My dear friend Julie has some beautiful encouragement for all of us mamas! I don’t believe there is one mom out there that doesn’t struggle with this ongoing quest for the unattainable Super Mom status! Take it in, and lets all have her mantra today!!
We all love super heroes, right? The super strength, the super speed, the ability to always get the bad guy and overcome evil, the downright awesomeness that is the unattainable for your Average Joe, and the joy that comes from another day saved in their part of the fantasy world. They are just amazing beings…yet they are fictional, and we know it. Somehow, that doesn’t stop us from thinking that we moms are supposed to be super heroes of our own making: the Super Mom.
I see it all the time and have been there myself. We have it in our heads that we are to be the best, the super, the unattainable. We are supposed to ____ (fill in the blank). If we have always thought the ideal was to be a successful working mom, we feel we are a failure if we don’t have a job or end up staying at home with a baby or a child with special needs or can’t work due to illness or a chronic condition or disability. If we have always thought the ideal was to have a natural birth without pain meds, we belittle ourselves if we have to have a c-section or need the epidural. If we have always thought that the ideal was to get married and have a baby right away, we feel like an utter failure if we can’t have a baby right away or at all. We feel worthy of shame if we can’t nurse our babies if that’s what we feel the ideal mom is supposed to do. We feel inferior if our child has allergies or illnesses or difficulties that we think, “If I’d just done ____ when I was expecting, then this would never have happened!” We constantly compare ourselves to some unattainable being: the Super Mom.
The problem with the Super Mom is that she isn’t real; she is fictional. She rises from the imagination of little girl dreams, teenage ideals and womanly wants. She takes on a personality that no one can live up to…and she is a product of our own making. We all have our own Super Mom image that we want to be, and we all have to realize that what we thought was Super Mom is not what is Super Mom.
A truly Super Mom is one who listens, loves and is there. She is one who does what is best for her family. She is one who fights for her children when they need her to fight, and one who kisses away the boo-boos and mends the broken hearts. She prays earnestly for her children, and she loves them without conditions. She is the living example of God’s love to her family, and she lives every day for their best in her heart, mind and soul. Her life is meant to serve, shelter when needed, and support always. She does the best by her loved ones, loves her Lord, and that’s what makes her super.
Super is not in living up to some form of ideal that we set, but rather in doing our best daily. So what if you had a c-section instead of a natural birth. The important thing is that the baby is safe and so are you. So what if you can’t nurse. The important thing is that your baby is fed and loved. You say your child has learning difficulties or physical needs and you blame yourself, and you’re wrong to do so. It is NOT your fault, but how you handle it is. You say you’re a failure because you aren’t a stay-at-home mom or because you don’t home school or vice versa, and you are wrong to do so. You did what you had to do for the good of you and yours, and there is no shame in that.
Stop comparing yourself to a legend, and start living the possible. You can’t change the past, but you can mold the future. As long as you are doing your best, it is good enough – for everyone. Your children don’t know that the reason you are sad or depressed is because you didn’t get your ideal situation. They only know and see that you are sad and depressed and it is somehow connected to them, so they blame themselves. What results is a snowball effect that sends everyone’s lives into a tailspin, and we all know that was not your intent.
Dear, dear, mom, don’t fall into this trap. Stop the cycle. Stop comparing yourself to a super hero, and be real. Be that loving, wonderful woman that you are, and stop thinking you’ve failed when you never did. If you made a mistake or 3 or even 100, that’s ok – we all do – so stop beating yourself up about it. Today is a new day. Start over and live.
Instead of “Up, up and away!”, make your mantra, “Giving my best to my family today!” It’s the only way to truly live a super life as a truly super mom.
Julie Moore is a wife (married for just over 14 years) and mother of 3 (ages 11 1/2, 10 and nearly 4). She is also the author of Natural and Free (http://naturalandfree.blogspot.com/), which provides allergy-friendly recipes and helpful information for those who suffer from or care for those suffering from one to all of the top 8 allergens.
She also authors Fibro, Fit and Fab! (http://fibrofitandfab.blogspot.com/) where she chronicles her journey to becoming fit and fabulous in all aspects of her life despite having Fibromyalgia. Posts about her life in general and topics she is passionate about pop up there, too.