One of the things that always bothered me was when people — mostly other moms — said I was a super mom. I felt like it set me apart and made people less likely to want to be my friend. Since the concussion, I have done a lot of what feels like slacking. It’s completely changed how I feel about myself and swung the pendulum the other direction.
Take religion: I am a catechist for my older daughter. I am one of three teachers since we have a huge class. I realized quickly that teaching — heck, even sitting in — the classes makes me dizzy. So much head movement. So much noise and vestibular input. I still go, though, but I dread every class. I even find myself silently cheering when my kids are too sick for me to attend. That sounds terrible, I know.
Last year — the first year I worked with these women — we switched houses every two months so everyone took a turn hosting. I was supposed to host November and December but I realized there was no way I could host. A one hour class is really two when you factor in cleaning up before and after, setting up and waiting for the parents to come. I reached out to the other teachers and said maybe I could host my months at the library. That way I could cut out the extra hour of work. They were less-than-pleased. I explained my problem and asked if the other teacher would swap months with me. (The vestibular therapist says I will feel much more like myself by January.) They went along with it, but in my head I felt like a slacker.
This same feeling has haunted me over the past months when, for example, I’ve asked another mom to go to a Girl Scout event in my place or when I told the PTA president that I couldn’t put out the school’s magazine-style newsletter in addition to the one-page newsletter I am already doing. Yes, I signed up for it back in June, but it’s not possible now. If I am going to be sitting in front of a computer it’s got to be for work. (And FWIW: In that case I was stunned that no one even said they felt sorry I was still dizzy or that of course my health was more important. They didn’t even reply to my email!)
So yeah, I am not super mom anymore. It really sucks. And yet it doesn’t.
I have spoken to a therapist, doctors and a priest who have all told me something pretty profound: This concussion, this dizziness should be a wake-up call. I was doing too much, and I didn’t love everything that I was doing.
I volunteered so much at school because I was desperate to be class mom for one of my kids. I figured doing Reflections, school store, both newsletters, and all the other stuff I stepped up for would make me worthy and get me that slot. But you know what? It wasn’t serving me or my family to do so much, especially since very little of it was actually appreciated.
As for some of the other stuff — like volunteering at our beach club — I was doing that to make friends or keep the ones I had. I realized pretty quickly who my real friends are once I hit month two of this nonsense. My beach club work didn’t mean squat. Same goes for being an online coordinator for Girl Scouts and probably 75 percent of the 0ther junk I did. Most of it didn’t mean anything or have any real benefit except to people who are not my kids or my husband.
The concussion also taught me about what I love. I love being a Girl Scout leader. I like teaching religion, but I hate doing it in my home. My family is too busy. Unfortunately, I made that commitment to my older daughter’s class so I will have to honor it for another two and a half years, but if I choose to be a teacher for my younger daughter I will only do it at the church. They have classrooms there that I can teach in and, if one of my kids are sick, they bring in a substitute. I don’t have to scramble or feel bad for dropping extra work on anyone.
So no, I am no longer super mom. I really don’t think I ever was. But since I am trying to be more positive I have to thank the concussion for teaching me yet again what matters. In the long run, very little matters as much as I thought it did.