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You gave up on the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and even Santa, but are you still holding on to your belief in Super Mom?
Occasionally, somehow, I must perpetuate the Super Mom Myth.
Maybe once in a while, on the outside, I look like I have it all together, like I know what I am doing, and like I have deep motherly wisdom to raise my angelic little crew. Hence, the Super Mom Myth.
I know this because constantly people ask me, “How do you do it?” Or they simply shake their heads and say, “I don’t know how you do it!”
Or sometimes they even say, “You must have a lot of patience,” or “You must be so organized!”
My Amazing Life
- I am a homeschool mom of seven amazing kids, ages 4 to 14. We adopted two of them from China a year ago. One has minor special needs that require regular visits to various specialists.
- I manage to feed, clothe, and bathe all my children on a regular basis. I chauffeur them to soccer, archery, field trips, Beta Club meetings, home school activities, doctor visits, dentist appointments, and more.
- I work part time as a youth minister as a small church in rural Mississippi. I plan weekly lessons, fund raisers, retreats, mission projects, and camps.
- I support my husband as his helpmate in his ministry as a father, pastor, and missions director.
- I pay our bills and prepare our taxes.
- And now, I am pursuing blogging as a business.
So, how do I do it?
(Can you hear me singing this in your head, complete with organ and four-part harmony?)
No one does it ALL and no one does it ALL WELL
all the time anytime. And that’s okay.
Maybe you know that mom who looks like she does.
I’m not really sure how I give some people get that impression. Sometimes, I don’t know how I will make it through another day.
I try to be transparent without sounding too desperate! But let me assure you, Super Mom is only a false perception, not reality.
Many people ask, “How do you do it,” but in the back of the mind of a young mother desperate to be Super Mom, is the question, “How can I do it, too?”
Most of those who ask believe 3 false assumptions that fuel the Super Mom Myth and feelings of insecurity that come with falling short of perfection.
False Assumption Number 1. I do it all.
First, I have a lot of help.
- My husband helps. A lot. My older children do, too.
- I do not do all the cooking, cleaning, bathing, dressing, or chauffeuring.
- My husband even checks schoolwork occasionally, though he usually keeps his role as principal and disciplinarian when needed!
- My parents and my friends also sometimes pitch in by babysitting, carpooling, tutoring, or just listening.
- Volunteers in my church help with youth events, transportation, and food.
- God helps me every moment, and especially when I think I just can’t do it anymore.
The Super Mom Myth says YOU should do it all.
Instead, realize it’s okay to ask for help, then ask!
Accept the grace (undeserved favor) of God and others.
9 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Second, some things just don’t get done.
On the weeks we really focus well on school, the house is a disaster. When I take time to plan ahead for youth ministry, my meal planning is last minute. When I am working on a blog post, I have less time for my husband and kids.
Choose your priorities.
- Confession #1: I am a pastor’s wife and youth minister, but I have not sang in the choir for a year. Right now it’s more important to sit with my 4, 5, and 6 year olds. I miss singing, and plan to resume eventually, but my primary ministry is to my family.
- Confession #2: I no longer feel the need to be present at every children’s practice or event. My calling is youth ministry. While I still try to be available when needed, that one hour of silence while all of the kids are at choir practice saves my sanity.
- Confession #3: I am a terrible housekeeper. If you pop in unannounced, enter at your own risk. You know I really count you my friend if I invite you over when I don’t have time to clean first. I really want to be organized, with kids’ chores and my household tasks planned and done everyday of the month, but more important things than dusting come up.
The Super Mom Myth says you should do it ALL.
Instead, decide it’s okay to leave some things undone. Depend on God’s grace to cover your insufficiency.
False Assumption Number 2: I do it well.
At the risk of disillusioning those of you who know me personally, but do not know me well enough to know this already . . .
Some days my answer to “How do you do it?” is “not very well.”
I firmly believe and try to teach my children the importance of doing one’s best because we are working for the Lord, rather than for men (Colossians 3:23). And I know “anything worth doing is worth doing well.”
However, reality does not allow everything to be done with excellence. Sometimes I do just enough to get by. Sometimes I really mess up.
- We have frozen pizza night on Wednesdays. It’s cheap and it makes cooking and cleaning easy before church.
- I quit matching the older kids’ socks. I throw them in a labeled box, and the kids can dig for their own when needed.
- I put off taxes until the week before they are due, then stay up all hours of the night to get them finished on time, but always plan to do better next year.
- Sometimes Little Caesar’s pizza is good enough for the homeschool potluck. We’re happy just to get there close to on time.
- I loose my temper and yell at my kids.
- I forget love is patient when explaining a math concept for the twelfth time.
- I speak without tact when annoyed or stressed.
- I neglect my husband when my mind is overrun by daily life.
The Super Mom Myth says you should do it all WELL.
Instead, know it’s okay to rely on grace rather than perfection. Only Jesus does all things well.
And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. Mark 7:37a
- Do your very best in the important things.
- Accept mediocrity in the things that are necessary, but not necessarily important.
- Ask for and extend both grace and forgiveness.
False Assumption Number 3: I know how I do it.
Often I don’t know what I am doing or how I do it.
Especially since I began parenting preteens and teenagers, I often ask my mom, “How did you do it?” (She only had one perfect child of three.)
Sometimes when I think about all I need to do for the day, or week, I become overwhelmed, I just want to sleep and do none of it. And, occasionally, sleeping late or taking a nap wins out.
Then, suddenly the week or month has flown by and I look back and wonder how we made it.
But we did make it. And usually, we did learn a little and have some fun along the way despite the chaos.
The Super Mom Myth says you should KNOW what you are doing.
Instead, when overwhelmed, ask God for wisdom and do the next thing.
- Make a plan (advice I am trying to take myself).
- Decide what needs to be done above all else.
- Do it first when possible.
- Trust God’s grace to help you through.
So how do I do it, really?
God’s grace is enough so . . .
Stop looking for Super Mom to show you how you are supposed to do it. She is not real.
Stop trying to be Super Mom. You can’t.
Aren’t you a little too old to still believe in Super Mom anyway?
How to Accept Grace as an Imperfect Christian Mom
- Don’t try to do it all by yourself. Ask for help.
- Don’t expect to do it all well. Set priorities. Accept grace for imperfection.
- Don’t despair when you don’t know how you do it. Depend on God’s wisdom.
Be the mom God called you to be. Extend God’s grace to your family, and trust His grace redeem your mistakes and sin.
You may not be Super Mom, but you can be a super mom anyway.
When I encounter people who just can’t understand how I do it and moms trying to figure out how do do it themselves, I want them to remember God’s grace is enough to do all He has called me to do, and His grace is enough for them as well.
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9