Yes, I’m talking to you, sweet momma. Momma of little kids, big kids, sassy kids, sweet kids: Listen here, and listen good.
You are doing a bang-up job. You’re killing it as a mom. Like, A++. I wish I could give you a self-polishing trophy with your name on it.
Oh, you’re shaking your head at me. Surely, I can’t be talking about YOU. Your kids are the ones dancing down the aisles at the grocery stores, they’re picking noses, not making their beds. Toilets need cleaned, floors beckon to be vacuumed. A never-ending to-do list stares down at you from your home control center: wash laundry, load dishes, attend Back-to-School night, pull weeds, start non-profit to end world hunger.
It’s easy to feel as if you’re not enough.
In this age of do-more, be-more, make-more, buy-more, many mothers feel an exorbitant amount of pressure to fulfill not only their own expectations but also the “expectations” that subtly exist within the pages of magazines, on Pinterest boards and other social media pages, and from neighbors, friends, school parents, etc. who, by golly, seem outwardly to have everything and be able to do everything. These expectations are pressuring and demanding.
You’ve got to be a superhero to get through all these tasks.
And so we tie on our capes, lace up our boots, and adopt the mantra of SuperMom: The Woman Who Does it All. The myth that moms must accomplish “it all” is an awfully persuasive thought. But to be fair, I’m not even sure what it means to be a SuperMom or from where the label perpetuated. Aren’t moms all (by my expert definition), well, super?
We bear, adopt, foster, and nurture children. Give our very best for them. Treat them and raise them so that they’ll grow to be responsible, respectful, contributing members of society. We give, we teach, we cry, we love.
I’d say that makes us pretty super.
Yet, from what I’ve seen, mommas have a hard time looking in the mirror and recognizing their innate worth as mothers to their children. There’s always more we could do and more we could be. And in the pull to be a SuperMom, who do you see in the mirror when you’re bogged down by the need to do it all? Especially when the military spouse+mom combos live in uncertain worlds, rife with perpetual, rolling change. Do you see a pristine superhero, or do you see inadequacy and the inability to keep up?
Very quickly, our best intentions to keep up with the expectations of others can become our very own Kryptonite, our sure pathway to defeat.
The idea is to redefine the SuperMom. To teach moms that they are innately super. Super by their own right. That these already-super moms are able to act according to theirs and their families’ best interests. Moms are able to create their own goals, expectations, desires, and pursuits. They should be able to look in the mirror and see worth, courage, fierceness, endurance.
You are enough.
Can you see it? Do you believe it that you are already super?
What also makes you super is that you know you can’t do it all. My kids need the best me, and that means that I need to tailor my time to achieve personal and familial goals so that my children, spouse, and I can feel genuine, lasting happiness.
Not as a SuperMom. Just as an ordinary, already-super mom.
That means that I will never make homemade Valentine’s cards for my children’s classmates. Ever. I will let my kids watch countless episodes of Barbie’s Dreamhouse while I take a nap. Dinner’s Crispy Chicken Salad is code for dino chicken nuggets on a ranch-covered bed of wilted lettuce.
Being a mom is a process, not a project, and there’s immense value in the process. The growing and the adapting and the changing are what make you so dang super.
And I look in the mirror and see myself, a pretty super mom.
And so my cape is a little battered from wear, stained from spilled juice and countless popsicles and still lingering with the smell of batches of warm cookies. It’s ripped from where it got caught in bike spokes as we trudged up the hill from the park. The bright-colored fabric, faded from sunny summer days at the splash pad and soccer games, are patched and threadbare. It has seen joy, laughter, grief. Been snuggled with in front of warm campfires, used to wrap wee babies in welcome to this big, new world.
It’s tattered and worn, but it’s my most prized possession.
It’s my already-super mom cape.
And I’ll keep it that way.
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