Mum’s the Word: Four Ways to Say Goodbye to the “Supermom”
Friday, March 06, 2015
If you’re a mother who has managed to keep your children alive and have the wherewithal to still get yourself fully dressed in the morning, then I’m 100 percent positive that you’ve been labeled a “Supermom” at some point.
It’s definitely meant to be complimentary when our friends and families describe us this way, but I’m here to say that perhaps it’s time to give up the idea that there are mothers out there who can do “everything.”
I don’t know about you, but when I hear that term, I suddenly feel the weight of the world bearing down on me. Often, I feel insecure and worried that I’m not doing enough for my child. With titles like "supermom" floating in the air, some people might feel as though they have to be heroic and perfect every single moment…or at least during the moments when they know others will be watching.
It’s time to say goodbye to the myth of the Supermom and celebrate the real, vulnerable mothers. Celebrate the mothers who are there to pick up their kids from school every afternoon, but who also sometimes burn the Ramen noodles because they are just too damn tired (yes, I have done this). It’s time to celebrate the mothers who aren’t afraid to admit when they can’t juggle everything and have to ask for help from their spouses, friends, or favorite legal form of an energy booster.
These mothers are not Supermoms, but they are waking up everyday with little feet in their faces, sleep in their eyes, and a determination to get through the day doing their best.
So if you are also a mother recovering from perfectionism, here are four ways to say goodbye to the “Supermom.”
Related Slideshow: Four Ways to Say Goodbye to the “Supermom”
1. Practice Compassion
Despite the best efforts, parents make mistakes. In fact, this parent probably makes a mistake on a bi-daily basis. The problem really isn’t the mistakes, though; it’s our response to the mistakes that can become a problem. One of my favorite books that I’ve read is Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting. In this book, she demonstrates the difference between guilt and shame. Shame is saying, “I am bad” while guilt is saying, “I did something bad. I could do better.” That said, practice compassion and don’t shame yourself. Shame leaves absolutely no room for us to become better parents.
2. Stop Comparing
My second favorite book relating to motherhood, is Amy Poehler’s Yes Please. Though not specifically about motherhood, Poehler does have a chapter about how mothers relate to one another. Oftentimes, we judge other mothers harshly because we are feeling so insecure ourselves. Instead, though, we should build each other up by repeating Amy’s adage, “Good for her, not for me.” When we see other mothers doing other things differently than ourselves, let’s remember that we’re all just trying to love our kids and not win the “Who’s the most super mom” competition.
3. Ask for Help
There’s a reason for the phrase, “It takes a village.” Ask for help when you’re walking up the stairs with a toddler on your left arm and four bags of groceries on your right. Sure, you could build some awesome Michelle Obama arms by being stubborn, but you’re also being incredibly stupid. Ask for help.
4. Be Present
It’s national women’s month, which reminds us that while it wasn’t always the case, mothers are now able to work, go to school, and take care of their families all at once. But juggling those things can be stressful, and sometimes we feel like we have to choose between being excellent at a couple things or being mediocre at all the things. By staying present, though, we’re able to stop multitasking and just focus on the task at hand. Like I said before, it’s not so important that we are the best, but it is important that we give our best. Eliminate stress by staying focused on our child when you’re with your child, your homework when you’re in the classroom, and your jobs when you’re at the office.
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