Monday, March 1, 2010

Superwoman Syndrome

Does this sound familiar to anyone? Do you ever feel the need to do and be everything for everyone even at the expense of yourself? A couple of weeks ago, there were two comments made in the same day that kinda made me pause. The first was one I've heard many times, " I don't know how you do it all---the kids, the farm. " I gave my usual response. " Does that seem like a lot?" To me it is simply what I do. Then a couple hours later someone else said, " Jessika is a strong woman." I thought, " Really?" I sure don't feel that way. I feel a bit like I'm always secretly on the verge of " cracking up " or failing, or falling apart, or letting everyone else down.
I really have this sense that if I let my guard down for one minute, it's gonna all spiral out of control and our lives are gonna fall apart.
Just so you know, I'm not talking about daily " good " stress either. I wish all I had to worry about was getting the kids to basketball practice, dinner on the table, the cows milked, the house cleaned.
I'm talking about really " heavy " things like serious financial strain, marital " issues " that make me feel like I'm the one with the responsibility for which way our family continues on, and one child with an incurable disease, and another with a rare speech disability that requires intense therapy. I'm also self-employed and a farmer. My house is also a mess and I haven't been doing very good getting nutritious meals on the table.
I am tired. Tired in a way that a few extra hours of sleep at night or a nap here or there aren't going to help. Tired in a way that makes it hard to get up in the morning but yet, nearly impossible to unwind at night and sleep. I feel like my body just won't move fast enough anymore, and sometimes I can barely think.
My poor cows. It is usually out in the barn that I finally let down my guard and have a good cry. I mean the really ugly ones that come from deep down inside your soul. They are loud and painful, and I wouldn't want anyone but the cows to have to witness emotion like that. The word " raw " is what comes to mind. I'm not writing this to scare off my customers, or get sympathy or attention. I've figured out that I have to spill out some of this " stuff " that builds inside me, every once and again, or it'll be toxic.
I really do feel better already. I just thought maybe someone could relate. Maybe someone has come through times like this and has some sage advice. For now I just has to BELIEVE and have FAITH that it really is gonna be okay someday. That is what I cling to.


  1. My experiences are not the same as yours, but being 59 I have lived through some tough times.

    You have the answer already..."I just has to BELIEVE and have FAITH that it really is gonna be okay"...

    Here is one of God's promises that I have hung on to many times;

    1 Cor 10:13

    13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

    Many read the first part of this verse and neglect the rest. He wants you to win Jess. I'm confident that those of us who read your blog regularly feel the same way, we too, want you to win.

  2. Right there with you, sister. Love you.


  3. I'm glad you are able to 'let it out' here on the blog, and that it helps to shout out your feelings into cyberspace. We will listen! And offer some not-so-sage advice, simply because we really want to help you in any way we can. Like you, my house is ALWAYS messy and I try to accept it for the time being (while the kids are small). Don't feel guilty. Twenty years down the road you won't remember the messy house or the meals, you'll remember the happiness you tried to give to your family. And that's what your kids will remember, too.

    Wish we lived closer!

  4. These are such hard times to be a farmer here. The life is stressful enough in good times and the past year has been far from good.
    Blogging has helped me beyond measure in coping with some of the same things you mention. The dialog, the chance to express the pain is so beneficial...take care....

  5. Hi, Jess -- Yeah, I know all about "you're the strong one". It sure does make you feel like showing the person that says it just how strong your fist is! And you do get sick, sick, sick of always being the one that has to hold everything together. And you could just barf when you hear all the well meaning but totally don't know where you're at friends and relatives that either spout the Bible at you or mew wimpy encouragements, but you never see them offer to come over and watch the kids so you and your husband can have a couple of hours or a weekend to go out and be together the way "normal" couples can. The hard fact is that if you and your husband can't share the family responsibilities, then one of you has to dig deep and find the emotional fortitude to become the family "rock". And if that doesn't happen, then you'll all blow away on the the wind. From my perspective after seeing all the hard work you do, it would be a damn shame to give in and give up on all that you have accomplished so far. Get mad. Get stubborn. Narrow your focus to the task at hand: what needs to be done do NOW. Don't think about anything except what needs to be done at that moment in time. It's certainly an acquired skill, but you have to learn to push your emotions to the background and deal with them at an appropriate time -- like when you're milking the cows as you mentioned. That's good. It's OK to be royally pissed off!

  6. "I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together"- Marilyn Monroe

  7. Let it out Jess. It is good to get it out and not let the negativity, pain or overwhelming-ness of it sap all your strength and fortitude. Some days it is just enough to get through that day. Some days totally suck, some days are a gift like a breath of fresh air, cool down your neck when life has been to hot and heavy. You do have strengths, because you keep on keeping on; because you can talk about it and because you cry--you are a loving, caring, sharing woman who I think is strong because you do what you do without fanfare or glam--you are real, open, honest and how much you care for your animals and family comes shining through--that is what defines strength to me. Sending you hugs, if you ever need an ear or a should just say so; I'll let you know when I need one back.

  8. You guys are the best! I don't even know what to say... thank you. I am so glad to know you all.

  9. Good luck to you and hope you find some peace. My problems don't include any health problems with my kids so I couldn't even imagine how I would handle that and hopefully the stresses that come with farming especially financial will ease sometime. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family and don't worry my calves have heard some good cries from me. Blessings to you!

  10. You do have a lot going on! It's not surprising that you would sometimes fall apart---actually, it's probably important that you do. Sending good thoughts from NC!

  11. Dear Sister - I am with you in so many ways and only wish we were there together to cry in the barn... today I have cried and yelled and screamed as it is the first day to give Eliza her dreadful Methotrexate and after weeks of arguing with pharmacies and doctors for the right script and to hear "sorry we will not carry this" or "sorry your insurance will not pay for this" and then to watch her limp and complain and cry of pain ..... I just feel like my superwoman cape has fallen off... but we are mothers for a reason and that is because we can get through this and we will care for our families no matter what it takes. Deep breathes, quiet time, and Faith - seems to be all the advice I can give.
    I love you and have all the faith in the world that you and your children will survive all of this and WILL be better people in the end for enduring all the challenges you face.
    I love you.

  12. Hi Jessika - I just found your blog through "queenplinker". I can completely relate to what you're talking about. I hold down a full time job and help my husband run our studio pottery business.

    We've been burning the candle at both ends for 8 years to make it work; then my husband went in for a "routine" surgery and everything went wrong. He ended up in a coma, almost died, and spent 2 months in the hospital. He's still doing physical therapy almost every day. He can no longer make pots. The studio has been closed for 7 months, and we're on the verge of bankruptcy.

    Before his hospitalization, we were having our best year ever and thought that we would finally be able to pay down some of our debt. But basically, we gambled and lost. We certainly could never have predicted what happened.

    Thank heavens I still have my day job, which provides us with medical coverage. During the worst of it, I could say to myself, "Well, at least my hubby didn't die." And so far we haven't lost the house. I just keep trying to find the bright side. Every day I list 3 things (or more) that I'm grateful for, and 3 things I did well that day. It helps me keep my perspective.

    I don't know if this helps at all, but you are not alone. And we can get through whatever is handed to us, if we remember to breathe.

    I wish you the very best of luck with your challenges-

  13. I'm sorry to hear about your misfortune Nancy. It certainly rings a bell with me, and is very helpful to be reminded to keep it all in perspective. I am so grateful for all that we have. I remind myself all the time, that all that really matters is that we have each other.
    I really am a very positive person, I just have my wavering moments, get it out of my system,and continue on. You'll see most of my posts are rather humorous!I laugh everyday.
    I also have decided to share SOME of my darker moments. It isn't all peaches.I've never been one to hide my feelings. In fact I don't even think I can. It's written all over my face. Thanks so much for checking out the blog!

  14. Our best friends always have four feet. Simone Weil? I may've got the attribution wrong but it's the truth. Without the animals to weep on, I wouldn't make it through the day either.