So Long, Supermom
Saying Good-bye to the Lie We’ve All Been Sold
Supermom. Have you seen her? Have you met her? It sure seems like she is everywhere these days. I don’t know about you, but there is no way I can live up to her standards. I see her posts on Pinterest. She’s the one collecting dozens of recipes for the perfect birthday cake. And then she has actually creates them! I’ve seen her on my Facebook feed. She lives a near perfect life. No. She lives literally a perfect life. Or so it seems. Her house is always clean, neat, tidy, organized. Her kid’s hair is done perfectly. All the time. Their outfits are color coordinated in the newest styles straight out of the Gymboree catalog. Her kids eat ONLY organic everything that is freshly grown from her very own garden which is growing in her backyard. Speaking of meals – they are all gourmet. Nothing comes prepared at her table. Somehow all of her young kids are just perfect. They don’t throw temper tantrums. They potty train at 18 months. They don’t sneak around the house and get into trouble. They are tiny little angels. And the birthday parties. The birthday parties are extraordinary. Bounce houses, clowns, barn animals, cotton candy. You name it – she has hosted it. Pure perfection. Yup. That is the Supermom I know.
Maybe Supermom’s kids are grown. That doesn’t matter because she loves to remind you of how perfectly her kids behaved. Or maybe how perfectly she dealt with their imperfection. She knows everything there is to know about motherhood. Her children might be 25 years old but she has all the answers and you don’t. You can’t possibly know how to handle your kids because right now your kids are a mess. And hers? Well, they aren’t. It doesn’t matter that life has changed drastically each year since her children grew out of diapers. We have the tummy time, side to sleep, the back to sleep, formula is best, breast is best, bassinets, cribs, slings and swings, hard sole shoes, soft sole shoes, solids at 6 weeks, solids at 4 months, solids at 6 months, no car seats, infant seats, boosters until age 8, backwards facing until they can hold a conversation and beg to be turned around, cloth diapers, disposable diapers, cloth again. The information thrown at mothers is ridiculous. And it is always changing. You may have two babies 15 months a part and I can almost guarantee you that the information they share with you at the hospital on how to take care of your new infant will be slightly different between the two children. The world is always turning and what is considered “right” or “best” in parenthood is too. How can we keep up? What’s more: how can Supermom? But she can – she always will.
Here is the problem with Supermom: It is impossible to compete with her. Want to know a secret? Sometimes my toddler screams and yells in public. Sometimes even in the grocery store in the middle of the checkout lane the toddler throws a temper tantrum. We’ve had those days where at least one of my kids got in the car and forgot to wear shoes. To church. I’ve had days of backwards clothes, mismatched socks, hair that was not brushed, and one too many frozen pizzas from Costco. It’s not easy to compete with her because my life is busy and hectic and though I try my best, I’ve gone to bed with a sink full of dishes even as the piles of laundry grow. I’ve had to handle 4 sick kids at 9 months pregnant and dealt with more sleepless nights than I can remember. Life as a mom is messy. It doesn’t matter if your kids are 2 months old or 12 years. You are going to have bad days. You might have a whole string of bad days. You might be in a busy season where the crazy days leak into restless nights.
Here is another problem with Supermom. You can’t believe everything she says. She lies. Her Facebook page is an illusion of what really happens in her life. Sure, she has some good days. Don’t we all? She has bad days too – she’s just not sharing that piece of information. She might tell you stories of how she knows the best way to change a diaper, the best age to start solids, why you shouldn’t use that brand of pacifiers, the cleaning products that are all wrong, why her kid’s extracurriculars are superior to your’s and even what dog is the best to own. She’s not sharing her opinion but she’s pushing it. Not in kindness but in arrogance. She is kidding herself, if she truly believes she has figured it all out. As James warns us,
Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
Here is what we need to remember. Whether or not Supermom is the complex we have imagined because of our own perceived weaknesses or the truth that we see coming from others, we need to be truthful. Honest. We need to be transparent with one another. Looking up the definition of transparent, I found the meaning to be “allowing light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen.” We need to be so transparent in our daily life that God can shine His light through us so that other’s may see what is keeping us going. We need to show other’s Jesus. People that truly know me, know that I’m no supermom. I try my best – but my best will never be good enough on its own. I’m thankful that God, because He will give us much more than we can handle, is equipped to carry us through whatever trial we are currently facing. Psalm 68:19 says,
“Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms.” Psalm 68:19
How profound! He has been carrying me through this journey called motherhood. I could not have walked this alone. The more children I’ve had, I’ve learned that it is not about me. It isn’t me at all. It is God using my brokenness to fulfill His purpose. That is a beautiful thing. Homeschooling and keeping up with 6 young children is hard work. Having a child with a disability is incredibly difficult. Juggling the day to day activities that my children are involved with while maintaining a
pristine home and homeschooling them is a feat not for the faint of heart. There are plenty of days when I’m defeated. Truth be told we all are. We are not meant to carry this weight on our own. So we run to God. But we must also share our burdens with our sisters in Christ. Galatians 6:2-3 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.” Let’s be honest with each other. Let’s show others what has us down so that they may lift us up in prayer. We need to say good-bye to the Supermom complex – both in being her and in thinking we know her. Because both are untrue. We’ve been sold a lie. So, first let’s face that reality and then let’s show ours. Let’s meet others with the love of God. And as Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 10:17, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Read my follow up here: Mommy Wars Mayhem.