Thursday, February 6, 2014

How to escape the "SUPERMOM" pressure

My dear friend, Kim, recently asked me an excellent question: how do we escape from feeling the pressure of being supermom? I love this question.

All you have to do is go on Pinterest for about 7 seconds before the tide of beautiful everything tries to pull you under. (At least for some of us.) There may be a fine line between being inspired and feeling inadequate.

I happen to be a special breed that does not have a competitive bone in my body. (When I play board games I actually often try to not win.) That, and I'm admittedly not very ambitious. I like simple days at home. And I'm pretty much anti-crafty--a reverse Midus Touch: would-be crafts crumble in my hands.

So between those two traits I can usually see a does-it-all perfectly put-together mom who has happy, well-behaved kids, and genuinely think, Wow, good for her!... I bet she's tired. Most of the time, I don't feel bogged down.

But sometimes, something does pull at my heartstrings. For forever, it was the dreaded exercising. I'll use this example to illustrate my thoughts on "the Supermom complex".

**I hear someone talking about their workout. In a split second, my brain subconsciously thinks:

  1. That's awesome, I wish I could do that/look like that.
  2. But I can't, that's not me. 
  3. I'm so _______  (insert frumpy, lazy, untalented, unambitious, unlucky, etc.) 
  4. Ensuing envy/guilt/resentment/self-pity and general inadequacy follows.**

So do we just ignore altogether those pulls of "try to do more, try to be better"? Maybe not entirely. Is there a way to escape the supermom complex and still try to be own our "super"?

Here's my inexpert suggestion:
What if we recognize those envious tugs. Then, immediately, we pull back and ask ourselves:

  What do I envy (admire) here?
  How could I make this my own?
  Could this make me happier?
  What steps do I need to get started?

Then try an experiment.

Example: I get together with a friend who, as always, has perfectly loose-spiraled gorgeous locks. My hair's tied back in a limp ponytail.

 1. That's awesome, I wish I could do that/look like that.
  2. But I can't, that's not me. 
  3. I'm so _______  ah, ah, aha! 
 2. What do I admire here? 
      She looks great and with-it.
 3. How could I make this my own? 
     I could get the haircut I've been wanting. 
     I could ask her how she does her hair and show me how. 
     I could look at other hairstyles online to see what would look good on my face.
4. Could this make me happier?
    Maybe so!
5. What steps do I need to take?
    Schedule appointment at salon.
    Watch youtube how-to videos on spiraling hair or ask my friend.
    Buy hairspray.
    Get up earlier to shower and get hair down before kids need me.

After implementing my experiment for awhile, I then reflect: 
   Does this make me happy? 
   Is it worth the time or hassle? 
   If yes, continue! If no, fuhgeddaboudit!

This is basically a full-proof plan (that I just came up with) to escape the Supermom pressure. In my estimation it could apply to guilt complexes about most everything: making more healthy, more gourmet meals, being better organized, keeping a cleaner house, doing more with kids, being more informed, being more knowledgable, being more social, being more with-it, and, of course, exercising. As far as creating better behaved children go, I make no promises whatsoever.

Afterword: A whole other element that grounds me is taking time daily to establish my spiritual health. It's harder to feel overwhelmed when I feel uplifted from the Word and directed by heavenly influence.

What do you do to combat the "supermom" pressures?


  1. I like that series of questions...especially the last one! I also like to ask myself: how long will this matter? (Essentially: how important is this inhe long run?) My investment will differ depending on if the answer is 10 hours, 10 days, or 10 years. That technique also helps me alleviate spontaneous stressful situations (I tend to stress out easily so I use it a lot, hah!).

    1. I love this insightful addition! This definitely puts perspective on the curling the hair scenario :). *adding this to my mental list* Thanks Charisse!


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