Carla: Okay, I give. Uncle. I just can't do it anymore. I can't keep trying to be SuperMom.
I wasn't all that good at it to begin with. I've tried to be the perfect combination of devoted mom, conscientious employee, committed volunteer, trustworthy committee head, loving wife, solid Christian, helpful daughter, and caring friend, and have failed miserably on all fronts. But even if I had been able to pull all of that off, I'm not convinced any of us should.
I don't know where we get the idea that we have to be all things to all people. Maybe it's that we can't bear the pressure when the head of the pto calls and begs us to coordinate the cookie sales. Maybe we want the pastor to be impressed or we think there should be a children's choir and no one else will organize it. Maybe, maybe, maybe. I think we have plenty of legitimate, even noble, reasons for living under the illusion that we should be these women who can conquer any challenge and accomplish whatever we set out to do. But I don't think that's who God created us to be.
Caryn: It's funny because today is one of those days. I'm sick, my kids are crabby, and deadlines are pressing. Today I know I can barely be Semi-DecentMom let alone SuperMom! I've had enough of these kinds of "humbling" days that I learned long ago to give up on the idea of being SuperMom. At least of being someone else's idea of SuperMom.
If I do say so, I've done some super things in my life as a mom. They just might not be "super" on everybody's list. In fact, I'm pretty sure that as long as I keep bailing on Room Parent duty, as long as most rooms in my house stay messy, or as long as my kids are allowed to concoct their own outfits (for most things), I'll fall way short on many people's lists.
But you know what? There's only one SuperMom list any of us need to be concerned with. And it happens to be smothered in mom-grace. So we're good.
Carla: Grace. It's a SuperMom's kryptonite, and that's a good thing. It's what reminds us that we don't have to be impressive, that we don't have to follow some random rules about what motherhood should look like. Grace means we already matter to the One who matters most, our good, loving, and grace-filled God! So let's drop our capes, put down our halos, retire our medals, and let ourselves be the sometimes flawed, sometimes awesome moms God made us to be.
"Show proper respect to everyone."—1 Peter 2:17
My desire is that my children learn to be mindful of others. This Sunday I found my daughter bolting across the sanctuary in a full-blown game of tag. She was in hot pursuit of her friend and heading toward an unsuspecting couple. I stepped quickly into her path and squatted by her. I had her look closely at the others around her and think about the needs they had. She saw a mother carrying an infant and the elderly couple just ahead of her. It's not an easy thing to teach but it's worth the effort and repetition.
—Holly Hutchens, Wisconsin
How do you handle your hard-headed offspring?
Whenever my 15-year-old daughter asked for my input, she would often do the opposite of what I'd advised. I was frustrated and wondered why she bothered to ask my input at all. I came to realize my daughter wasn't intentionally trying to defy me. She needed to verbalize the situation out loud and then make her own decision, an important part of growing up. Now instead of giving my quick answer, I ask her first what she thinks is best. We discuss all the sides, and she comes to a conclusion that usually makes good sense.
—Beth Brewer, Ontario, Canada
What Makes Mom-ing Easier?
- Get a nanny
- Hire a housekeeper
- Wear a caffeine patch
- Hire an accountant
- Get a chauffeur
- Hire a private tutor
- Enjoy a weekly spa treatment
- Hire a personal chef
- Win the lottery so you can pay for all these great services
- Wake up because the daydream is over.
The kids are screaming, hungry, and naked, and the baby needs a new diaper asap. Being a mom is incredibly difficult.
Acknowledging that fact makes mom-ing just a little bit easier.
—Dianne Bright, California
A Spiritual Retreat
Perhaps one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is a weekend spiritual retreat. While it might take a tremendous effort to arrange your life so that you can get away for a few days, the chance to spend time alone with God is always worth it. There are all kinds of inexpensive (we're talking as low as $25-a-night) options for moms who want a place to rest, read, write, walk, pray, or just stare out the window for hours at a time.
With a little research, you can find anything from a private hermitage with a kitchenette and an outhouse, to a cozy cabin with a screened porch and hot shower, to a luxurious lodge with private rooms and gourmet meals prepared while you nap. Some facilities offer spiritual direction, Bible studies, and other programs to help you move into a deeper relationship with God. Others let you use the time any way you'd like.
And unlike a typical women's retreat, these solo experiences are all about making time to really wind down, connect with God, and get the peace and quiet we all need in our lives.
These websites can help you find the perfect place for your weekend—or more—of rest and renewal:
Carla Barnhill, mother of three, is author of The Myth of the Perfect Mother (Baker). Caryn Rivadeneira, also mother of three, is author of Mama's Got a Fake I.D. (WaterBrook Press).
Copyright © 2009 by the author or Christianity Today/Today's Christian Woman magazine.
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