me time.” There’s no shame in asking for help. You don’t have to be Superwoman.
Here are a few tips to help you along your journey.
1. Write it down. Make a list of everything you’d like to do for yourself but keep putting off.
2. Prioritize. Organize your list in order of importance.
3. Be a team player. Talk to your spouse about your list and discuss ways he can help you execute your goals. (If you’re not married, perhaps a family member or close friend will do.)
4. Start small. Don’t expect to knock out your list in one go. If you only have 30 minutes to yourself every day, decide which item on your list you will dedicate that time to.
5. Open your mouth! Ask your spouse to put the kids to bed, clean the bathroom, etc, so that you can have some alone time.
6. Accept help. Let your in-laws take the kids for the weekend. And it’s okay to have takeout for dinner every now and then.
7. Be diligent. Don’t abuse your “me time” to do things that have nothing to do with your list.
8. Be consistent. After about a week of carved out mommy time, you may feel like you’re on top of the world and start to slack off. DON’T!
9. Celebrate small victories. No matter how small it is, acknowledge and celebrate each time you check something off your list.
10. Shake off criticism. Sometimes women can be quite vile toward one another. Shake off the criticism from other women who try to guilt trip you for taking time to yourself.
As always, I hope you found this post inspiring. Let me know in the comments the items on your list that you’d like to do but keep putting off.