I’ll happily admit I am one of those people who want to be in control, all of the time. As mother’s we want to juggle every ball life throws at us with serenity and precision. We all want our kids to think of us as super mum. I have spent many years trying to be a perfect mother at the cost of my well-being. The truth is, there is no such thing as a perfect mother. Being a super mum isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The desire to be super mum often means we miss out on the ordinary but wonderful moments with our children.
Finding the balance is something I have discussed previously here on the blog.
It’s really hard to not buckle under the pressures of the modern world. Social media promotes stereotypical perceptions of mothers which have the ability to make us feel useless and inadequate. We end up over compensating, trying to be the Mum that the world expects us to be. Some call it being a helicopter mum, a mum who is always hovering over her children, planning activities and days out leaving very little time for what truly matters. I prefer to call this particular predicament Super Mum Syndrome.
Super Mum Syndrome may not seem like such a bad thing, but in my experience it can be incredibly damaging. I have struggled with perfectionism in the past, I thought I had overcome it. Until recently I didn’t think it was possible to be a perfectionist when it comes to motherhood, but it is. I’ve spent years trying to be the best Mum I can be at the cost of my own mental health.
From dawn until dusk I’d put the children’s wants and needs before my own.
I’d skip meals in order to be able to afford to make them homemade meals every night of the week. They’d always have nice clothes and new toys, even if they didn’t need them. I was permanently exhausted. I wasn’t caring for myself. In my head I believed that as long as I was being what I thought was the best mum I could be, then it was worth it. Putting your child’s wants and needs before your own is a perfectly natural part of being a parent, but we often forget that our children want and need a parent who is calm and healthy.
I have always promoted self-care, especially for mothers, but I always forget to indulge in a little self-care myself. Self care is as simple as running a lovely hot bath or taking up a hobby. All I needed to do was put down the iron and have fun with my children but instead I let my anxiety about being super mum take over.
It’s taken over seven years and two children for me to realise that they are just as happy with a bike ride to the park as they are a trip to the cinema. They don’t need the latest toy, because they already have boxes upon boxes full to the brim with toys. Of course they love going to new places, seeing friends and owning items they’ve seen in their favourite YouTube videos, but they also love me. They love me, their Mummy, not Mummy the children’s event planner or Mummy the crafting extraordinaire.
Our children enter this world without expectations. Why do we feel like we have to meet a set standard as parents?
Letting go of my perception of what it means to be a super mum feels like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Of course I will always be the one who surprises them with something new or organises play-dates, but now I know that if I don’t, that is okay. I realise now that if I don’t look after myself, then I can’t be the mother I know I am capable of being. I’ve accepted that staying indoors all day long is acceptable, as is using a shop bought Bolognese sauce rather than organic pressed tomatoes…
If you’re a mum who feels the irrepressible need to be super mum, the first thing I’d like to say to you is, your awesome. We feel that need because we love our children more than words can say. We want their little worlds to be nothing short of perfect. Good mum’s want the best for their children, but you need to remember that our children need the best of us.
It’s vital that we learn to accept what is quite frankly impossible. We need to shun the seemingly perfect perceptions social media and the modern world creates.