I have recently started the movement Tear the Cape. To do this means that you no longer want to pretend to be superwoman. You need to build a support system that works and need to tear the cape. Because we all need a support system to do it all. We hear so much about a support system. We know we need it, but might be sure how to build one that actually does what a support system is meant to do.
Earlier this week on Instagram someone made a comment that building a support system is not straightforward.
So what is a support system? In LagosMums language a support system is a system that relies on different people and things, that can, therefore, enable you to achieve what you need to at different times in your life.
Seasons of Motherhood
I believe everyone needs to understand seasons and sacrifice better. These are my two S’s to successful motherhood and parenthood. Just as we have seasons in weather – winter, spring, summer and autumn and in our Nigerian clime we have wet and dry. You need to prepare for the two seasons differently.
We know rainy season is around the corner and so it would be wise at this time to prepare by doing things like; clearing out your gutters, replace broken mosquito nets and stock up on sweaters and rainboots.
It is the same as seasons in the life of a mother, motherhood comes in seasons. The demands of being a good mother and intentional mother don’t ever end, but the style and demands needed for each season are different.
A new mum who is breastfeeding needs a very different type of support system than the mum with children about to enter secondary school. Both seasons very important, but they need different things.
Sacrifice is the next thing we need to master because sacrifice is part of life. I think we have believed the lie that we can do it all, at the same time, with the same level of priority for too long. The realistic narrative should be that life is about choices, sometimes something needs to give based on your priority. Something has to give, you cannot juggle too many balls at the same time.
I once chose to leave a very demanding job when I had very young children because I was not there for them the way I wanted. The next job I applied for came with more flexible hours because I asked for it. However, it came with fewer benefits. This is an example of sacrifice – but it was a sacrifice that I was willing to make. I chose to be very present for my young children in their early years.
Does this mean that I failed at work-life balance? Not to me. My definition of Balance is to be able to do the thing that is most important at the time that is the most important.
How to Create a Support System that Works
A support system is necessary for every area of your life and it includes other people, your spouse, domestic staff, work colleagues, technology, mentors, friends, teachers and everything in between.
A support system of people means that you have the right people you can call on, for different things. For example, rather than get overwhelmed with all you need to do; have a plan to tackle them all. [Read: How to Achieve Mum Life Balance]
Let’s imagine this scenario. I need to do school runs, write a proposal by a deadline, do some grocery shopping and make dinner. Rather than feeling overwhelmed, a support system that works would play a huge role. I asked my sister in law to pick my children from school, I was able to use the school run time to write and finish the proposal. For dinner, using a grocery service to deliver the groceries can give you more time to make dinner. For me, our home manager made dinner. See the difference between overwhelmed and support system in action?
Your support system is as useful as you make it
I see technology as part of my support system. I was able to start work on that proposal from my smartphone using Google Docs. There are so many ways you can do things while on the go. Sometimes while I am doing the school run, I am recording a voice note on what I want to do later or I am sending a WhatsApp message to the tailor to make an outfit for a school play. Do you see? you control more than you don’t.
When mothers get into this disempowered state it is difficult to get everything done and so you do don’t do anything. This is when the guilt creeps in; then you feel bad and the cycle continues. No Guilt! #TearTheCape
You are part of the support system and also need to be there for your circle or tribe!
Read: How to Control Your Day