Mothers are hailed as superwomen who can function without breaks, sacrifice their every need for their family, and basically be someone who can solve every problem or challenge thrown at them without so much as flinching. Look, there’s no doubt that as a mom, you’ve found that you’re a lot more capable than you thought you would be, whether it’s managing ten things at a time or decoding your baby’s babbles or juggling your career and household! But that doesn’t automatically make you a robot who cannot make mistakes or can’t use a break, does it?
What Happens When These ‘Perfect Mom’ Expectations Aren’t Met?
The worst side effect of unrealistic expectations set for moms is that it can sow the seeds of ‘mommy guilt’ in them. Shaming them for returning to work within six months of having a baby, or opting to formula-feed their baby instead of breastfeeding, or even missing their child’s Annual Day performance because they were ill – there are tons of things that moms are often criticised and shamed for. And when mommy guilt sets in, these women tend to stretch themselves thin just trying to meet the various expectations set for them by their family or society; basically, they try and turn into Supermoms. And you, ‘super mom’ reading this, should understand that there is a difference between aspiring to be a Supermom and already being what you are – a wonderful mother!
Confused? Let us explain!
As a wonderful, brilliant, and SUPER mom, you’re someone your kids love, know that they can depend on, but you also know that you make mistakes and recover from them! But if you’re striving to be the perfect mom i.e someone who never falters, is always on top of her game, and seems to have no weaknesses, you may end up disappointing yourself! Perfection isn’t possible to achieve and that shouldn’t be your ultimate aim as a mom either. In your quest to become a superwoman, you may end up feeling completely exhausted and defeated even if the smallest things don’t go according to plan. Now, that shouldn’t be what a mom, whose kids adore her and consider her the best in the world, should think of herself, right?
So, while we’re sure you’re already acing this role of yours, here are a couple of pointers for you to note, to ensure that you’re striving to be a SUPER mom and not a perfect Supermom!
7 Ways to be a Super Mom and NOT a Supermom!
These are simple tricks you can try to ensure that you become the best version of your ‘mom-self’ you can hope to be, without burning yourself out or drowning in mommy guilt!
1) Accept That You Are Allowed to Make Mistakes
Even if parenting came with an instruction guide, there would still be a hundred things you’d be doing wrong, because there’s nothing that’s tailor-made or uniform about having and raising kids! Your struggles and challenges are your own to tackle, but as long as the solutions you follow are beneficial for your child and family, and make you happy too, well, then that’s all that should matter. At times, you may be stuck at a dead end and may not know what to do – and that’s okay! You’re going to figure it out one way or the other, so don’t lose heart!
2) Relax and Indulge in Some Me-time
You probably don’t have 2 hours in a day to take out for yourself but ten minutes to half an hour to take a breather should be doable. How? For one, consciously make the effort to give yourself that break, and also, communicate to your partner and other family members that you need that time, just to unwind. Spending a mere 5% of your day in doing something you like and other than focusing on your parenting duties can make you feel refreshed and get back to your responsibilities with more ‘josh’! Also, it’s equally important for your kids to see and learn from you that self-care is important – how will they learn that lesson if you’re constantly stressed out, on the edge, and are in a total frenzy?
3) Get Organised
A lot of times, immense stress sets in when there are 25 things to do in a 24-hour day, and you cannot plan them out properly. Breathe and pull out a planner or journal. Chalk out timetables, to-do lists, things on priority and things you can postpone, and work out your commitments with a plan in mind. Take your partner’s help wherever needed; after all, every super mom needs the support of a super dad too! Also, if you find that if you have too much on your plate to handle and more responsibilities are headed your way, learn to say ‘no’ to what can be avoided. Again, you may be a mom but you’re also human – stretching yourself thin to meet everyone’s aims and requirements shouldn’t be your concern, not when you have your own things to handle.
4) Utilise the Time You’re Most Productive
In the same vein as getting organised, it’s also important to identify the time of the day when you’re most productive and can do your best with any task entrusted to you. For some, it may be during the day when the baby is asleep for a while or the kids are at school; for some, it could be at night, when the day’s demands have waned. Utilise this time, whenever it may be, to get your most difficult errands and tasks done, so that you have the rest of the day to spend on simple things and to make time for your little ones.
5) Change Your Way of Thinking
Simply put, you’re often your own enemy. And you’re an expert at beating yourself up over not doing ‘enough’. How can you expect others not to judge you when you’re constantly judging yourself for the choices you make? It’s important to realise that people are going to talk and voice out their opinions constantly, but that’s because they haven’t been in your shoes. If you think going back to work right after having a baby is important because your financial situation or your ambitions demand so, then you shouldn’t have to answer to anyone regarding your choice. In case you feel like you’re a bad mom for ‘abandoning your children’ for hours together, try thinking along the lines of ‘I’m a good mother because I’m setting an example for my children to pursue their career or to step up and take responsibility when needed’. If you’re unable to breastfeed your child due to medical issues and are feeling guilty about having to formula feed, again, understand that you’re doing your best to make sure your child receives nutrition, one way or the other.
There are several such instances where you’re probably critiquing yourself too much or are letting others’ comments get to you. Although it won’t happen overnight, start seeing these in a positive light.
6) Ask for Help
You don’t have to carry all the burdens of parenthood on your shoulder, you know! If your children are lucky enough to be loved and surrounded by their relatives and parents’ friends, who enjoy pampering them, then by all means, ask for help when you need it. Even if it’s little things like picking them up from school or helping out with their homework or taking them for their doctors’ appointments, sometimes you may fall short of time or energy to commit yourself. But if there are people willing to help you out in these matters, do not hesitate to take it, and be grateful for it. It will teach your children that even the most powerful people they know need some help and support to get by!
7) Be There for Your Kids
At the end of the day, being a wonderful mom comes down to one thing – being there for your kids. They need to know that you’re there for them, no matter what happens, and that they take precedence over everything else in your life. They shouldn’t have to think twice about coming to you for help or to talk or simply to spend time with you. So, busy as you may be, make sure that your children never feel that you’re too busy for them. Exceptions can be made, of course, but try and make sure these are one-offs. As long as your babies know that your arms are always wide open for a big hug or that your shoulders are there for them to lean on, well, that’s what being a supportive, caring mom is all about!
So, to all the lovely moms out there who feel like they’re not doing enough for their child and family, who feel like they don’t know what they’re doing sometimes, who feel burdened and exhausted and want to take a break, know that you’re not alone. Every mom out there has had and continues to have her fair share of struggles, and they all deal with it in the ways they know. You too may be in the same situation but guess what – if your little ones’ faces light up when they see you and they run to you with a bright grin as they call out “Ma!”, you can be assured that you’re always going to be considered a super mom AND a Supermom by them! Isn’t that what truly matters?