Super Mom Syndrome is the delusional belief held by a mother that she is capable of doing all things for all the people in her life at all times while perfectly managing herself. I know… It’s sounds absolutely ridiculous when you actually read it out loud but so many of us suffer from this, myself included. We are forever chasing the elusive dream of accomplishing everything perfectly with smiling children in tow. Then, when we can’t get it all done perfectly, we suffer the torturous low of unnecessary mom guilt. Why do we place this ridiculous level of expectations on ourselves? What is it about motherhood that makes us think we are suddenly capable of doing everything for everyone???
Super Mom syndrome shows up in so many different ways… Saying yes to something you know you really don’t have the time for or don’t even want to do in the first place like joining the PTA or volunteering to make the hats for the school play. Planning over the top, themed birthday parties for your toddler that they will only remember through the pictures. Or even just attempting to make a home cooked meal from scratch and clean the house while trying to contain wily children. Of course, all while sticking to a regular exercise schedule, looking fabulous, keeping up with work obligations and maintaining happy relationships. Hahahaha!
If the stars manage to perfectly align and you get a day where you are completely engaged with your kids, everybody manages to make it through without any tantrums or tears and you accomplish everything on the to-do list… you have won the motherhood lottery.
In today’s age of social media, images of the elusive super mom are thrown in our faces on a constant basis. Perfectly designed lunches, over the top birthday parties and impeccable mom style that can all be pulled off in just a few simple steps. We are all pinning, tweeting, facebooking and instagramming about how easy all of it is. We get these images of perfection in our heads and then we are constantly pushing ourselves to achieve what is practically unattainable. Meanwhile in every day real life, laundry and dishes piles up, baths are forgotten, to-do list go unchecked and Mommy is falling apart at the seams. We hide our imperfections and struggles like they are some terrible secret affliction we need to rid ourselves of. Meanwhile, we are suffering in silence because we are convinced we are the only mom out there struggling to keep it all together.
You are not alone because nobody is capable of doing it all and the biggest problem with Super Mom Syndrome is you are basically setting yourself up for burn out. And I say this from experience. We are all living different lives and we have different personalities, different energy levels and different amounts of patience and most of us manage most of the time. But, eventually the stress bubbles over and it’s only a matter of time before you crash and burn. Mommy brain kicks into full drive and the next thing you know your cell phone ends up in your dresser draw, your keys in the refrigerator and you are crying on the living room floor because you are late, you can’t find anything and you have hit your limit. Oh, wait, maybe that’s just me?
So I am asking you to give yourself a gift and cure yourself of Super Mom Syndrome. Ok, ok ok… maybe not cure but at least reduce its affect. So what’s the cure? Two words… NO and HELP! That’s right. You have to say no and mean it. No I can’t join the PTA, no I am not available for that commitment and no kids we can’t sign up for another activity. Then ask for help and actually accept it. Ask your partner to take the kids so you can have me-time, ask your kids to help with chores and learn to delegate what you can even if you have to pay for it (like laundry and cleaning). Your burden will lessen and you will gain some of your sanity. It will be a daily work in progress to not go back to your old habits but you will end up feeling more super by the day.
Elisha Beach is a stay-at-home mom to four kids and four step-kids…Yes, you read that right—eight kids. She is a wife, home cook, taxi driver, herder of children, terrible housekeeper and founder of The Mom Forum.
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