I’m not sure about you guys, but the whole idea of being called a “SuperMom” really pisses me off.
Whoa, whoa, a bit of an aggressive lead in right? Not usually my style in life or in my writing, but I feel passionate about how, as women, we tend to place these ridiculous expectations on ourselves. And whats worse, we judge ourselves and OTHER women based on these outlandish ideals.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, here is another rant from a tired, bitter SAHM (Stay at Home Mom) but Imma stop you right there. This IS a rant in theory, but really I’m more looking to share my thoughts here so we can start to affect change. What I hope this “rant” does is get groups of girlfriends talking over a Pumpkin Spice Latte or a glass of Moscato about why they should be striving for balance as a mom (or partner, or woman, or person) instead of seeking “SuperMom” status.
Let me tell you a little about where this is coming from and that may shed more light on why I have such a strong opposition to being called “SuperMom”. First things first, I am a military spouse and spent much of the past year on my own with two children, working full time and parenting solo. No, not single parenting as my spouse did still have a role to play in my children lives as much as he could (and HUGE kudos to single parents around the world), but riding solo without my partner in crime for a year was, well challenging. That being said, I was not the first, nor the last to be placed in such a predicament, particularly in the world of military families.
Did I survive the year? Yes, of course I did! I got through the challenge and came out on the other side, likely a better version of myself because of the experience. But was is perfect? Hardly. Many of the days in the middle of said journey weren’t “super” at all. They were, “claw your way through the mountain of laundry, crying while you did the dishes, barely accomplish anything tangible at work, and missing skating lessons” kind of days. After days like that, I’d vow to wake up and try again, harder than the day before. I would put on my blazer and my mascara, down a vat of coffee and start the day fresh. The kids would wake up groggily and move at a sloths pace to get dressed. I’d nag and moan and occasionally I’d eat breakfast too. Many days started with a blur of toothpaste faces and tears but, on good days, we’d have time for a cuddle then off we’d go. Another day, another fresh start.
Occasionally, a friend or colleague would say, “I don’t know how you do it all?!” or “Hey SuperMomma”, and it was always meant with the best and kindest of intentions. They didn’t see behind the scenes. They’d see the cute Facebook posts of a trip to the beach or my new outfit that I bought in an online shopping binge when I needed a bit of retail therapy. When someone called me “SuperMom” I felt like a fraud. I couldn’t swoop in with a cape and tights to be perfect every day, in every way. Nor did I have super powers to make the hurts go away, the tantrums to stop or the house to clean itself.
But there it was, the “SuperMom” expectation. It had been placed upon me and now I felt the need to keep it all together and keep my “status”.
I found myself telling myself I needed to DO more and BE more to be a good mom. More experiences, more treats, more time, more money, more, more, more. And just when I thought I was doing well, I’d see another mom post on social media. They’d be showcasing their Pinterest perfect new DIY project, children all smiles at a perfect playdate or looking trim and toned on a date with their spouse. I was comparing myself to everyone else’s highlight reel and not keeping in mind that most people don’t post their behind the scenes, outtakes or blooper reel online.
What did all this striving for status get me? It brought minimal and momentary instant gratification but over all, it lead to more frustration and exhaustion.
One night I found myself crying to my spouse via Skype about how I wasn’t good enough. and he looked at me and said “not good enough for who?”. That was a huge wake up call. Why had I let an simple compliment/ideal dictate my worth?
I had to take a step back and really think about what made the BEST moments in my day work. When did I feel my best? When were my children on their best behaviour? What makes us tick as a family? What makes my children feel loved and supported? What makes me feel successful? And every time the answer came back to quality time, love and being present. It wasn’t more activities and over scheduling. Nor was it more money, more things or being ‘perfect’.
It was time to stop feeling like I had to do things to show everyone ELSE I was a “SuperMom”. Being the mom my family needed me to be and moreover, the woman I wanted to be, had to be the priority. Part of being able to be THAT mom and woman meant lots of changes. Taking time for me, time for my spouse, MAKING time for cuddles and special moments together, being present for my children and really, putting outside ideals and expectations aside; those were the changes I needed to work toward.
So each day, I am striving to find the balance. Have I gotten to that point yet? Not quite. But, I am working on it…and it is work, every. single. day. So, take that last sip of your PSL or your bubbly, crisp Moscato, put away the Cape and tights, and look for the little things, each day, that lead you to finding balance and reaching your potential as the kind of woman you want to be.
Its a bird! Its a plane! No, its “Well-Rounded Mom seeking Balance in Life”!
***Title Photo from DearDarla.com***