Are you a Super Mom?
I have struggled for years with what I call the Super Mom syndrome. Here are some of the ruts that I have learned to avoid in favor of peace and sanity.
1. Getting up at 5am
I don't personally know a single woman who enjoys waking up at 5am every day. And yet somehow that has become one of society's unspoken pre-requisites for the all-coveted Super Mom title. Like everyone else I wanted to hold that title, and so I set my alarm every night (at 12 or 1 am), and every morning wondered why I failed and/or was miserable. I don't have anything against early risers. If you can do it happily, great! You have my sincerest admiration. But with our family's schedule I simply do not get sufficient rest when I force myself to get up at 5am. The truth is, your schedule, your husband's schedule, your children's activity schedule may not be the same as other families' schedules. Don't compare yourself to them. Find the schedule that works for you and your family and enjoy your mornings whatever time on the clock they may come.
2. Keeping your house impeccably clean
You've heard it in the play groups, at church socials, at library time – they're all talking about how Mrs. X has such a stunning new remodel, or how at Mrs. Y's house every element is always in place regardless of the time of day or current activity. You hold yourself to those gossipy standards and it causes you to yell at your children for bringing toys to the living room (it is a room for living in right?) or you get uptight when Hubby doesn't leave his shoes just so at the door (He is the Master of the house, isn't he?) Please don't tell me I'm the only one who has experienced this. What is more important to you Super Mom? A perfect house that no one wants to be “home” in? or a house that is occasionally messy but bears the welcoming marks of life and love? I had to learn to relax my perfectionist tendencies and accept that while it may not be spotless, it is clean, and it's home.
3. Thinking you have to do it all, all by yourself
This might qualify you for Super Mom title, at least until you burn out. Trying to do it all, all the cleaning, cooking, car-pooling, shopping, ironing, dishes, laundry, teaching, __________, (you fill in the blank), all by yourself is a serious pride issue and one that I've had to deal with in my own life. Once you realize (and admit) that you can't do it all, you are then in a position to receive the Lord's enabling grace for the tasks at hand. And once you swallow your pride, you may even find that you could help someone else, by giving them a job helping you! (More about this in the next post.)
4. Giving in to your kids
You know you are the favorite mom on the block. All the kids wish you were their mom, because you give in so easily. But you hate it. Why can't you stand up to them, be consistent, back up your promises? You may have the Super Mom title, but do you have the respect of your kids? Do you wonder why the don't obey you the first time or follow through on your directives? I have learned that loving my kids does not mean giving in to their whines and whims. You can be consistent in love, rules and discipline. It starts with your decision to be consistent with the Lord's help. But there are also lots of experienced parents are resources to help. One of my favorites is Ginger Plowman's Don't Make Me Count to Three!
5. Volunteering everywhere
“I'm a good mom because I _______________ (what activity would you put here?).” What is it that you do that makes you (or others) think you are Super Mom? Do you work a full time job, plus homeschooling and taking care of your family? Do you volunteer at your kids' school? at church? at the community shelter? are you on every committee and involved in every group, outing and planning event? Are you so busy doing, as I so often am, that you don't have time to be? Volunteering is a good thing, being busy is fine, but when taken to excess, (and especially when we take pride in what we do instead of who we are in Christ) it can become a very bad thing. Take some time to evaluate your Super Mom activities. What could you eliminate that would give you more time to be who you need to be. For God. And for your family.