Mother and Son by Chris P
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a supermom is an “exemplary mother” or “a woman who performs the traditional duties of housekeeping and child-rearing while also having a full-time job.” That’s a lot to try to live up to! These days the term gets thrown around a lot as something for mothers to strive desperately to live up to. But are you putting more stress on yourself than is realistic in order to achieve such a prestigious title?
Is It Too Much?
Time’s Healthland reports that a study done by University of Washington sociology graduate student, Katrina Leupp took a look at what makes for a happy mom when she’s attempting to juggle work and motherhood. She discovered that women who rejected the notion of “supermom” in favor of attempting to find a healthy balance experienced less symptoms of depression. She was quoted as saying “maybe knowing that you can almost have it all is the better way.” It would seem that setting realistic goals will serve moms better emotionally than aiming to achieve perfection.
Mother and Daughter by Paul J
Another study done by the American Sociological Review found that working mothers spent 10.5 hours more per week multitasking than working fathers. And as a result they experienced a greater sense of being stressed and overwhelmed. These mothers were often multitasking for extended period of time (i.e. from the moment they pick the children up from school until the kids are in bed). This ongoing strain on the brain triggers a stress response. When mothers combine the number of things that have to be accomplished with the desire to do them all in “supermom” fashion, it is undoubtedly exhausting.
Find Your Resources
The last thing you want to do as a mom is to try to do everything on your own. It truly is okay to ask for help. More than okay – it’s necessary. If you’re about to become a new mom, let go of the notion of being “perfect” and instead just try to do your best. There are so many resources at your fingertips and you should never hesitate to make use of them. There is help for every stage of motherhood so you never have to feel as though you are alone.
Take a Break
The best thing you can do for yourself and your family is to take a break from trying to be supermom. Once every other week or so, take a few hours just for yourself. Whether you choose to go on a date night with your partner, spend an evening out with the girls or grant yourself some “me-time” at the spa — you deserve a break. You might feel guilty at first that you aren’t home chasing after your kids or cooking dinner. But a little bit of self care goes a long way towards ensuring you have the energy and positive attitude to be the best mom you can be.
How Does Everyone Do It?
Mother by Arkansas ShutterBug
Mother of two and charity director Heather Trescases says it’s all about “learning to let things go” and “accepting you can’t do it all.” Sound easier said than done? Sure, these aren’t adjustment that will happen overnight but they are important concepts to keep in mind. In today’s world you’re going to come across countless parenting magazines and mommy blogs that show mothers achieving bountiful successes without batting an eyelash. And you moan to yourself “why can’t I make all my children’s clothes by hand” or “I wish I made my kids’ exquisite homemade lunches every day.” Try to avoid glorifying situations unrealistically.
There is no such thing as a perfect mother. Every woman excels at certain things and makes specific aspects of motherhood her focus. It isn’t possible to do everything. And that’s okay. Motherhood means juggling a lot of roles. You’re a counselor, an educator, an entertainer, a caregiver, a housekeeper, a chauffeur, a chef, a mediator and a supporter of your family. Not many people can claim they have that many tasks on the go! Being a supermom is about perspective. It’s about knowing what you can and can’t reasonably handle and accepting where and when compromises or concessions need to be made. You can only do your best. And so long as you’re doing that — you truly are a supermom!