The most common question I hear when people find out that I’m a writer and mother of 4 is, “How do you do it all?”
I’ll tell you how: I don’t!!!
I often catch women saying something like this:
“I never have enough time.” Neither do I.
“I feel like I’m spinning in circles.” Yep, me too!
“I clean all the time, but I feel like I never get past the day’s worth of laundry and dishes.” So do I!!
One of the biggest threats to women today is ourselves and how we view other women. Surely this has been a problem over the centuries, but I know it has to be an escalated problem today with our social media options. This is what we see on our newsfeed:
Our friend’s perfect family photo.
Our neighbor’s healthy made-from-scratch dinner.
Our cousin’s perfect marriage.
Our sister’s stunning vacation shots.
Our old classmate’s remodeled kitchen.
Our homeschooling friend’s latest crafts with the kids.
Meanwhile . . .
We’re struggling to get everyone together for a family photo, much less have them in perfectly matched clothing minus the last minute stains.
We’re picking up takeout and stocking up on frozen pizzas.
While we normally get along, we haven’t exactly gotten over that last tiff with the hubby.
We forgot to bring our camera on vacation but had a blast anyway.
Not only is our kitchen in need of new flooring but the dishes are piling up, not in the sink, but on the STOVE! Because those specialized dishes that never make it into the dishwasher, yeah, it turns out they don’t wash themselves.
I’m convinced that one of the biggest problems we have is the ability to take everything we see at face value while focusing on our own shortcomings. We see the perfection in everyone’s lives because it’s what they broadcast so we assume that they have it all together in every other area as well. While on the flipside of that, we can’t help but note every area in our lives that is falling apart or falling behind.
Still not convinced? Let’s try a little experiment . . .
I LOVE to garden! Flower gardens are my favorite. I enjoy vegetable gardening as well. Corn, okra, pumpkin, squash, tomatoes, and peppers . . . I’ve grown them all and I’ve even canned pumpkin and butternut squash from my garden.
Now, I want you to picture my garden. What do you see? Seriously, take a moment to examine what you see in my garden.
Have you mentally examined my garden? If not, I’ll keep waiting . . . If you’re ready, let’s move on.
Now it’s your turn. I want you to picture your own garden. What’s in it? What’s it look like? What do you see?
Waiting . . . waiting . . .
Ok, if you’re ready, let’s compare:
When you imagined my garden, did you see weeds in my garden? Did you see bugs? Did you see half-eaten plants? Did you see animals stealing my veggies?
When you pictured your garden, did you see weeds? Did you see bugs? Did you see half-eaten plants? Did you see the pesky animals attacking your plants?
I’m not a mind reader, but I have a feeling the majority of you saw perfection in my garden while you were immediately reminded of the trouble areas in your own garden. Why is that? You were willing to see perfection in me, assuming that since I’ve done such-and-such that I must have it together in this area as well. Meanwhile, you couldn’t overlook your trouble areas. Why were you being unfair to yourself? Did you think weeds couldn’t grow outside of your yard?
Are you ready for a secret? Everything I wrote about my garden was absolutely true! I DO love to garden. Flower gardens ARE my favorite. I really did grow all of those veggies in my backyard and I have canned the winter squashes. But do you want to know something else? I’ve been too busy the last 4 summers so I haven’t even attempted a garden of any sort. I canned pumpkin one year and loved it, except that I found a black widow spider on one of the pumpkins and haven’t been too keyed up on growing anymore since then. (Judge me if you want. 😉 ) As much as I ADORE flower gardens and it would be my dream to have a really large one that you can walk through and even sit in, I CANNOT grow flowers!!!!! They die. They die so often, that one day when my son was reading his Bible he turned to me and said that I must be related to Cain since my plants are cursed!! LOL I often joke and tell people that I can grow kids and veggies but I can’t grow flowers. As for the vegetable garden . . . no matter how many times I promise myself that I’ll stay on top of the weeds before I know it, the garden is overrun and I’ve given up trying. It’s one of the reasons I stopped gardening. I was tired of seeing the weeds.
Did that little experiment open your eyes to your faulty viewpoint? But now what do you do about it? How do you become the Supermom you were striving for?
You become the Supermom by realizing that there is no such thing.
How do I do it all? Simple: I don’t.
The moment you understand that what you experience on a day to day basis IS normal is the day you set yourself free from this damaging cycle. We put so much pressure on ourselves to measure up to a standard that doesn’t even exist.
Yes, I have four kids. Yes, I work from home. Yes, I have a hectic ball schedule to keep up with while raising 3 boys. But I also have kids that fight. Children that disobey or disrespect. I have a stash of paper plates that I never let run empty. I have frozen pizza on my weekly grocery list. I know which drive-thru window is the fastest in my town. I have a laundry pile that, at times, is taller than my 6-year-old. (And, no, I’m not joking.) Yes, I often have a precarious stack of dishes on the stove that has to be hand-washed. Yes, I feel like I’m falling behind on life. Yes, I lose my keys more times than I can count. Yes, I forget things. No, I don’t get to volunteer at the school like I imagined myself doing. Yes, there are days when I lose my temper. Yes, there are days when I feel like I’ve wasted entire hours of my day. Yes, there are days when I look around and wonder what I had cleaned because I remember doing it but can’t see the results. Yes, I cut corners where I can to save time or my sanity. And, no, I don’t feel bad about that.
I’m not a Supermom because I do everything. I’m a Supermom because I keep getting up in the morning and trying again.
I encourage you to stop judging yourself so harshly. Stop feeling guilty about not checking off every box that YOU set down on your to-do list. Instead, seek God each and every morning. Seek Him each hour. Ask Him to direct your steps that day and put you where HE wants you to serve. If that means, you sit on the couch all day long and watch reruns of Mickey Mouse with your sick child, then don’t let those dirty dishes make you feel guilty about that. Be where GOD wants you to be and stop stressing over what you think you needed to do. Doubt and guilt don’t come from God. God gives us peace, love, and joy. So seek Him and rest, knowing that you’re doing exactly what He wanted from you on that day.
If you trace this problem back far enough, you’ll find pride at the root of it. Is it not pride that urges you to meet the standards of those around you? So treat this as the sin that it is.
It’s time to repent, ladies. I promise you, the moment you do, you’ll find freedom.
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6 thoughts on “The Truth Behind the SuperMom”
This….. I literally have tears running down my face. I don’t let people come to my house because I know it doesn’t “live up to standards.” I never seem to find time to get everything done because I take to heart some advice that my mom gave me when I moved out. She told me that when she was first married, she missed out on a lot of fun, because instead of going out with her friends, she would stay home and clean house. She told me not to make the same mistake, that if I had a chance to do something I enjoyed, to go do it and the housework would still be there when I got back. She said that when I was too old to go have fun, I could stay home and have a spotless house, but until then to go make memories. I still feel guilty about it though, so I don’t ever invite people over. But this morning, instead of putting dishes in the dishwasher, I did my Bible reading for the day. I’ll take care of the dishes tonight….or tomorrow! LOL
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Awww It means a lot to me that this message has touched your heart.
And I agree with your mom. Sometimes there really are more important places to be. I’m SO glad you chose Bible study over dishes. That will always be more important.
The key to balance is to seek God each day and each hour. There’s only so much of you to go around. Seek Him to know where He wants you to serve that day/that hour. Understand that where you serve today may not be where you serve tomorrow. Stay faithful to what He wants you to do and don’t let anyone make feel guilty for not getting around to everything else. Being where He wanted you to be is priceless.
Great words, Anita. Seriously, we must gardening twins…and I don’t have the excuse of four kids at home.
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LOL Gardening twins! I love it, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who suffers from it.
You know, the friend who had sparked this entire chain of revelation didn’t have kids either. I’ll never forget the day she said, “I feel like I can’t get past the day’s worth of dishes and laundry to clean anything else.” It was such a powerful statement because I had felt the same way but was home all day with the kids. That’s when I realized that if she felt the same as me and we had completely different homes then there was more to it than just a “me” problem. That’s when I began picking up on the fact that so many other women were saying the same thing and every single one of us thought we were the only ones.
Lol Back to gardening, I’m thinking of giving the flowers another go. I say that now, but we’ll see what happens come spring. 😉
Great post, Anita. Even as a single lady there’s comparison to other singles. No, I don’t have it all together but I’m who God made. I could relate to the garden. I’ll gladly help relatives with their flowerbeds while mine are neglected often times. It’s more fun helping others no matter the task. God’s blessings and you are a supermom with all you do. Everyone has their inner stuggles no matter what they may put out there on social media. No one is perfect except for Jesus Christ. Hugs and prayers with your writing and being a special mother to the children God has blessed you with.
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Thank you so much!! And you’re absolutely right. Well said!