I’m tired. And achy. My head has been hurting for weeks. My muscles are tight, and my neck is stiff. My eyes are dark and my skin is pale. My fists are always balled up, my neck is in knots, and my shoulders are in a permanent upward shrug. Yes, I have lupus but, there’s another chronic illness to blame.
My husband, with his fancy medical degree and keen diagnostic capabilities, assessed my frazzled condition and determined that I suffer from a very common affliction. You may be plagued with the same disorder and struggle with the same addiction without even realizing what has come over you.
Super-Mom Syndrome is wearing me down, but I refuse to hang up my cape.
I can’t. I won’t. I refuse.
I “know” I can’t do it all. I encourage other moms to stop trying to do it all. I preach against the dangers of trying to do it all …. all while shoving my cape under my coat, so no one can see that I’m a mom struggling to do it all.
I’m a hypocrite. A fraud. A backsliding Pharisee disguised as a mom who knows her own limitations. It’s so embarrassing. Last year I even wrote an article called 5 Reasons Why I’m Hanging Up My Super-Mom Cape in 2018. I had the best of intentions, but I have failed miserably.
And do you know why I’ve failed? Because I have 7 people in my house who I would literally give my life for, and I realize that it is an honor and a privilege to live my life for them every day.
I’m a homeschooling mama of five kids (with a part-time bonus kid for the summer), and I’m married to a wounded warrior. I have a daughter with cancer, and I have lupus. I’m the co-director of a homeschool co-op, the treasurer of an international ministry, an entrepreneur with two business startups, a Bible study leader, and a contributor to this blog. Oh yeah, and I like to write most of the curriculum for our co-op, too. I go to more doctor visits in one month than most people go to in a year if not longer. My kids go to youth group and piano lessons and guitar lessons and gymnastics. I love to make homemade meals. And believe it or not, my husband and I usually go on a date once a week.
I. Am. Super-Mom.
I am no longer ashamed to say that I’m a mom who struggles to do it all because I know that it’s only by the grace of God that I’m able to do anything at all. My doctors predicted my death 19 years ago, yet here I am. So, if I have the opportunity to get out of bed in the morning, I have every intention of living my life to the fullest- even if it means knotted muscles and puffy eyes.
I live in a country where I’m allowed to be anything I want to be, and I owe it to those who have secured those rights to reach for the stars and live out my dreams. I owe it to my children to show them how to “do it scared” and never let fear get in the way.
“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.” ~Sir Richard Branson
When my kids are grown I want them to remember that their mama loved to feed them, so I will continue to bake the cakes and cinnamon rolls and the homemade bread. I want them to remember that I have always had their backs, so I will continue to fight with the insurance company and advocate for their best care. I want them to remember that I believed they could do anything, so I will continue to take them to gymnastics and guitar lessons and piano. I want them to have developed a passion for learning, so I will continue educating them in our home, and I will continue learning right beside them. I want them to know that a good marriage takes commitment, so I will keep continue to date their father and find ways to show how much I love him every day.
I want them to know that life is what we make of it, not what we were given, so I will continue to serve others and love others, and work hard to accomplish my goals.
I want them to know that I love them fiercely with my entire being, so I will continue to give them 150% of the time, energy, and resources that I posses.
Let me make one point clear: It’s taken me 20 years to learn how to juggle this mom life, and I still drop the ball all the time. I mean, all. the. time.
I remember when I was still a new mama with 2 kids under the age of 2. My husband worked with a woman who was about 15 years older than us, and he would come home talking about how she worked full-time as a nurse and grew her own vegetables and canned her own salsa while baking snacks for the staff at work and serving on the PTA of her child’s school. I hated her, and I had never even met her. My husband looked around our cluttered house at the piles of laundry in the dining room (yes, I said dining room) and the frozen pizzas in our freezer and the kids who were running around in diapers, and I just knew that I was failing him. I was failing all of them.
Looking back on those years, I am SO proud of who I was as a mom. I paled in comparison to that Super-Mom my husband worked with, but I realize now that she was older and her children were older and comparing her life to mine is like comparing apples to oranges. Comparing my life to yours is the same way.
When I was a young mom, I kept my kids alive, fed, clothed, and cared for. I read books and sang songs and took walks. I rocked those babies and carried those babies. I prayed over those babies and cried over those babies. I lost so much sleep, and I gained so much weight. And I did it all for them. That made me a Super-Mom. I just didn’t see it because I was comparing my apples to someone else’s oranges. I was so busy admiring her cape that I didn’t see my own.
You might be someone who has fallen into that comparison trap, too. If you have, let me tell you, my friend – you are a good mama. Your oranges look different than my apples and that’s something to celebrate, not to look down on.
While I’m shuffling kids to music lessons, you might be wearing spit up on the shirt you’ve worn the past two days and that makes us both awesome. Maybe you’re an older mom with older kids, and you feel like you’re drowning. I’ve been there, too. (This week, in fact.) Our failures and shortcomings have no effect on our Super-Mom status. Our hearts do.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an older mom, a younger mom, a mom of one child, a mom of ten, a stepmom, an adopted mom, a physically disabled mom, a Cross Fit mom, a working mom, a stay-at-home mom, a military mom or a civilian mom- the fact that you’re even reading this blog shows that you truly care about being a mom, and whether you were looking for a few laughs or a word of encouragement, I hope you realize that you are not alone and that you are something truly special.
Loving our kids is what makes us a Super-Mom. Doing everything that we can to make the world a better for them gives us definite super hero status.
Super-Mom Syndrome is wearing me down, but I refuse to hang up my cape. I will mend it’s tattered edges, iron on a bigger Super-Mom emblem, and bedazzle the crap out of it, but I will not hang it up.
Super-Mom Syndrome might be wearing you down, too, but I have to urge you not to give up. Keep pushing through. Give yourself grace. Celebrate the victories and the milestones. Accept your own limitations. But never EVER think less of yourself.
I. Am. Super-Mom. You. Are. Super-Mom. And together, we make the world a better place for our children.