'I'm no supermom". Are you?
This mom shares the realities of parenting and why we all need to realise supermoms do not exist.
I’m often asked how I do it. How do I manage to run a home, look after three kids, work full time, write after hours, and stay sane?
Here’s my secret: I don’t.
I’m winging it. Doing less than is absolutely necessary. Hanging on by my un-manicured fingernails and getting through the days with the help of a fake smile and some serious self-talk.
The reality is that there are no supermoms. We’re all just improvising, trying to look good, and hoping no one finds us out. I’m all for an uprising, a push-back against the perfection myth. That way, we’d all spend less time feeling like loser-moms as we hold ourselves up for comparison against those fabled supertaskers.
I’ll go first.
Read: Are you a supertasker?
Your house is better than mine
I can’t afford staff, so I clean the house once a week. If I’m feeling particularly heroic, I’ll sweep a few times during the week, and wipe a surface or three. It’s not uncommon for me to flinch when I take a peek into my kids’ rooms. They’re told to tidy up every day, but it’s anyone’s guess what might appear from under those beds over the weekend. My survival tactic? Close the door and feign ignorance until Saturday.
We don’t live in squalor, but I’m willing to bet a visit to the spa that on any given day, your house looks cleaner than mine.
Have you looked at me lately?
If there’s a style I’m rocking these days it’s probably called “dragged through a bush backwards”. I’m often asked why I don’t straighten my hair. Truth is, I can’t be bothered. GHD’ed hair is the domain of childless women with perfect thighs and a troop of personal assistants. I’d rather be watching series or writing something than spending an hour on my hair. And Kids 2 and 3 think my hair is the bomb, so...
The kids are raising themselves
They’re at the age now when they’re able to do stuff by themselves. I no longer have to bathe them (Kid1, who just turned 17, would find that particularly disturbing), do their hair, or make sure they’ve brushed their teeth. They can even dress themselves. Okay, except for those days when Kid3 emerges from his room in a vest and short-shorts while the rain is lashing down and the wind is threatening to make off with our roof. Then I’m forced to intervene.
Also read: Positive discipline for your teen
I’m also fortunate to have kids who need the minimum of help with their schoolwork. My “help” most days equates to “Do you have any homework?” “No.” Other days, it’ll be a cursory signing of a test, or an after-hours dash to the stationery shop for cardboard and staples needed for the latest project.
I don’t do it alone
Everyone has a “chore”: gardening and cooking (my husband), doing the dishes (kids take turns), feeding the cats (Kid3), ironing (Kid2), and making the school lunches (Kid1).
I guess mine would be going to work, writing after hours, doing the grocery shopping, cleaning the toilet, mopping the floors, washing the windows, baking, playing referee to the kids’ numerous scuffles, playing counsellor when any given kid on any given day stages a meltdown, playing taxi to four people plus random others, going to school meetings, paying the bills..............
Sorry, I nodded off on my keyboard while itemising all that.
I have back-up
When I’m on the verge of losing it because I’ve lost the most recent school memo in the pile of “to file” detritus that lives in our lounge, I can count on my mom-friends to fill in the gaps. When I’m at the end of my school-run lifting capabilities, my back-up steps in. And when I need a duvet day, my back-up will take the kids for a few hours, no questions asked.
Yip, you read right
...sometimes (often) I have duvet days. I sleep a LOT. I used to stress about keeping the kids occupied and entertained over the weekend. Now that they can get through the day without accidentally burning the house down or eating the cat food? Not so much. If mom needs a day reading, sleeping, and sipping rooibos, you’re on your own, sweet-cheeks. You’re welcome to join me under the duvet for a conversation, a companionable snooze, or to refill my teacup, but I’ll get up when I’m good and ready.
The supertasker is dead
Suitably convinced that I’m not the supertasker you thought I was? Relieved that you’re not alone in your less-than-perfect-mom tendencies? Great. My job here is done. Your turn.
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