The Super Mom phenomenon is one I have avoided writing about for quite some time. The main reason for this is simply because I feel that my blog is an educational blog, not a parenting blog. However, many of our readers make Super Mom comments and I recently received another message about it, so I decided to address it today. The overall meaning is: have confidence in yourself, appreciate the success of others and have compassion for all (yourself included!)
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I really enjoy reading your blog and I have used many of the activities with my little one. I especially like the language and literacy component to your curriculum. There are other mommy-blogs I subscribe to that I also enjoy but sometimes I seriously wonder how you super moms do it all!? I want the best for my baby so I look to the internet for advice and suggestions but sometimes, I just end up feeling bad and guilty that I don’t do enough.
Thank you for your comments Lindsay. You have brought up an issue that I come across regularly; the fabled SUPER MOM. The very first thing I would like to declare is that, “I DO NOT DO IT ALL”!!!! The second thing I would like to say is that I do this blog because I genuinely enjoy it, because education is what I love and because I believe that my teaching style/philosophy is relatively unique. I decided to undergo this journey to help and benefit others so it saddens me to think that all of this effort might make people feel bad about themselves.
I have never been a fan of the term “Super Mom”. What does it really mean anyway? If you take away the people at the extreme ends of the spectrum (the Martha Stewarts who just might actually “do it all” and the seriously unfit mothers) then you are left with the rest of us – the average person. We’re all pretty equal; we are all trying to do the best for our children with what we have (emotionally, financially, intellectually, spiritually) – and we all have strengths and we all have areas where we could improve. In fact, this was true before we had children but for some reason, for many, being a mother brings the “weaknesses” to the forefront.
Some Thoughts on How I Approach Motherhood:
#1. I don’t do it it all – And I’m pretty sure almost nobody does.
- Don’t waste your positive energy dwelling on the things that you can’t/don’t do; there is simply no benefit to that
- Accept that everything is not going to get done all the time, some of the time, or any of the time!
- Recognize that you are doing more than enough! You are constantly trying to keep your baby fed, clothed, clean, safe, warm, educated, entertained and above all…..LOVED! (This is the minimum you do for your child in a day)
#2. Ditch the guilt – Before I gave birth, a person very dear to me said, “you will see that motherhood is all about guilt”. I instinctively knew that this would not be true for me….. and it isn’t.
- Have confidence that you are doing the best you can
- When there is something you would like to improve upon, have a quick brainstorm of what strategies you’d like to try – and try them. If they work, great! If they don’t work, re-think and try again. (Just like we tell our kids to do)
- Give up your “shoulds” – they can really drain your energy and enthusiasm; instead focus on what is really important
- Stop comparing yourself to others (what works for one family doesn’t necessarily work for another) & don’t judge yourself based on others’ successes or failures
#3. We’re good at what we like – Educating and communicating with children is one of my biggest strengths. I love it – so this plays a big factor in my parenting. Some moms are big on super nutritious & spectacular meals, some are big on being really active, some are big on looking super fab and totally put together, some are big on party planing or being super-earth conscious; this list could go on all day. The point is, when you see somebody excelling at something, it doesn’t mean that they “do it all” and you are a failure, it means that those things are probably enjoyable and important to them.
- Don’t mentally roll your eyes at the mom who bakes those crazy-professional-elaborate cupcakes for her tot’s birthday. She probably really enjoys doing that. Congratulate her on her skill. Enjoy looking at them and eating them. DON’T think that you should be better at making cupcakes…..especially if it’s not interesting to you!
- Don’t reprimand yourself for all the things that other moms are good at (they have strengths, just like you!)
- Get in touch with your interests and strengths and channel those into your parenting strategy (your child will witness and absorb your natural enthusiasm)
4. Mindfulness – This is an integral part of my teaching practice, my parenting practice and my overall approach to life. It’s value is beyond words and I could write several blog posts about this alone.
- Notice your mistakes, and move on. No dwelling. For example, if I loose my patience and react in a way that I find inappropriate, I notice it, take a few deep breaths and move on. I don’t relive it over and over in my mind. I made a mistake and next time, I’ll try not to.
- Love yourself & have patience with yourself. You are being pushed to limits you have never experienced before and most of the time, you handle it very well!
- Lighten up! Sometimes parenting topics can get so heavy and serious feeling. Use your common sense & don’t sweat the small stuff.
- Enjoy the present moment. Thinking so much can cloud your mind!
- Use appreciation as a tool. For example, I love the feeling of my babies’ skin. If I notice myself starting to get angry or frustrated with them I will literally touch them, or rub my cheek on theirs – the negative feelings melt away.
- Use perspective as a tool. For example, if I feel anger or frustration at something they have done (like erasing a blog post I have been writing for hours, even though I have repeatedly asked them not to play with the computer!!!), I take a deep breath and think about how lucky I am to live in a country where my biggest challenge as a mother today was dealing with the disappointment of losing some work. There are countless mothers who struggle to feed their babies and keep them safe from illness or violence.
So there you have it. Either we are all Super Moms or none of us are Super Moms. We’re all in the same boat; we love our kids and we’re all trying to do our best for them.
Please share this with any mom you know who feels lacking, who feels the need to put down other mothers, or who feels overwhelmed with what they think they “should” be doing as a mother!