The term supermom has become a badge of honor for some moms. In an effort to do it all, they attempt to balance work, home, a social life, personal time, relationship building, time with kids, hobbies, and other things. But as many have discovered, this is not how to parent effectively. These moms, as heroic as their intents may be, collapse exhausted into bed each night and try again the next day. I believe there may be a better way.
Mom’s most important job is her kids, no question in my mind. But to both parent effectively and live a full, rich life is a daunting proposition. If a mother forsakes everything besides parenting and places that role above all else, her health and well-being will suffer. In addition, her relationships can suffer as her identity becomes tightly integrated with those of her children. Mom needs these other activities in her life to maintain her physical and emotional health.
With this in mind, I have a few suggestions that will help Mom maintain her status as supermom and improve these other areas of her life. Some of these come from Dr. Meg Meeker’s book, The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers, available from Amazon at no additional cost to you on my Resource page.
Implement the principle of batch processing. Instead of trying to do a little bit of all these things each day, pick and choose things that don’t need daily attention. Take those things and carve out a time, maybe once a week, once or twice a month, or whatever makes sense and defer those activities till then. Maybe this is hobby time, or time with your girlfriends, but there simply isn’t enough time in the day to do all of these things.
Offload some of the burden onto Dad. Dad is part of the equation too and he knows how to parent and take care of your kids. Set aside some of that time for yourself and let Dad be involved in the kid’s lives. The more Dad does with the kids, the more they will respect and look up to him.
But pay close attention to your relationship with Dad. Someday you and your husband will be alone once your children all leave home. Be sure to nurture your relationship with him. Speaking from the husband’s perspective, we are generally low maintenance so it doesn’t take a lot, but we like to feel respected and appreciated.
Some days will be better than others. I face this same issue at work. There are times I leave the office at the end of the day feeling like I’ve conquered the world and there are other days when I feel like an abysmal failure. I am sure that mothers feel the same way sometime and bear the weight of the world on their shoulders as a parent. Hang in there and persevere, and don’t let one bad day (or string of days) define who you are as a mother. Whatever remains incomplete today will be there tomorrow.
Network and find like-minded friends. Nothing is more discouraging than having friends who criticize your every move or more frustrating than sharing your challenges with your single, childless friends. Find one or two ladies with similar family situations who will support you, encourage you, and hold you accountable when you need it the most.
Take a breather. Moms need margin in their lives. Incorporating some down time as a parent is critical to better living. By emptying your schedule and ignoring the to-do list, you create opportunities to just enjoy life and be there in the moment. And don’t overlook the value of a good night’s sleep. Your health depends on it.
These are my ideas for Mom on better parenting without feeling like you have to do it all. In short, a balanced life doesn’t require that all areas of your life need attention every day. But over time, a nice balance needs to exist for all parents to have a meaningful, fulfilling life. I know you guys have other principles that have worked well for you. What are your thoughts and ideas?
Application Question: Do you feel like Supermom? Do you think that you have to do everything in order for it to be done correctly? Are other areas of your life suffering as a result?
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