"Come on boys we need to go, you're going to be late to swim team!" I yell. My youngest is walking towards me, his feet are bare. "Where are your shoes? You need your shoes! Seriously, you know what to do! Go get your shoes!" I bark. He slowly turns around. "Hurrrry!" I call after him.
"Don't they know I am doing this for them?" I muse. "What is wrong with them? Why do they move so slowly when we have to go?"
Practice runs a little late that night. When we finally arrive home it is past their bedtime. "Go get ready for bed, it is late," I call out.
"Mom, I'm hungry. Swimming makes me so hungry," my 10-year-old moans.
"Okay eat something quickly and then head off to bed," I order.
I glance at tomorrow's schedule: Cub Scouts and piano lessons. The next day shows swim lessons and a church meeting. I also have an activity I need to plan and a Sunday lesson to think about. Where will I cram in weekly laundry and grocery shopping? My head starts spinning. "I can do this. If only my kids would listen and move quickly when we need to go," I reason.
Another month passes. I quickly grow more impatient, frustrated, and flat-out mean. My children are on edge and bicker regularly. My life is spiraling out of control — all in the name "Super-mom."
How I wish I could have a heart-to-heart chat with my younger-self. I would tell her, "Damara dear, I know you want to be a good mom, but your red shiny cape has to go! Here's a great idea! Dig a hole in the backyard; toss it in, cover it with dirt plus several feet of concrete. You don't need it. You are good enough without it and your children will be better off too."
At the time, I failed to realize most of the stress and frustration was self-inflicted. My children were not to blame. In my crazed need to be Super-mom aka "perfect mom," I forgot what mattered most — my children. At the time I believed I was acting in my children's best interest when in fact I was subconsciously driven by selfish motives — a desire to "look" like Super-mom plus my hectic schedule made me feel important and validated.
I discovered three ways my Super-mom image needed to be adjusted. When you find yourself overscheduled, stressed and regularly impatient with your children, I invite you to bury your super-cape (for good) and consider these points:
I'm not recommending removing all activities — instead closely inspect your calendar for the next week. If your children have more than two activities scheduled per week, thoughtfully consider which ones might be unnecessary.
Imagine the mom with five children who each have three or more weekly activities (some occurring on multiple nights). Super-mom has agreed to juggle 20 or more activities per week. This doesn't even include your own events. Wow, that is a lot to volunteer for! Counsel together as a family and brainstorm what adjustments need to be made. Also, keep in mind activities do not need to be evenly spread between children. If one child only has one weekly activity, he doesn't need an extra one to even things out. Trying to be fair and equal causes more problems than it helps.
When you always say yes to everyone's requests you are saying "no" to you and your family. Of course you want to help others and chip in, however, you can say yes too much and later feel resentful instead of happy you are serving. It is okay to tell some people "I am too busy right now, thank you for asking me."
Often women feel their home is a reflection of who they are. While you are the heart of your home, you do not have to keep a spotless house. Instead ask your kids to help you with the chores, do them together, and talk while you work. Enjoy these moments as you learn together. Keep in mind, young children love to explore and make messes — that is how they learn. Teach them and clean up together. Do not fret and stress. More important than a spotless house is a home of love.
Yes, I have things to get done, but I no longer overschedule my children's activities, feel guilty about telling someone no or hyper-stress about my house.
For five years I have been on a journey to discover how to balance my life and live for today so I can feel more love, peace and happy moments with my family. Thankfully I buried my Super-mom cape long ago. I am "enough" and so are you!