What is a Super Mom? Well, I suppose the term immediately calls up an image of a mother in a cape and power pose showing off her expert “mom” skills with perfect hair, perfect clothes, perfect kids, a perfect home and a perfect smile on her face. Not only is this terribly excessive and likely unattainable, it sets an unfair expectation of us as mothers. When did motherhood become a battle for who does it best? Who decided that overachieving at the expense of our own wellbeing & happiness was best for our children? I am not advocating that we give up on trying or be ashamed for doing more than what was asked of us. I simply suggest taking a step back to evaluate our goals as mothers and find the comfort zone where we, our children, and our families can thrive.
Let’s look at this another way. What is a mom? Literally speaking, a mother is the female contribution to a new human. However, we all know that being a mother to a child is far more than just giving him or her life. A mom is a caregiver, a friend, a teacher, a spiritual guide, a cook, a chauffeur, a nurse, a therapist, a housekeeper, a judge and even an imaginary-monster eradicator. How are we expected to be “super” at all of these tasks when each of these professions alone can require years of study and practice? If having to be proficient at everything without falter or resentment is what makes a Super Mom, then it is no wonder that tired, haggard mom-zombies have become the personification of modern motherhood.
Rather than trying to be the best at everything, it is time that we started seeing ourselves for what we really are… amateurs.
Rather than trying to be the best at everything, it is time that we started seeing ourselves for what we really are… amateurs. Now I know you want to be insulted and panic, but “amateur” is not what you may think. Amateur does not mean that you are not good at being a mom. Amateur does not mean that you are “less than” or inferior to “super moms.” I know that amateur has a negative connotation and implies incompetence or lack of skill; however, the word amateur is actually defined as a person engaging in a pursuit on an unpaid basis. Working hour after hour, day after day performing all the “mom” tasks noted above without pay? I say that definition hits the nail on the head. Coincidentally, the word amateur actually has French, Italian, and Latin origins and translates to “lover of.” Thus, an amateur Super Mom is actually just one in pursuit of being a super mom… out of love.
Now Amateur Super Moms, it is time to examine your priorities, stop trying to compete, and focus on what is best for you and your family. I must confess: I have a ton of mom guilt from not being able to do all of the things I see other mothers doing. When I ignore spirit days, lose my patience in public, can’t volunteer in the classroom, forget to pack my kid’s lunch, or didn’t have time to bake perfect homemade cupcakes for teacher appreciation day, I often feel like I am failing as a mother and believe that all the other moms are judging me. Honestly, it is likely that even if another mother does see these “failures,” they will likely forget moments later. They have enough going on in their own heads to worry about your problems. No one is keeping score. Let’s stop worrying about other’s opinions and let go of our mom guilt. What is important is that we are making sure that our family’s needs are met and giving our attention to the subjects that matter to us.
No two families are alike. Each family has different priorities, temperaments, interests and beliefs. Some moms thrive in a clean house with everything in its place, while others happily navigate their day through the chaos of a cluttered toy room with sticky floors. Whatever works for your family is what works. You are not better or worse than other families based on your schedules, possessions, workload, history or family dynamic. No matter how you rank school, fitness, sports, reading, faith, travel or other pursuits, one thing we all prioritize is family. Let’s focus on what our family needs & loves and not compare ourselves to the family down the street. An amateur super mom knows that every family is different and that is what makes them special.
Knowing how varied all families are, I must repeat what many a brilliant mom ahead of me has preached: stop the mom judgement! You have no idea what it is like to be that other mother. It is easy to say that “if you were her you wouldn’t…” Well, you aren’t her and she isn’t you. She lets her kids stay up until 10pm on a school night but you insist on keeping that 7pm lights out. So what?!? You wanted an epidural and she wanted an all-natural home birth. Who cares?!? We all have our opinions and want to tout our strengths and viewpoints. We may think other families’ needs must align with our own, but keep in mind that what works for your family might not coincide with another mom’s beliefs. Also, offering assistance or advice is very different than criticizing or shaming. Your parenting decisions are reflective of the priorities you set for your family. Unless you see behaviors that are bordering on legal abuse or neglect, it is best keep your opinions to yourself. We are all just amateurs doing our best each day. With the impossible list of tasks asked of moms these days, nobody needs to be criticized when they aren’t at their peak.
I am tired of comparing my worst days to other moms’ best, tired of spending my time planning our lives instead of experiencing them, and most importantly, tired of being tired! It is impossible to be the best at everything and failing to meet these expectations leaves us with so much mom guilt. Not keeping up with all that is expected of us does not make us failures. Worrying about our inadequacies does not benefit our children and is a huge waste of your time & mental energy. Taking care of yourself- mentally, emotionally, and physically- allows you to give more to your family. Mom guilt and stress are only going to bring you and your family down. I know that I am not the best at everything, so I am learning to lean on others for support when needed and learning to let go of things that aren’t important. After all, the efforts of an Amateur Super Mom are guided by love, not a desire to prove anything to anybody.
I believe that motherhood cannot be outlined. It is constantly evolving as our children age, as we learn, and as new priorities enter our lives. To be the best moms we can be is to be in a constant search of betterment. Not because we aren’t already amazing or to achieve perfection, but because the world is ever-changing. Each failure or aha moment provides us with new skills and insight to apply to our mothering. Trying to be accepting of ourselves, letting go of insecurities, seeking new experiences and learning to live in the present are all instruments in which we evolve into the best possible versions of ourselves, so that we may be the best possible examples for our children.
While constantly seeking betterment is a noble endeavor, the objective is not perfection. We don’t have to be perfect moms to be super moms to our kids.
While constantly seeking betterment is a noble endeavor, the objective is not perfection. We don’t have to be perfect moms to be super moms to our kids. I have had times where I kept effortlessly to my schedule for a full week- squeezing in appointments, library visits, playdates, homework, healthy meals and workouts without a single meltdown. Other times a single toddler tantrum derailed my entire day. Most days, I sing my way through the day, happily narrating what I am doing to the tune of a Daniel Tiger song. However, I have the occasional day where the vocabulary of my narration ends up much more colorful and not so kid friendly. When I have a “bad-mom day,” I give up on trying to accomplish anything off book. Survival mode kicks in and I just need to get through dinner and bedtime with the least amount of drama possible. Dishes, messes, and clutter become a problem for future me. During these “mom fails,” it is easy to let mom guilt slip in and feel defeated. As a newly branded Amateur Super Mom, I am learning to be more accepting of these moments of struggle, and I think of them as teaching moments. Teaching me how to be more prepared and teaching my kids how to manage their emotions and anxiety when faced with trials.
My goal in creating Amateur Super Mom is to reach out to all of those women and moms who want to learn from my super-mom moments, share their own triumphs, vent about the bad, and seek help in our struggles. Let’s stop pretending the picture-perfect moments shared on social media are representative of our lives on the whole. By all means, share those glorious moments; let’s just remember to embrace the negative aspects of parenting and how it shapes us as parents and human beings. I struggled quite a bit in early motherhood battling depression, anxiety and self-doubt. In overcoming my demons, I found happiness, confidence and a desire to help others. I’m hoping that we can learn from each other and evolve into the happiest, healthiest, best possible versions of ourselves. I want us to grow a community of moms committed to eliminating the social stigmas in motherhood and replacing them with empathy & acceptance.
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Amateur Super Mom is working to create a community of moms sharing their strengths, acknowledging others, accepting ourselves, and providing advice and resources for anyone struggling… all with a healthy dose of motivation and humor! Let’s learn to navigate motherhood together with positivity, acceptance, and humor!