Let me begin with saying that I actually don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I used to (once upon a time), but I haven’t made any resolutions in years. I just didn’t think they were realistic. Instead, I made goals. They’re probably similar, but one seemed to have less pressure attached to its name. In any case, this year I am making a concentrated effort to NOT be a Supermom.
I know. It sounds crazy, right?
Why would any woman in her right mind NOT want to be a Supermom? After all, as parents, isn’t our priority to be the best possible parent for our children?
Of course it is!
We don’t have to be Supermoms though.
2015 has brought to my attention so many things in my life that have contributed to stress, anxiety, exhaustion and a whole slew of other issues. I had this notion in my head that I needed to be the very best at everything in order for my child to be happy, to excel, and to learn by example.
Be kind. Be helpful. Be empathetic. Be productive. Be giving. Be respectful. Work hard. Work diligently. Surround yourself with positive people. Be thankful. Show gratitude. All positive things, right? You bet! However, I neglected to remind myself (and my seven-year old daughter) that we are not superhuman and there are moments when we may not be or do all of those things mentioned. The key thing I need to remember is that we are human. We make mistakes. We learn from our mistakes. We move on and try to be mindful of our decisions and actions and recognize when we are wrong and try to do better next time.
This morning, Little One woke up on the wrong side of the bed. From wake-up time until she got on the bus, it was one emotional roller coaster ride after another. How could this sweet, angelic little being turn into a crying, frustrated, foot-stomping ball of crazy energy?
I sat and watched in complete shock as all of her emotions played before me. It was pretty surreal.
I patiently tried to calm her down. The tears were rolling down her cheeks. Apparently, I don’t understand her. “I’m upset. I’m frustrated. Mommy! You just don’t understand me!”
To be honest, I don’t even remember why the outburst of emotions. It started off with her having a hard time getting out of bed. Then she needed to feed the kitten, but couldn’t open the bag of kitten food. She wanted just yogurt for breakfast instead of fruit and oatmeal. She couldn’t find the pair of socks she wanted to wear to school. She wanted to pack her own lunch. She made one mistake on her spelling (every morning we play a spelling game with words she is learning in school). She doesn’t like making mistakes and ends up in tears each time she makes a mistake.
For the life of me, I have no idea why she feels so stressed about writing “becuz” instead of “because”. I told her that she is learning and writing words out phonetically is part of learning how to spell. But, to no avail. She slumped over and threw her head into her hands in tears.
I do not want Little One growing up feeling that she needs to be perfect. The truth is that no one is perfect. We can try our best and never stop trying to do a better job or be a better person, but there shouldn’t be that pressure of feeling like if you aren’t doing a perfect job then you’re a failure. I say this because sometime last year, Little One was upset because she “wasn’t fast in finishing” something and said “I’m a failure”, as she cried her eyes out.
I was pretty shocked because I had no idea where that came from. We don’t use that language in our home. Hubby and I make sure to be supportive and positive, and we don’t ever talk about being a failure at things. To this day, I still have no idea where she got that idea in her head. It’s obviously something she has thought about. She was six at the time and I remember thinking that no six-year-old child should ever feel like he or she is a failure. It made me really sad.
This is why I am resolving to NOT be a Supermom. I’m not suggesting to aim low or be an underachiever. I don’t settle for mediocrity, but my point is that I don’t think we need to put so much stress on being perfect. That is a goal that would be difficult to achieve.
I realized this past year that I am very much a people pleaser and have the need to always be there for people and do everything for people. I’m that person people call when they need five pies baked for a function or help to organize an event. If there’s a charitable event to be organized, I’m the one who will happily donate my time, resources, support and even gather sponsors and help find funding. I am happy with doing all of that, but it’s only been this year that I’ve realized that I can’t do all of it all the time.
A good friend told me recently, “Chris, you need to learn how to say NO. Stop doing everything for everyone all the time. You’ve already been told you need to scale back on everything you do for your own health reasons. STOP. Say NO.”
It’s been a difficult lesson for me. I want to be an active and contributing member of the communities I belong to. I want to be helpful and be an example for my daughter to see the kind of people we hope she becomes. Kindness, empathy, humility…all important to our beliefs as a family. We also teach Little One that forgiveness and admitting when you are wrong or have made a mistake are all very important too.
I don’t want to be a Supermom anymore. I want to be the best mom I can possibly be, but without the pressure and stress of being perfect. By giving up the Supermom idea, I may have just added a few extra years to my life! 😉
Moms (and dads), do you feel this way too?