A wannabe Super Mom hangs it up
I had an epiphany this morning. I am not Supermom and have given up on trying. Some point in the last couple of months I just gave up on trying to be Supermom.
At no point did I make a conscious decision. But I have hung up the never earned neon cape and matching unworn rhinestone adorned (yes, lead free) Spandex outfit (just waiting for me to lose the “baby weight”). It just sort of happened. I’ve been sliding towards mediocrity for quite awhile, and realized that the bottom isn’t so bad. It just means I don’t have to try so hard.
So, I’m no longer a wannabe Supermom. Instead, I’m . . . . wait for it . . . . I'm newly minted Mediocre Mom. Ta da!
And I’m much happier than I used to be.
For the longest time, I didn’t readily admit I was trying to be Supermom. I mean, I’m not the competitive mom type. I desperately tried not to participate in one upmanship discussions about how great my children are, coming up with off kilter one liners to get out of such discussions. You know – those discussions about how little Johnny was potty trained at 9 months (that’s great – I’m just hoping my son doesn’t need diapers packed for college since they will take up so much room) or little Ella spoke full sentences at 1 year (wonderful – I’m just glad my daughter’s first word wasn’t @$%!). I didn’t throw elaborate 1st or 2nd birthday parties. My children did not attend the “in” daycare or school or wear the latest fashions.
But I did have an ideal in my head of what a mom should be. My perfect ideal? The perfect mom keeps a clean but warm home, puts seemingly effortless home cooked meal on the table every night, keeps up with the laundry, has well mannered children, is always available to bake cupcakes or sew 25 costumes, and is involved in her children’s activities without losing herself in them. She is spontaneous – ready to whip up homemade play dough or come up with a fun activity on a rainy day. She is intelligent, well educated, and informed and has numerous outside interests and a great circle of girlfriends, but is also readily available for her children or her husband. She is happy and well adjusted. She keeps up the social calendar, writes thank you cards promptly, and gets out her holiday cards the first week of December.
Who the freaking hell am I kidding? How could I ever measure up to that Stepford woman? How could anyone? That is the ideal I have been trying to meet, and I suffer mightily by comparison. I just can’t do that. I don’t have that much energy. I work outside the home as a partner in a law firm. I also have been trying to grow a green consulting business. I have a book coming out this June, one that I wrote while watching my son play soccer and baseball. I'm not very good a juggling it all. Despite being raised to send out thank you cards, I still haven’t gotten them out. (I’m sorry if I owe you. I know it is rude. Please accept my apology.) If you are that ideal mom, I am amazed. And humbled. Sometime, fill me in on how you do it.
I just couldn’t do that. And I had to stop trying. More like I just kept realizing I couldn’t do it. I want to spend time with my children. Fun time – like making play dough or chalk or soap together. Making memories, not cleaning or cooking or sewing.
I also want to be a good partner and wife to my husband. This means I can’t be cranky and angry at the end of the day, worn out from the press of all the daily obligations. Of course, I'm not going to meet my husband at the door naked, swathed only in plastic wrap any time soon. To be honest, he'd just think I'd had an environmental break down since we don't use plastic wrap.
So what does that mean? That lots of stuff slides. The laundry isn’t always done. After baseball and karate practice on the same day, take out is much easier than cooking. Our home is clean not because I clean it but because we have a cleaning service. A green, aroma-therapy based cleaning service, yes, but a cleaning service nonetheless. I haven’t gotten out holiday cards the last two years.
So, I’ve turned in my costume. The cape got hung up. The wristlets sent off to the next mom. The Spandex is being recycled for somebody else. I’m going to do well the things that really make me happy and that my children will remember. I won’t sew my son’s costume for the annual Holiday pageant, but we will make popcorn balls or gingerbread houses together each year. I won’t make elaborate Valentine’s Day treats for my daughter’s class, but will help her set up her horses for their prancing parade. By not trying to do it all, I’ll be a better partner for my husband.
Does Mediocre Mom get a costume?