Mom, you are killing yourself trying to be everything to everyone. You feel like you have to be the master of all your roles. Oh, the roles. There are so many of them: cook, chauffeur, nurse, teacher, authoritarian, maid, personal shopper, talent manager, dream catcher, cruise director, and on and on and on. Well, I am here to tell you otherwise. You don’t need to be the master of all your roles. You don’t need to be a superhero. In fact, being Supermom is impossible. There is no such thing and trying to be one is only going to hurt you and others.
Trying to be Supermom is a recipe for disaster.
There are many moms out there that are trying to achieve the impossible. They are putting their blood, sweat, and tears into doing everything for everyone else and doing it well. But the fact is that by doing all that they are failing to do the one thing that is going to keep everything else afloat—taking care of themselves.
Think of it like a house on stilts. Moms are the stilts and the house is everything else: the cooking, cleaning, caretaking, driving, sewing, folding, and on and on and on. Mom can put all her energy into making the house beautiful, fixing all its imperfections, but if she fails to care for the stilts it will all come crashing down into a big pile of rubble. It is the car that is on a long road trip but doesn’t take time to fill up with gas and thus never makes it to its destination.
Trying to be supermom only leads to guilt, shame, and regret in life. There is not enough energy, time, and resources in the world to pull off being her.
You must set boundaries.
Supermom never says “no.” She says “yes” to being PTA president even though she already feels like she has no time to do the things she wants to do. She suffers from anxiety and sleep-deprivation. Her to-do list keeps getting longer and longer with no end in sight. She agrees to drive a friend’s kids even though that means she has to travel 20 minutes out of the way each day. She volunteers in her child’s classroom even though she relies on that time to get her work done. She cooks all the meals and feels guilty the rare times she visits the drive-through.
Supermom answers her early morning wake-up call with dread. She longs for a day with nothing to do. She hides away in her room or car to cry tears of overwhelm. Then, she brushes it off and goes back to her super duties. She struggles with depression and likely turns to unhealthy coping mechanisms, like alcohol, food, shopping, or smoking, to unwind and numb her feelings. Being Supermom is literally making her sick.
Your child doesn’t want you to be a superhero (well, except maybe the kind that can really fly and make things disappear).
There is a perception that doing all these things will make us happy as moms, prove our worth, so we can say we are “successful” at motherhood. But, that’s just not true. That way of thinking is a trap. Being Supermom doesn’t make you happy, taking care of yourself makes you happy. Trying to be a superhero, unless playing with your child, is not going to impress them. It will just take all the things they love about you and shrink them down until there is barely anything left.
Your child wants a mom who is understanding (not short-tempered because they are exhausted), a mom who listens (not staring at their phone to answer a friend’s text because they have no time), a mom who can play (not too tired to share in a game), a mom to give hugs and kisses (not one who is never around), a mom who cuddles and watches movies (even if they fall asleep), a mom who disciplines and sets an example for how to care for yourself. Your child needs and wants you. To share yourself with them you must first take care of yourself. Fuel yourself with self-love and respect and the rest will follow.
The truth is you don’t need to be a superhero, because you already are a superhero. Your calming touch is magical, your kisses can heal, your smile can brighten a mood, you are a superhero simply because you are Mom.
Counseling can help.
If you live in Pennsylvania and are struggling with setting boundaries, managing anxiety, depression, finding healthy coping mechanisms, or just being a mom, you may want to be consider seeing a licensed counseling professional. At Move Forward, our trained counselors and therapists regularly help moms to find themselves and reclaim their happiness.
Ready to begin counseling in Pennsylvania?
Our professionally-trained and licensed counselors have openings. Just call our office at 717-462-7003×1 and speak to our administrative assistant to get started to feeling better. You can get the tailored help you need right now. We are here for you.
Author: Alison Pidgeon, LPC
Alison is the Founder and CEO of Move Forward Counseling, a boutique private practice for women with three locations in Lancaster County, PA. She is passionate about reducing the stigma related to accessing mental health services. She can be reached at: email@example.com.