One of my most crippling attitudes is the super woman one. Maybe you’ve experienced that? A lot of baggage comes along with the “mom” job title. Baggage I didn’t even know I carried! I came into this tightly holding on to all that made me “me” before having kids. I held the belief that I needed to “prove” to myself (and let’s be honest-to everyone else, too) that I could “do it all” without anyone’s help. I was super woman.
Lately I have had multiple occasions for reflection as life has thrown some unexpected curve balls, as it tends to do. I’m grateful for the way I’ve been kind of smacked in the face and forced to look at what matters most to me in life. Realizing priorities carry a natural “weeding out” process. A “letting go” of the attitudes that are not bringing purpose and meaning to my life. And therein lies my challenge….
I had the most beautiful set up as a new mom (because hindsight is 20/20). My husband and I moved into my in-law’s and started saving for a house of our own. We brought that first new baby back to their house and I had an army of support – which I immediately and repeatedly rejected. How foolish?! I know. Well, now I know. But seven years ago I was under the impression that I had to show myself that I could do it without them. They “wouldn’t always be around” and “they already did this with their own kids.” When I think back about how many more uninterrupted showers I could have enjoyed or how many more date nights we could have taken advantage of, I hang my head! More than that, when I think about the opportunity I stole from others to show their genuine love for me and our new baby, and to develop a relationship with her from the earliest moments of her life…that part really hurts.
Another baby came fifteen months after our first. So did life in an old house that we moved into before that next baby came to live on the outside of my belly. We still had a rather new marriage and faced challenges we hadn’t planned for. I started to learn, slowly, to let others in, and to accept help. Well, kind of. I let you help me if you did it my way. So I moved from a posture of “I can do it myself” to “Hey! Can I get a little help around here? NO! Not like that!” I can see how this was confusing to my husband and intimidating to anyone else that considered still trying to be my friend. Parenthood gets lonely in this lane and as the months and years began to pass, I had a startling realization:
My kids need more than just me. They need to learn “ways” other than just mine.
Well, even if they didn’t need to at this young age, it was the realization that, in time, they will learn other ideas that I do not bring to them and are out of my control. Maybe releasing some of the grip I hold so tightly now would bring a greater sense of ease and peace to life – however messy it may simultaneously make it. I discovered a sneaky arrogance that hid behind my attitudes about how much better things are when I am in charge of how they are done – from simple routines to discipline. I was expecting to raise children that approach life with a love that I was not showing them; one that has room to be wrong and to kindly consider that there are many more ways to see, do, and feel life.
I am allowing my mindset to transform from one of super woman into super mom. To me, super mom is a super hero because she understands the old adage “it takes a village. She’s not lazy or pawning off her work on others. Her greatest strength is that she realizes her own weaknesses and she’s letting her children be cared about by other strong women (and men) that possess what she doesn’t. She gives herself love by allowing herself to catch a break. She gives her children love by letting go a little bit and providing an opportunity to grow meaningful and deep relationships with other people that might do life a little differently. She is not threatened by or fearful of taking off her cape and allowing others to help her raise her children. After all, she knows that it takes the most strength to release her illusion of control.