I guess we are all subliminally influenced by the media these days, even when it comes to the false presentation of what a family should look like. Somehow one thinks that success is to be a supermom. It plays into that need to be the ultimate survivor: to think of everything ones husband and kids might need, and provide it on top of your own career demands, managing two or three jobs (being a parent is one) and still look beautiful. As things speed up, that survival instinct goes into overdrive… and one neglects to care for oneself. Self-care becomes the last thing on the list.
Now that my children are older, they advise me wisely to do more for myself. Especially my oldest daughter: she says it so earnestly. And when she does, an alarm bell rings in my mind and shiver runs up my spine, because I am seeing patterns in the mirror of time, and what I am seeing is myself at my daughters age- as the oldest daughter too, begging my own mother to do more for herself, with a desperate wish that she would listen because I could see that she was running herself to the ground and it was making me feel guilty.
Not that it was my fault, it was my mothers’ choice to be so self- sacrificing, but she was doing all the sacrificing for me, so I felt responsible. I knew she would not listen because she was too proud and it was a habit to try and do it all. Those were the expectations she had of her self. Those were her standards, which had been passed down from her own mother – who was a successful career woman with five children, and her mother before who was just as impressive, and that need to keep up the standards would drive her on like a genetic blueprint, no matter what I told her.
Yet, I wished she would listen.
Now,facing with hesitancy, my own middle age, I meet a woman while walking the dog. We get talking about our mothers. “My life has become like my mothers was.” She observes. “Always slaving over mundane things, I am the one who has to do everything at home!” She laments. “And then I remember my mother, who died unhappy.” She goes on bitterly, “my mother had hardly a moment for herself. And when she did, it was just a little time shopping.” she says sadly. “I always swore she would not be like that when she grew up. And now I realize it has happened!” She admits. In a flash it all came back to me: the promises I had made to myself when I was young. Hearing it from someone else reminds me I am not alone in this state of being. This is a universal thing. It probably happens to millions of women. What are these patterns driving us to destruction? These expectations we have of ourselves?
So I decided to write this list:
Notes to Self: 12 reasons why I do not have to be a “supermom.”
- Because it’s unrealistic to always be the hero who saves the day.
- You’re human and not immortal after all- let them save themselves!
- You’re setting an unrealistic example of martyr ship and unsustainable heroic-ness for your family (who will think they have do the same, as so many generations have done before- no wonder neurosis runs in the family!)
- Because eventually, you may burn out and become a little balmy from the pressure. (The balminess may or may not take the form of finding comforting habits to make you feel better. However these superficial pick-me-ups (coffee, wine, shopping, tranquilizers etc.) could turn into an unsustainable habit – filling the hole of your sacrificed soul-time. This habit might become a vicious cycle and if it leads down a slippery slope, you may find yourself feeling like a double failure- when actually you are not a failure at all, you are just human. Refer to point 2! )
- Because, if you learn to delegate, you actually train your family to look after themselves, by default and get more sustainable results that make you look like a supermom to outsiders! (Not that you would care what others think.)
- Because there is no such thing as a supermom. It’s an illusion created by the impossible demands of modern life on parents, and perpetuated by stressed out people who are very good at covering up.
- Because even if for a while you succeed at being what others would call a supermom, you usually find you have isolated yourself from the rest of humanity and flying around your super hero capsule (of martyr ship) gets a little lonely and you wish you could return to the mother ship and land somewhere homely, but are too much in a habit of buzzing around to know how to land.
- Isolating oneself in a vessel of super-capability has many downsides. One being that one gets sad and resentful when one feels burnt out.
- Because you will still be loved if you are just an ordinary mom. In fact it will make it easier to get close to you. (I imagine an ordinary mom is a mom who is down to earth and homely, loving and happy – that’s all your children really want. I presume she would be happy because she is creatively and spiritually fulfilled.)
- Because only a small percentage of those daily demands on your time are actually really necessary. Go through your list of things to do again as if it were your old winter wardrobe and toss out what you don’t really need or what can be delegated to someone else, or rescheduled. Use the time found to buy yourself some real soul- time to do something fulfilling and creative in the direction of your almost forgotten dreams.
- Because the voice in your head that you think is judging you is not even real either! (And it’s not your mother’s voice either it’s just a projection!)
- In the words of the late great Bob Marley: “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery…”
Choose to make soul healing work your priority over all the other things.
You are not being self-indulgent, you are making yourself happy and if you are happy you can share it naturally.
Because the modern projected illusion of “the supermom” is actually just a new way of keeping women in slavery by trying to please and not a real form of empowerment, like it pretends to be. Real empowerment is unhooking oneself from those patterns and choosing to live each day as a work of art.
Be the creator of your own life. Live your dreams! Take care of yourself. You are the only mom your family have, stop trying to be a hero and just be there with them now, it doesn’t matter, for now, if you are not achieving anything else but being present for your family. You are enough.