Monday, November 25, 2013

The Myth of SuperMom

I am not SuperMom.

Whew.  Now that I've gotten that little tidbit off my chest, allow me to continue.

I remember when Anna and Eli were younger and I wrote this post.  One of my friends sent me a message saying "I'm glad you wrote that.  I always thought you had everything together."

It broke my heart.  I want to be real.  I want to be honest about my struggles and the trials I face.  And so, I'm not SuperMom.

Not even close.

I imagine that SuperMom has everything together at all times, with all her children.

No, I am not SuperMom.

But I am their mom.

I'm the mom who's rushing my kids out the door, saying "Hurry up, we're going to be late."  I'm still in Mark's pajama pants, a t-shirt, with my hair sloppily pulled back into a ponytail, usually wearing my house shoes.  I imagine SuperMom would shake her finger at me and give me a good 'tisk, tisk, you should be ashamed of yourself."

But I am not SuperMom.

I am their mom.  And as their mom I have them to school on time, clean, dressed, with their lunches packed specifically how each of them like it.  And on a good day, there's a special note waiting in there for them.  And better yet, on extra good days, I go eat lunch with them.

I am the mom who has more on my plate than I know how to handle, yet I somehow find a way to manage it all.  Whether it's having a fussy Emi in the bouncy seat, Eli in the bathtub with shaving cream, and Anna in the hallway with me sitting between them going back and forth giving them each their spelling words to practice or reading with Eli while simultaneously feeding Emi and giving Anna a lecture about her attitude, I'm there.  Doing it.  Managing all that has to be done.  Doing reading and sight words and spelling words and sentences with Eli during Anna's volleyball practices while sitting on the cold gym floor painstakingly attempting to feed Emi carrots - re-feeding her the same bite 3 or 4 times until she gets the hang of it.  But I'm there - reciting sight words, listening to Eli read Froggy Builds A Treehouse, watching Anna practice, and soaking in sweet Emi's gummy carrot smiles.

I imagine that SuperMom would have such a strict routine that the baby would've already been fed and that all homework would've already been completed before practice while having dinner on the table so everyone could eat beforehand.

But I am not her.

I am their  mom.  And their mom pulls it all together and gets people where they need to be when they need to be there.  It's not always structured and pretty, but we get it done and have fun doing it.

I am the mom who puts on her favorite jacket, fresh out of the dryer, only to have Emi spit up all over me.... and then drop a spoonful of pureed peas on my jeans - the same pair of jeans I've been wearing for days because nothing else fits (yay!)... then walks out the door wearing those things because I just don't care anymore what people think.  I'm a mom.  I have kids.  I should look like it.  And if I don't, at this point in my life, then I'm spending entirely too much time worrying about myself and not taking care of my family.

I can only imagine that SuperMom is always put together, perfectly dressed, every hair in place, makeup impeccably applied, and that she looks down on people like me.

But I'm not her.

I'm their mom.  And as their mom, I care more about making it to their games on time than appearing all put together for the sake of appearances.

I have alarms set on my phone for basically everything because if I didn't, I no doubt would forget something.  I have an alarm for 6:30 that goes off every Monday - Friday alerting me to get up and get the kids ready for school.  I have an alarm set for 7:15 every morning to remind me to give Eli his medicine.  I have an alarm set to remind me that Anna has volleyball practice.  I have an alarm to remind me that Eli has occupational therapy.  I have an alarm reminding me that Eli has speech.  I have one telling me not to forget Anna has volleyball games.  I have another so I don't forget that Eli has speech again.  And finally, I have one set for every Monday - Friday reminding me that school is about to let out and to go get the kiddos.  Plus the alarm for Sundays so I can make it to church early to run through music ahead of time.

I'm sure SuperMom has an excellent memory and could juggle all of that and much more without a single pause.

But I'm not her.

I'm their mom.  And their mom needs reminders to stay on top of things and to get them everywhere they need to be.  And that's okay.

I'm the mom, who after Anna's volleyball practice, is walking outside with all 3 kids in tow only to find someone parked so close to the van that I can't walk in between the vehicles, much less with a car seat.  I exclaimed rather annoyed "What idiot parks so close I can't even get in the van?!" and then said idiot walks out from beside her vehicle.  I had to apologize to the kids when we got in the van (after climbing through from the passenger side to get Emi in her base) for saying a word I don't allow them to say.... and then spent the rest of the evening getting on to Eli for saying it.

Sure, SuperMom never would've been impatient and certainly wouldn't have called someone an idiot, especially in front of her kids.

But I'm not her.

I'm their mom.  And I fail.  Often.  Oh so often.  And I find myself apologizing to them.

I'm the mom who can't smell dirty diapers.  Never have been able to.  And so I rely on Anna to say "Eww!!  MOM!! Emi stinks." or hope that I'm starring at her cuteness and see her making her "poopy face".

Sure, go ahead.  You get the idea.... SuperMom would never need to rely on someone else to tell her.  Yeah Yeah.  Who cares.  I'm not her.

I'm their mom.  And this mom is real.

Real.  Like getting frustrated because Eli has certain textures he doesn't want to wear - like sweaters.  And then if it fits too snug or too loose, that bothers him too.  And so getting dressed every morning is an ordeal and I find my patience waning.  "Just get your clothes on!"  "We're going to be late."  "Why are your clothes still not on?!"  "No, I don't know where your belt is."  "Wherever you left it."  "I'm sorry you think this sweater doesn't fit right, please put it on anyway."  "Fine, just choose a shirt that doesn't bother you.  Anything!  I just need you dressed son!"

I'm sure SuperMom would have the perfect ideas to remedy this every morning.  I'm sure all her efforts would be successful and well received.

But I'm not her and I get frustrated and discouraged and oftentimes make matters worse by trying to rush him when rushing him only creates more anxiety.  There are days I just stop what I'm doing and get eye level with him and say something that I have to say often "I'm sorry.  Let's start over, okay?  Mommy is frustrated.  You're frustrated.  Let's work together.  Please put on your shirt."

Apologize? Psshh.  "For what?" says SuperMom.  Because SuperMom never makes mistakes and certainly wouldn't become upset with her son who has Autism/Aspergers and is easily upset by things that seem insignificant and minor to the rest of us.  No.  Not SuperMom.

But I'm not her.  And therefore I apologize and then spend a good portion of time thinking of ways that could make things easier for him.

Because I'm his mom.... their mom.

I'm the mom who wonders when I lost control of a situation.  Situations like sitting in the living room reading off sight words and spelling words to Eli to spell when something like this ensues:

Me: Ok.  Spell "thank".
Eli: T-h-a
Anna: n-k.
Me: Shh.  Let him do it.
Eli: n-k.
Me: Ok, spell "spank"
Eli: S-p
Me: Stop touching the nativity.  If you touch it again I'm going to s-p-a-n-k you.
Anna: What in the nut balls!?
Me: What on earth!?  Where did you hear that?  Don't ever say that aga...
Eli: s-p-a-n-k
Anna: What?  You say nuts!
Me: *to Eli* Next word "bank".  *to Anna* It's different.  You can say something is nuts.  You cannot say nut balls.
Eli: b-a-n
Me: Move away from the nativity!
Anna: But why is it different?
Me: It just is.  Don't ever say it again!
Eli: n-k
Me: No.  Only one "n", b-a-n-k.  Not b-a-n-n-k.

I'm fairly sure that SuperMom would never have a kid pick something up from school and say something inappropriate.  And certainly if they ever did, her look would immediately relay the message never to do it again.

But I'm not SuperMom.

I'm their mom.  And while I have the look that gets them in line, I'm also just real.  Life happens in this home and we take those instances and turn them into teaching moments.  Whether it's a legitimate sit down conversation or in the midst of the back and forth of homework, we use them to teach Biblical truths - truths like "do not let any unwholesome talk proceed from your mouth."  No, I'm not her, but that's okay.

I'm the mom engrossed in dirty diapers and spit up, letting the kids stay up late for movie and popcorn night, who reluctantly let them have pet chickens (don't ask), who cleans up cat vomit on the bathroom mat and lets them have and decorate their own Christmas trees, who takes them for treats for good grades and plays the piano to lull them to sleep.

No.  I'm not SuperMom.  But it's okay.  Everything doesn't have to be perfect and all together.  There's beauty in the chaos and I'm learning that more and more.

I'm busy painting pink rooms with trees and owls and birds and then a camo room with all things hunting, John Deere, and outdoorsy.  I'm stepping on Lego pieces and swimming in a sea of tiny socks and other clothing accumulating in the laundry.  I'm doing homework, reading with my kids, getting up at 3am to feed Emi, and praying over meals as a family.

But I'm also often impatient.  I'm not structured enough.  I forget things.  I find myself rushing a lot to make it on time everywhere we need to be.  I'm the mom with a hungry baby only to discover I made it out the door with bottles and water but not the formula.  I say things I shouldn't.  I get in a tizzy over things that won't matter one bit tomorrow.  But you know what?  I love my family.  My love isn't perfect, but it's what I have to offer and I offer it freely.

No.  I'm not SuperMom.  And that's okay.

It truly is.

You know why?  Because I know a little secret:

God hand picked me to be their mom.

And since he chose me out of billions upon billions of other people to be the mom to our sweet kiddos, I have to believe that He has also equipped me to be to each of them what each one needs. 

Therefore, I don't need to be SuperMom.

I just need to be their mom to the best of my ability.

And Lord willing, I pray I won't fail them.

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