Friday, May 11, 2012

I'm not Super Mom

I took a walk with the kids today, and while embracing all the colors of spring, I got to thinking about who I have come to be. Recently, I wrote my first article for an a minimalist footwear website,  Toe Salad, and I was asked to also submit an "about the author." This was one of the most difficult things I have done, and all of my insecurities rose to the surface. After hours of laboring over who I am and trying to figure out what to write about myself, I submitted what I thought was a ridiculous short bio, but a bio none the less. This was the catalyst for some self reflection.

 Two years ago, I wanted everyone to view me as a Super Mom! You know, the perfect mom, perfect wife, perfect homemaker, perfect kids with perfectly matched clothes with perfect manners. (Lets insert some sort of Leave it to Beaver music here). I had a very cooperative first child who did everything she was told all the time which gave me my perfect mom halo (not to mention, I have never wanted to let people see my weaknesses). I preached consistency and gentleness. 

Then my second was born and my halo burst. He was the opposite. Instead of getting praise when I went out, I got the LOOKS (some of you know those looks)...the kind that make you want to crawl into a hole and never come out. I never let on, though, because to admit imperfection was worse. I struggled with his will, then number three came along, and she is just as strong willed if not more so. In public, I was able to hold it together because she was (and still is) so shy. So I still had my perfect mom aura. Moms would say to me, "Charity you always seem to have it all together!" "Charity you are so patient!" I was always thinking, "yeah right." But of course to admit, out loud, that I really don't have it all under control was simply not an option. Then number four came along, and with number four came the freedom to admit that I am NOT a Super Mom!

This did not happen overnight but over the course of a few months after one mom asked me for advice. Then another new mom asked for advice then another. Before I knew it, I was an "older" mom (by children's ages), and I had no advice to offer. Two years prior I would have been able to give every bit of advice in the book. No you shouldn't or yes you should. Now, I find myself saying, "I cannot offer you any advice because all children are different!" What I did with my first did not work with my second or my third or my fourth. I can tell you my story, but otherwise I cannot say.

Woah! Hold on! A mother who does NOT have all the answers, this was cause for serious reflection on my part. Was I failing as a mom because I could not give answers to these new moms? No! I was finally realizing what it means to be a mom (I  know 9 years; sometimes I am a little slow).

Being a mom means I am free to raise my children according to our family passions, desires, convictions, and priorities. I am no longer bound to compare myself to the other mommy blogger who has six children, a farm, sews, home schools, writes books, takes her kids to all their activities, and still manages to blog nearly every day. I do not have to compare myself to that working mom, or that public school mom, or that mom who always has her hair done. I do not have to stress over the fact that my children do a presentation in jeans with holes in the knees or the fact that I like to wear high top minimalist footwear. I do not have to abandon my dreams because another mom isn't a big dreamer. I do not have to know the right answer for every new mom that comes to me asking for advice.

 In our Facebook, blogging, better yourself world, it becomes very easy for us to read and stuff our minds full of information that may or may not be helpful. There are so many "experts" telling us how to raise our children and condemning us if we don't follow their advice perfectly.  We are not all meant to be the same. So from my "non-Super Mom" perspective. From my "I mess up all the time with my kids" perspective, from my "I love my children and their uniqueness" perspective from my "sometimes I want to quit this job as a mom" is my advice: Embrace yourself and embrace your children, listen to yourself and listen to your children. Being Super Mom isn't the end all. Remember that there is beauty and greatness in the very ordinary and simple. 

Raising children is very ordinary but is intensely beautiful and great. So moms -  learn, grow, become not just a better mom but a better person, but please do not allow the "experts," other parents, or comments make you insecure. Insecurity is a trap and will strip you from the energy you need to love, nurture, teach, dream with, and enjoy your children. Encourage one another whenever you can (even if you do things differently), and be willing to say, "I am NOT a Super  Mom!"


Lynn said...

I always enjoy reading your honest and sincere outlook for every topic you journal. It encourages me and lets me know i am not alone on this journey as a homeschool mom with the new experiences each day brings. You also have encouraged me, many times, that simple can save more time to just relish in the joys of each other. Thank you for using your God-given gifts to inspire other moms with your own experiences.

renee @ FIMBY said...

Say it loud, say it proud "I am NOT a super mom" but here's the thing: I think I am a super mom to my kids. I'm not the model mom or homeschooler but I have a good thing going with these kids of mine. Not like that makes me very qualified to tell others what to do, like you my children are all so different and we just figure it out as we go.

Oh, and writing bios is hard eh?

I know you don't want us to see you as super mom but I think you're a fabulous mom!

Emily said...

I can't imagine a better way to celebrate Mother's Day! Freedom to be NotSuperMom. Thankyou!

Louise said...

awesome post.... I guess I can put my cape away now (lol) thanks for sharing... always an awesome encouragement...