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Overcoming the “superparent” syndrome: Taking care of yourself

Margary Rogers with daughter Ava

By Margary Rogers

Being a parent can be one of the most exhilarating feelings that a person can have. It can also be one of the most exhausting if you suffer from supermom or superdad syndrome: Over-excelling, over-exerting, over-extending yourself to things and people who are not necessarily priorities. If you are a court reporting student and a parent, there is an extra demand on you and your work-life balance. It is important that we learn ways to manage ourselves, our families, our work, and our time.

Dr. John Demartini, an author and world-renowned specialist in human behavior, says “Women who juggle careers and family or single-handedly manage a handful of kids inevitably become vulnerable to the supermom syndrome.” The supermom syndrome “arises when you begin to feel exhaustion and immense guilt at the same time for all the things you have got to do but can’t get done.” This feeling is so overwhelming.

Dr. Demartini also says supermoms, as well as superdads, just may find themselves experiencing the ABCDEF’s of depression: Anger and aggression, blame and betrayal, criticism and conflict, depression and feeling down, exhaustion and exit strategies, frustration and fatigue.

Parents have the power to say yes or no to what they or what someone else tries to add to their schedules. We do not have to be a superparent with superpowers, but we must have the power to say NO. We must have the power to set boundaries. We must have the power to ask for support and help and to delegate some of our responsibilities to our spouses, our children, and others. We must have the power to say yes to self-care and say no to the superparent syndrome. We must take breaks and mental health days. If you are an official reporter, you may be able to take some sick or annual leave. If you are a freelancer, you may have to turn down some work. We must rest!

As a parent, and especially as a court reporter or student parent, let’s keep these seven things in mind.

1. Self-care. Take care of yourself. Eat well, sleep well. Rest your mind. Love yourself. Travel, work out, go to your favorite restaurant by yourself and enjoy your favorite meals, put on clothes you like, and say nice things about yourself. You deserve great health, great peace, and love.

2. Support. Seek help from your spouse, siblings, children, and other resources or people to help you with parenthood. As the old African proverb says, “It takes a village” to raise children. Delegate some of the household responsibilities. Remember, we must surrender and let others help us, even if they do not do it the way we would do it.

3. Set boundaries. Set certain days and times when you are intentionally unavailable. For example, put your cell phone on “Do Not Disturb” at times that you have designated to practice, spend time with your children, and/or rest. Do your best not to take on more than you can handle.

4. Share your struggles. Network with other court reporters and court reporting students who also have children. Engage with some court reporting-related Facebook groups. Exchange parenting strategies that have helped you and continue to help you as a student-reporter parent with managing your work-life balance.

Do not be afraid to be transparent with your struggles. Many students may have the same struggles or situations and need the same advice. I suggest being open and honest about your needs as a court reporter or student. We are all here for each other, and we are a tight-knit community.

5. Resist the supermom/dad syndrome. Don’t allow the supermom/dad syndrome to take over your life. Sit still and be grateful for the many accomplishments that you have already made as a mom or dad and in your career. Know that you are enough and that you are doing enough. Once you become a parent, you naturally acquire certain occupations. You are a provider for your child/children, a disciplinarian, a chef, a leader, a caretaker, and a protector. You are enough, and you do enough. Be proud of what you have already accomplished.

Don’t be fooled by social media and photos that you see of other parents doing 500 things with their children. Do you! Be the best parent you can be to your children without competing and comparing yourself to other parents. Please do not compete and compare yourself and your progress with people, court reporters, or other students who do not have children.

6. Save your life. You deserve to live. Put you on your schedule!

7.  Don’t be afraid or feel guilty when you need to take a break for your mental and physical health. We are physical beings; we are not robots.  

Margary Rogers, RPR, CRI, is an official and CART captioner in Washington, D.C. She also serves as Chair of NCRA’s Membership Committee. Rogers can be reached