Faster than a somnambulant preschooler trying to go potty in the hallway, who’s convinced she’s already on the toilet,… more powerful than an airborne first grader, who completely trusts you’ll catch him as he takes a flying leap at you from the top of the stairs,… able to leap an obstacle course of ankle-breaking toys scattered across the floor in the dark,… it’s SuperMom!
Why is it that I still expect myself to get everything done that I did as a stay home mom while I’m now working full-time? Case in point: I’ve been offered a full-time position at my job, where I’ve worked as a temp since September. Part of the process involves presenting all the required identification. This wouldn’t be a big deal, except that I’d lost my social security card.
At first, I didn’t let this phase me. It shouldn’t be too big of a hassle to get it replaced. I tried calling the department that handles replacements, but couldn’t get an answer. They mentioned that I could present my birth certificate, but that’s gone missing, too. So, in this age of information, I googled social security card replacement. What I found was troubling.
I work Monday through Friday, and the office is only open while I’m at work. Attendance is a huge deal at this job, so I couldn’t ask for time off to get it done, and if I did, I’d probably have to take multiple trips to Social Security, because I had no idea what they would accept that I have. To get a replacement birth certificate instead, I’d need to drive out of state during work hours, or order by mail and wait 3 to 4 weeks (when this needed to be presented as soon as possible). There are all manner of online services that are willing to get you an “authentic” birth certificate in 2 to 3 days, for an exorbitant fee (and I’m not really comfortable with the security issues of paying some entity all this money while giving them a copy of my driver’s license).
My brain is combusting, trying to figure out this story problem that doesn’t have any satisfactory solutions, and all the while, I’m uber-paranoid of mentioning any of this to my husband. Not because my husband is scare-worthy (although I was fairly certain there would be eye-rolling and a lecture on how this would have been easier if I’d taken care of this sooner), but because I was a stay home mom for three years. During that time, I ingrained it into my brain that since John worked all day I had to be able to get done whatever needed done in daylight hours. I haven’t had the option for someone else to be able to help with this sort of thing, so it didn’t even occur to me. All I could grasp was that this meant that I’d have to somehow do the impossible. I didn’t know if it was a small issue, if it meant I was going to have to just wait to get hired on, or if it meant that I would get fired for not being able to provide proof of my employability.
Several panic attacks later, I finally worked up the nerve to talk to my husband about it. Less than a minute into explaining, John tries to make a comment and I just about bite his head off. “You do not understand, I’ve thought this through and I have zero options,… so let me explain how every avenue I’ve looked into doesn’t work,…” Finally, in tears, I’ve gotten through all of it and feel like an absolute failure because I wasn’t somehow able to heroically solve the problem on my own. “Can I talk now?” my husband asks. “As I tried to tell you at the beginning, since I’m now a fulltime student, I’ve got several hours between my morning class and my evening class where I could go to the social security office for you and see what has to be done. It’s when I’d normally be studying, but I could rearrange some things, because this is important. I know you have zero flexibility since you’re working, now, and that’s okay. I don’t expect you to be able to do everything that you did as a stay home mom. I know it’s a huge mental shift, but you’ve got to learn how to be okay with letting others help you, now.”
So, I offer words of wisdom to all the other potential SuperMoms out there, trying desperately to do it all on their own:
“Learn to share the cape.”
Just some thoughts, …