Parenting Series: The Curse of The Supermom

circle-photoIt’s a privilege to have blogger Amanda Hostetler from Raspberry Beige as a guest writer for the Wednesday parenting series.  Thank you, Amanda, for sharing this!

No, I am not writing a comic book series. Although I do think my title is pretty clever.

I am surrounded by “Supermoms” in my own life. My mother, mother-in-law, grandmothers, aunts, and many friends are what I consider “Supermoms”.

What is a “Supermom”? They seem to handle it all. They juggle careers, kids, husbands, household, church, and any problems no matter how big or small, seamlessly. No complaining. No outward appearance of struggling. Always going. Always smiling. Always working.

These “Supermoms” are what I grew up watching. My mom could handle anything. She grew up in a world that told her she couldn’t do many things because she was a girl, and yet she made her way through college and is a successful nurse practitioner. She lost her father a week after she was married. She (and her husband) raised a daughter while working full time. She always has a clean house. She is an incredible cook, sewer, and pretty much a domestic goddess. When she found out she had breast cancer, she told me she was lucky they caught it early, had nothing negative to say, had surgery, went home the same stinkin’ day, and never looked back.

“Supermom”.

Growing up with such amazing women around me and becoming friends/coworkers with equally amazing women has been a huge blessing to me.

And yet, I allowed it to turn into a curse.

I wasn’t going to be a mom; I was going to be a “Supermom”.

And then reality set in…MP900255302

Pregnancy stunk. Gestational diabetes, nit-picky findings on ultrasounds, and morning sickness were not my vision of those glorious nine months. My pregnancy glow never came.

After surviving pregnancy and labor (no small feat as any woman knows), I was blessed with a beautiful, healthy baby boy.

Time to be “Supermom”. Except I didn’t want to do any housework, I did not want to leave the house, I was beyond exhausted, and pretty much felt like crap. That’s the best way I can put it.

I could go into the gory details, but I won’t. The last 2 years of motherhood have been a huge learning curve for me. And once I gave up the notion of a “Supermom”, I found life to be much more peaceful.

I am at peace because:

  • I fail. That probably sounds quite strange, but it’s the truth. I will fail as a mom. You will fail as a mom. It’s going to happen. Guess what? It’s okay. God does not call us to be all-knowing, perfect mothers. Otherwise, how could I ever need His forgiveness?
  • I have let go of the guilt. I am a highly critical person. It unfortunately, is one of my biggest flaws. And I am undoubtedly my own worst critic. I beat myself up for months, because I did not think I felt like I should feel. I did not perform all the “Supermom” duties I should be doing. I am content with my choices as a mom. Are there ways I can do better? You betcha. I trust that God will continue to help me improve in all areas of my life.
  • I leave comparing and contrasting to the English professors. I have the utmost respect for the “Supermoms”. I think they are incredible, strong women who are selfless and excellent mothers. However, my mistake was constantly comparing myself to the “Supermom”. This is one of the worst things you can do. Just like I do not think it is healthy to constantly compare my son to his peers, I also find it maddening to compare yourself to other moms. Each child is different. Each mom is different. Each situation is different.
  • I am training my brain. I am a naturally pessimistic, worrisome person. While I will not be able to change my genetics, I do feel that I can rework the way I think. When I feel those doubts creeping in, I pray, I open my Bible, I talk to my husband, I find something extra relaxing to do. My hope is to create positive habits in my life that will become second nature.
  • I live for the small moments. Making my son happy does not require super-human feats of strength involving complicated trips, all the latest and greatest toys, pushing him to excel, or giving him endless cultural experiences. I find joy in how excited he gets to push the button to put the garage door up and down. Or to hold the cat (poor kitty). Or to play in the bathtub. He is not asking for everything. He is content with what we have to give him.

Do I still have doubts and fears? You bet. But thanks to the grace of God, I am learning to manage.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

I am no longer striving to be that “Supermom”. I’m just Mom to my son. Wife to my husband. And Daughter to my God.

Motherhood is much more enjoyable when you rely on God and not on yourself.

My father once told me that the best thing I can do for my son is to love him.

And that is the best advice I can give you. When you focus on this love you will be able to rejoice in their triumphs, forgive them when they fall short, teach them what is right and wrong, and most of all, introduce them to God.

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” Proverbs 22:6

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One thought on “Parenting Series: The Curse of The Supermom

  1. Island Traveler

    A must read for all parents. There was a time when I want to juggle everything as a parent. My parents to my eyes were “super parents.” They withstood all kinds of storms and gave us the happiest childhood we could ever ask. I wanted to do the same for my son but I realized that I am not like my parent. My path is different. I made mistakes that I wish I didn’t make but I did. In the end, just like what you wrote,” I live for the small moments,” moments surrounded by love and the simple joys of life.

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