Want to know one of the words I hate the most? Supermom. I just can’t stand the word supermom. It rubs me the wrong way. There are a number of reasons, but the biggest is that there is no such thing as a supermom. No, you’re not a supermom. Neither is Suzy down the street who seems to balance everything. That Mary Poppins type mom from church who is ‘practically perfect in every way’? She’s not one, either!
The Supermom Fallacy
The whole concept of someone being a supermom sets up the idea that some moms are ‘better’ moms and some are ‘worse’. Yes, we all know there are some moms who really are worse. They are abusive, or neglectful, or cruel to their children, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about the hard-working, well-meaning mom who feels like a failure because she made her kids a frozen pizza for dinner while the ‘supermom’ down the block made artisan flatbread with homemade sausage, mozzarella, and sauce made from the organic tomatoes she grew in her backyard. Or the mom who feels totally inferior because she bought her kids’ costumes from the store while one of her friends used items found around the house to piece together elaborate and creative coordinating costumes for the whole family. Then there’s the mom who feels like the worst mother ever because she lost her temper and raised her voice at her kids. Again.
Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with cooking from scratch, or sewing your own clothes. If you have the time, ability, and/or desire to do so, do it! Maintaining perfect calm is a good thing. Go ahead and strive for it. What’s wrong is when we feel that doing those things makes someone a better mom than us.
Falling for the Lies
So, what happens when we do listen to that nasty little voice saying “she’s better”? Inevitably it leads pressure and guilt. We deem some woman a supermom and suddenly we feel this immense pressure to do everything she does. Then when we can’t live up to what we think that supermom is we feel guilty. We feel as though we aren’t good enough or that our family deserves better than us.
That guilt drives us to strive harder to be perfect . Eventually we feel so far from that perfect supermom image that we either a) give up trying completely or b) have a mini (or not so mini) breakdown over feeling unworthy (been there, done that on both accounts).
The thing about trying to be perfect is that we will always fail. Always. No matter how hard we strive to live up to the image of perfection we see in others, it will never be enough because itś only an image. There are no perfect people. Not even moms. Only God can show us true perfection.
I’ll bet you anything that supermom you admire so much looks at another mom and thinks how much better she wishes she could be. She probably has moments when she feels guilty about some shortcoming she sees in her own life, too. What you’re seeing is her highlight reel, but you’re comparing it to your outtakes!
What Should Moms Do?
Am I saying that we shouldn’t work to improve as moms? Absolutely not! The key is to celebrate your strengths first, then look at your struggles. We all have things we do well as moms. Yes, even you. Even when you feel like a total failure, there are still things you are doing well?
What are your strengths? Maybe you cook really well, or set up great crafts for your kids to do. Perhaps you have the patience of Job when your kids start to whine (whining is my personal kryptonite, it can take me from nice mommy to ugly mommy in no time at all). Whatever it is, take a minute and celebrate that gift. Thank God for making you the way you are.
Now find a way to use your skills to help you strengthen your weak areas. For example, I’m pretty decent with creative food and snacks, but I’m not so great with crafts. I’m not artistic and I dislike dealing with paint and glitter and stickers and all that. If I’m going to have a mess on my hands I want to be able to lick it off, and art supplies just don’t taste that great. The thing is, my kids LOVE doing crafts. Kind of hard to balance my desire for sanity with their desire to do crafts. Then one day I realized I can combine snack time and craft time. We’ve done things like fruit kebabs, trail mix, and fruit and yogurt parfaits. You get the idea. I was able to use my strength of making fun snacks to help build up my weakness in coming up with crafts.
There is No Supermom
If I´ve said it once I´ve said it a million times, Satan wants nothing more than to get you to take your eyes off God and leave you feeling guilty. If he can keep your eyes on the moms around you and get you to think THEY are the ones to emulate, he can keep your eyes off of God. If he can make you feel so guilty and worthless that you just give up, he knows you´ll feel too ashamed to seek after what is truly worthy and important. He is the master of distraction and deception. Don´t let him win! Let go of the lie that you can be a supermom if you just try hard to be like _____ (fill in the blank with the name of whatever woman you admire). Embrace your perfectly imperfect life and keep your eyes on who God wants YOU to be!