So, apparently, I am not Super Woman with a capital "S" and a capital "W". I, in fact, cannot do it all. Like every other mere mortal, I have my limits. Shocking, I know. As straightforward as that seems, it's something I've really struggled with this past year and have only begun to embrace.
It's ironic because I am always telling new nurses on our floor that we have our limits. It's a 24/7 job to provide care for our patients, and we're only here for 12 hours. Many of our patients come in with multiple illnesses and it's impossible to "fix" them in a 12 hour shift. So understanding our limits, and understanding what we can do in the time we have with them within our scope of practice helps us to focus our energies. Ultimately, that leads to doing the best job we possibly can instead of spinning our wheels trying to do more than is possible.
Funny how our own advice is the hardest to follow sometimes. I've been stretching myself thin this past year trying to do everything and be everything. I'd blame it on my personality which leans toward the Type A side of the spectrum. Or maybe it's my obsessive need for control that creeps up in the face of stress and chaos. Or it could be my perfectionist tendencies, or maybe even my pride that gets in the way... all easy targets to pin the blame on, and there's probably a grain of truth in all of those statements.
But as I search my heart, I've discovered that's not really why I have a hard time accepting my limitations as a single mom. I am all of those things and I can be fiercely independent. But I think what really drives me is this desire to make things whole for my children.
I am sad that their family has been torn in two; that they have to rely on their innate resilience to cope with having their mom and dad living two separate lives and that part of their story will be navigating and creating their own place in those two worlds. That tears at my heart. And sometimes, while I'm grateful, it's hard to see them cope so well and just roll with the punches. Their shoulders seem so little to bear such a burden. And other times, it's painful to see them struggle, and to see their hurt and confusion spill out.
So this desire and mad effort to make things as whole as possible. To be everything for them - mom, dad, provider, comforter, playmate... But the reality is I'm only human. Just one person. I can't do it all. How hard to accept; how hard to not be able to give everything to my children.
As a parent, that instinct to protect my children from hurt and fix everything for them is so strong. But I can't - not the way I would like to. Life is full of ups and downs and disappointments amidst the joys. I guess, this is just a part of their reality and the best gift I can give them is to know my limits, know that I can't fix this and make it totally right. Know that as much as I want to, I can't be everything to them. I just end up doing too much and not doing any of it well; and in the end, running myself into the ground.
So, a renewed effort to cut myself some slack and take care of myself and focus my energy on what really matters, being a mom to my children. To do that which I am able to do, and to do it well; to let go of the regrets of not being able to give my children a traditional "whole" family. To let go of the unattainable expectation that I can somehow do it all.
And with that I surrender my red cape and title of Super Woman, I don't really want that job anymore. I gotta tell ya' - it's too hard without Super Powers. Instead of trying to be Super Woman, I think I'm going to accept my limits and just be a super mom to my kids; to love them with all my heart and soul, and make the little moments count. That I can do, and I can do that well.