In December 2012, Penelope Trunk – an American businesswoman, author, blogger, and famed business advice columnist – wrote an inspirational blog post entitled 15 Things Overachievers Do. Myself, having transitioned from a corporate whiz kid to an entrepreneur in the past five years, was particularly intrigued – wishing to compare my own work ethic and qualities to those of a perceived “overachiever”.
Making lists. Taking drugs. Working for free. Selling out. Within moments of reading through the list, I realized that while Penelope was describing the theoretical habits of overachievers, she was also painting a picture of almost every new mom. Certainly, she hit a nerve with me personally; I identified with the need to overachieve, to strive for the best, to be perfect.
But WHY are new moms, by nature, overachievers? Are we programmed to simply want the best for our baby – or, has social pressure amplified our standards of successful parenting? Is second guessing and a guilty conscience part and parcel with raising a child, or do we bring it on ourselves as a side effect of setting the bar too high?
I’ve decided that 15 Things Overachievers Do can effectively be re-written for new moms.
1. “They use lists. High achievers organize their thinking with lists, they organize their time with lists, and when they want to spur their creativity, the best tool they have is to force themselves out of the comfort of their list.”
Have you ever witnessed a new mom count pees, poops and how long baby sleeps? Yeah, we write lists too. We also make a list of every thing we should be doing when we should be sleeping.
2. “They use pharmaceuticals. Adderall is de rigueur for the high-powered jobs in high-powered cities to the point that there is a shortage of available Adderall.”
Big deal. I popped Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle 3 times per day for six months in an effort to keep an ample milk supply. I also had a prescription for domperidone on file in case the herbal remedies didn’t do the trick (thankfully, they did).
3. “They let doors shut all the time. Overachievers know their mom was lying when she said they could be anything. So it’s not that big a deal when they see doors shut.”
A night life. A long, hot shower. A private moment on the toilet. A good night’s sleep. An interrupted meal. These are all the doors I have shut. Without my expressed written consent, mind you.
4. “They talk about their weaknesses. Not in a stupid way, like, “I wish I could not be so perfect.” But in a real way, because every strength comes with weaknesses and we’re not good at everything.”
I couldn’t breastfeed my first. I had no idea how to swaddle a newborn. It took me two months to learn how to burp my baby effectively. Oh, I had weaknesses, and I talked about them. And blogged about them.
5. “They work for free. Internships that are (illegally) unpaid, startups that are not (yet) funded, speeches and blog posts that help you do the (unavoidable) work of building your brand.”
If there is one mother in the history of this world who has ever been compensated for raising her children, I need to know who she is so I can shake her hand. Because at last check, every mom works for free.
Now I could go on, but I’m sure you see my point. There is a time in every mom’s life when she feels pressure to overachieve. And to those new moms, I say this: wait about 18 months, or until your next kid comes along. And then, miraculously, a new feeling washes over you…. it’s called, “Been there, done that.”
I am part of the Fisher-Price Play Ambassador program and I receive perks as part of my affiliation.
The opinions on this blog are my own.