We’ve come to the end of Maternal Mental Health Awareness week, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop talking about it, because it’s so incredibly important. Today we’re bringing up something that we know lingers on the minds of so many of you, as there’s this thing we tend to do as mamas…
We never feel like we’ve done quite enough. The to-do lists always get longer, our responsibilities grow, and our expectations of ourselves balloon to unrealistic standards. We try to be supermoms.
Is this innate need to always do more conceived when we give birth to our first child? Does it evolve as we learn the responsibilities of motherhood? Or are we following what our mothers did — and what their mothers did before them?
It’s impossible to know for sure. But one thing is certain: we seem to have an inherent desire to push ourselves and our daily responsibilities to the limit in search of the supermom mantle.
From grocery shopping to meal planning, cooking dinner to scrubbing toilets, and managing your workload and a busy social calendar… life is full on. Add to that a family and the pressure of being the perfect wife, the perfect stay at home mom, the successful working mom, the “I can do it all” mom and the “perfect hair and makeup while wrangling toddlers” mom — not to mention a picture-perfect Instagram home and life. The supermom pressure is real!
Most of the time, we’re modern day maternal multi-taskers juggling all that life entails — but sometimes, it just becomes too much. This often leaves us feeling completely overwhelmed, burdened with a pit of dread in our stomach (that I know there’s more I’m supposed to do, but I can’t remember what it is feeling). This leaves our heads spinning, and can ultimately lead to anxiety, depression, and burnout.
All of this pressure and stress… for what? Who are we achieving “supermom status” for anyway? You can be sure that your children won’t notice everything that you do. Your partner may be grateful for clean countertops, dinner on the table, an organized activity schedule, but they’d certainly prefer you not run yourself ragged for it.
If this is all sounding a little familiar, then Supermoms — it’s time to take action. Scrap the to do list and take heed of these tips.
- Ask for help: Although an extra pair of hands (literally) may not be in the cards right now, there are so many ways you can reach out and ask for help. Motherhood isn’t meant to be experienced alone — don’t try to make it a solitary experience. Make that change and start asking for or accepting offers to help.
- Share the load: Our supermom subconscious often means that we won’t even ask our partners to step up and lighten our load. And sorry men, but sometimes, you are painfully oblivious to the daily tasks that need doing… until it’s pointed out to you. Be direct and let your partner know what tasks they can take off your plate — they’ll be glad to help.
- Cook in batches: Try recipes like chilis, curries, and pasta bakes that keep well as leftovers. You can save for the next day to give yourself a night off cooking, or stick it in the freezer for a busy night a a few weeks (or months) down the road.
- Make it easy: You don’t need to find a way to feed your kids organic kale and spirulina every day. Go with the easy options (hello takeout) on the days that are tough — your kids, and your sanity, will thank you.
- Review your schedule: Take a critical look at your weekly schedule. Is there anything that can be cut out, or cut back? Carve out pockets of time that are free for you to do with what you wish–we all need time to breathe, and you deserve time to yourself.
- Say no: You cannot do everything, and it’s important to admit that to yourself. Saying no every so often is liberating, whether it be to social engagements, extra hours at work, or the PTA bake sale.
- Get the kids to bed earlier: Even if it’s just by 20 minutes! You can use that extra time for you… and not to complete more tasks for the day. Watch a show you love, read a book, take a bath, do a face mask (luxury!), or enjoy some quality time with your partner.
You can go ahead and take off that cape, mama. It’s just going to catch on something and hold you back anyway. Then stop and look at the faces of your little ones. They won’t remember how much you did for them that day or that week, what you cooked for dinner (and whether it was organic and from scratch). They won’t care about the clean clothes you washed, folded and put back in their drawers. But they will remember how you smiled and laughed with them, how you talked to them about their day, how you listened, and how you had time for them. That’s what makes you their hero.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Do you feel the pressure to be a supermom, too?