I am not very domestic, but I am great at communicating. So, to me, the perfect mom swoops in and saves the day with freshly baked cookies and a perfectly clean house.
Merriam Webster (online) defines Super Mom as “an exemplary mother.” I know her as the girl with a sparkling house and sparkling kids. They have schedules and probably some kind of weekly menu hanging from the fridge — and it’s not from 2014 like the one I just took down.
But you know, as I live each day with good intentions and an ever-growing love for the same people who drive me nuts, I have started to realize something.
Super mom is a sham. That’s right, she’s a straight-up myth.
We all have different versions of who an “exemplary mother” is — and for many of us, she is everything we aren’t.
I am not very domestic, but I am great at communicating. So, to me, the perfect mom swoops in and saves the day with freshly baked cookies and a perfectly clean house. On the flip side, the ultra-domestic mom who struggles with talking to her kids, covets a totally different version of motherhood than I do.
Because we always seem to want what we don’t have.
Why can’t we ever just be happy with ourselves? I honestly want to be, because constantly feeling inadequate makes me grouchy — and no one likes grouchy mom. So instead of trying to become someone else, I am instead learning to become the best version of me.
And let me tell you, it’s a sloppy, somewhat fat, almost forty-year old woman who can’t cook without the kids contemplating whether to evacuate the house or head to the table for dinner.
Many days I feel overwhelmed by the messes of two kids, two dogs, two birds, (Duncans come in pairs) and one husband, whose collaborative mission to sabotage my efforts sometimes leave me frustrated and hopeless.
But I have somehow managed to create a loose morning schedule, and it has really helped.
First, I stumble to the coffee pot and try to remember all the steps to transforming the dark grounds into liquid gold. Once, for some awful reason that I can’t remember, this was all happening before 6 a.m., and as I stood there staring aimlessly at it while drooling into my favorite “Hold on While I Overthink This” coffee cup, Shawn ran into the room.
“Is the coffee pot on fire?”
Smoke filled the kitchen and a burning scent filled my nostrils. Until that point, I had never burnt coffee — I almost cried. Once we added water though, my daily routine got back on track.
Like I said the routine is loose.
Second, and with my cup in hand, I clean out the dishwasher while the kids eat breakfast. This small thing is one of the best habits I have created since the dawn of my days as a mom. As we chat about what is coming up for the day — whether it be school or a day at home — or discuss a morning devotional, I can get the kitchen prepared for the day to come.
Honestly, that is the most productive sentence I have ever written.
Third, I put a load of laundry in and take the clothes in the dryer and literally wad up them up on top of it until three days later when I put them all away except the ones I stick back in the dryer because they are now a wrinkled mess.
Take note — laundry will one day be the death of me.
Fourth, and after taking the boys to school during the year, I come home and pick up around the living and dining room (and still drinking the coffee) before sitting at my laptop to write.
And that’s it. It works for me most days. I think the key is giving ourselves and others (moms can be hard on one another) the chance to figure out what works for her and go with it — even if it’s a little unconventional.
A perfect house doesn’t make a perfect mom, and neither does any other kind of standard we hold ourselves to. Every mom I know is different with unique strengths and struggles her own, but we all share one thing.
We are all perfectly suited to love and care for our own children, in our own way. So in that aspect, Super Mom does exist — we are all her.