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?
I am learning to say “no” more and reading this just reinforces that I’m doing the right thing. Thanks for keeping it real!
Krista M says
I find at my child’s school there is like a sort of competition between mom’s to see who can volunteer the most, who can make the most bake-sale treats, who can raise the most money, etc. I actually had to leave that type of group & just go off on my own due to all the parental pressure. And I’m doing so much better now, so much more at ease with myself & my family. We don’t need to be supermom’s to be super!
kristen visser says
omg I totally love this post and I feel the same way!! you said it perfectly “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” same goes at being superwife. I put so much pressure on myself to try and do everything the right way and that much better that I just end up disappointing myself and upsetting myself if i dont do something right
Laughing at the clean clothes comments, because one lesson that my mom taught us was that we had to put our dirty clothes in the hamper. One week, we didn’t do it. So she thought, “I could spend my time nagging, I could pick up their clothes for them, or I could teach them.” She taught us. She washed all of the clothes in the hamper, and nothing else. We went to school in dirty clothes that week. We played hard, so it showed. My mom was terribly embarrassed, said it was one of the most difficult things she ever had to do. But she stuck to it, and we learned our lesson. We never left our dirty clothes laying around again.
The thing about being perfect is, it’s too much for anyone to try to live up to. Maybe tell Little One, next time she’s hard on herself, that if she were perfect, it would be too much pressure for her friends, and for her family, to try to keep up. Also, perfect people are usually too busy to be much fun. And truthfully, it’s how we deal with the problems we encounter in life that shapes us and gives us purpose. Perfect people generally don’t have problems, I assume, so they’re annoying and I want to be far away from them if I decide to watch too much TV one weekend and eat potato chips for lunch. HA!
I’m glad you’re learning to say no. You can still do the things that you want to do, to be involved…just maybe not all of the time. One thing my daughter has taught me, just because it’s her natural personality and how she’s hard wired, is that down time is important for recharging your batteries. She’s always been very protective of her down time, to the point that there were times when I thought she was lazy. She’s not lazy, she’s just wired in such a way that she needs time to take it easy, in order to deal with the world outside. Being a good mom to her means making sure she isn’t over scheduled or too busy with projects. That was a lesson for me, because I tend to like being busy and doing things. Maybe we get the kid(s) we need to teach us the lessons we need to learn.
J, I love these kinds of blog posts and comments. Thank you for popping by. Your mom was a wise woman. I loved reading her blog. It’s clear her wisdom and experience have been passed down to her amazing daughter. I love the relationship you have with M.
Oh, the lessons we learn on this journey through parenthood. These days, I feel like I’m doing everything wrong and the more I try, the more my seven-year old seems to go the other way. *sigh* She’s a great kid and so kind, thoughtful and empathetic. She’s just so stubborn…when it comes to listening to her mama. 🙁
I feel like you crawled into my head and wrote this post… Wow. I feel like I’m reading my own memoir. So accurate and so true for so many of us. I can relate because I am in the process of LEARNING to stop and say no. Learning to stop people pleasing. Stop going so crazy over perfection at the expense of my own sleep and inadvertently, my little one’s sleep. 2016 is where I am going to start to see these changes too. I’m so glad you’re doing this for yourself. Me too!!
Oh my gosh! Debbie!! We really are sisters from a different mister!! 🙂 THANK YOU for the card and beautiful items for Little One! She LOVES them.
I think you summed up what most mom’s feel. There is so much pressure on mom’s to be perfect. We work hard at our jobs and relationships with family, friends and partner. All this and maintaining a household with endless demands. Chin up! You’re doing a great job and hey, your kid is happy for the most part and healthy. That is what matters..and that she has clean clothes. Whether the clean clothes get put away is another story!!
Haha! Thanks, Janie! 🙂 Yes, as long as she’s fed, happy, healthy and has clean clothes, I’m good! P.S. The clean clothes never get put away properly! Picking and choosing my battles though!