Supermom Syndrome

Are you suffering from supermom syndrome? Well, if you think that you can run the household, have the kids, care for them (and the big kid) without a hitch, work a full time job, be the chef, housekeeper, doctor, counselor, and psychic all at the same time; all without ever making a mistake, I might add, than you might have supermom syndrome. And if you feel the need to do all of this, without sleeping or taking care of yourself, then you definitely have supermom syndrome. Now, what do we do about it?

Today’s society is such a far cry from where we were. The days of the ‘typical housewife’ are gone. Society and the desire to be more, do more, have more has pushed moms into this stress-laden idea of perfection. Our views on how we can support our spouses and families as strong mothers have changed to one that must include doing it all!

Somehow, if we don’t juggle everything then we are not successful as mothers. To that I say Hogwash!

I also have noticed that, for the most part, the role of the wonderful men in our lives has not changed much. As husband and father, they still (for the most part) go out to hunt and gather resources for the household. Once complete, they bring their wares home for the woman to handle and either tackle the ‘honey-do-list’ or rest. For women, our role of handling the wares that our spouses brought home and the other household duties remain, but now we have added the roles typically handled by the men…working and having a career outside of the home.

Now, please hold off on the comments about being a strong independent woman not needing anyone else…also, hold off on the comments about women and careers. As a strong, independent, well-educated woman with a career, husband, and child, I get it. Top it off with a Type A personality, and I realize that I REALLY get it! But personal experience has also proven in my life and the lives of other similar women that doing it all can and will take its toll on you.

In the pursuit of maintaining our supermom status, we are stressing ourselves out! Too much stress is not good for our mental or physical health or the mental and physical health of our families (especially when mom hits the proverbial wall, and is ill). So how do we reduce the supermom syndrome stress?

We must embrace the fact that NO is a very powerful word. We can’t and shouldn’t do it all, all of the time. It’s ok to miss a birthday party in favor of relaxing around the pool. It’s ok to order out occasionally instead of cooking every night. It’s ok NOT to be PERFECT! So what if the bed isn’t made today, or the laundry waits for one more day? Take a nap! An empty shell of a mother and wife is not super.

Realize that our children don’t need to go everywhere, do everything, and have everything. It’s ok. They won’t break. For years, psychologists have warned of the dangers of overscheduling our children. But what do we do? Continue to put them in everything under the sun, teaching them how NOT to take a break and just chill out.

I witnessed a conversation between a parent and teacher when dropping my child off at school one day. The teacher was explaining, in a calm voice, that she was concerned about the child’s grades. Not only was the child doing poorly in class, the child also never completed or turned in homework. I was shocked by the parent’s response. He began to yell and spout that his child’s many extracurricular activities were a “bit more important” than school. Really? I was shocked. Don’t be that parent.

The overall point is to slow down and evaluate what is really important in life. What is essential to your family? Everything is not essential. Also, realize that it is impossible to give 100% to everything (you only have 100% to give). So, when you have had a long, tough, stressful day at work; or overscheduled yourself and the kids; or stayed up until 2 am washing clothes (I’ve done that), realize how much of your 100% has been used and how much is left to spread around. Something will suffer.

Instead, take time for yourself and your interests, as well as time for your family. Your job/career does not make you, your spouse and children do not make you. Remember who you are. Just you, as a person and not in relation to others. Remember what makes you happy. Is it playing the violin, taking long walks, reading, or painting? Whatever it is, find that happy place and visit there often.

It’s time that we moms accept and share the fact that we don’t have to be Stressed-Out-Supermom to be a good mom as long as we do our best and share our love.

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