Friday, June 19, 2015

It's Time to Stop Trying on Capes...They Aren't One Size Fits All.

     It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Supermom!  Have you ever had a panic attack while reading a mommy blog or browsing Pinterest? You know, when you realize that some other mothers just really have it together.   Their house is clean and they exercise everyday.  They create the most adorable hand- made crafts you have ever seen. Their children’s principal begs  them to have more kids so they can send more wonderful children to the school.  They look like they stepped out of a fashion magazine.  Their children’s socks ALWAYS match, and they can leap tall buildings in a single bound.  Okay—I’m exaggerating; not even Supermoms can make sure their children’s socks match all the time. 

     There are also lots of mommy blogs about how it is okay to not be “that” mom.  These writers remind us that being a mother doesn’t take superpowers.  The truth is the child whose mother was bitten by a radioactive spider is a supermom and the child whose mom  is an ordinary citizen are probably equally as happy.  Why?  Parenting isn’t about how YOU are feeling, it is about how your CHILD is feeling. 

     The single indicator of good parenting is how your child is feeling emotionally.  If your child feels loved, you are doing something right.  

     One of the parenting mistakes we make is comparing ourselves to others.  We label some women a Supermom, others as a Slackermom, and still others as ordinary.  We even label ourselves with these titles.   We judge other mothers or ourselves.  Here of some of the statements we might say or think:
  •  “If I had her schedule, I’d be able to work out 7 days a week too.”
  • “If I earned her salary, I’d be able to cook gourmet meals every night too.”
  • “If I didn’t have to work full time, my kids would have homemade cupcakes with customized  toppers brought to them at school for their birthday.”  
  • “If I only had two kids, I’d have time to do all that  reading.”  
  • “I’d be a better mom if I could keep my house as clean as Mary’s.”   
     I could go on for hours.  We deem other mothers as less because somehow their particular situation in life  allows us to negate their achievement.  Or we deem ourselves as less because somehow our perceived failures negate all of our other achievements.

     There are so many posts about how it is okay to not be the perfect mom.  I also see lots of posts showing us how to be a “perfect mom.”  We don’t need these posts.  We do not need to compare or judge.  Comparing and judging do not make any of us better moms.  It is discouraging and sometimes hurtful. Moms, often we are the ones comparing ourselves and judging ourselves.  We all know we shouldn’t judge others—give yourself that same courtesy.    If every painting were painted the exact same way, art would be absolutely boring.  We need to view parenting as art, crafted by our own unique skills and experiences.  Some of you may be Jackson Pollock, some of you may be Vincent Van Gogh.  Don’t judge. Don’t compare.  Just love.

     As I have said before, the most important indicator of good parenting is how much your child feels loved.   While I am not an expert, here are some ways that you can help your child feel loved.

  • Ask your child, “What makes you feel loved?” Now do that!
  • Teach your child to recognize and praise his own strengths. For example, when your child makes an adorable piece of art don’t pour on the praise right away.  Ask them, “What do you think of your work?  How does creating this make you feel?  What was the hardest part about creating this?  What makes you like your work?”  Help him to recognize his own worth.  (When you have done this, go ahead and tell him why you love it.)
  • Teach your child to recognize and praise her own weaknesses.  For example, when your child makes a mistake, don’t point out her wrong doings and dole out a consequence immediately.  Ask them, “How do you feel about this situation?  Do you feel you made a mistake?  How could this situation go better next time?  What do you think the  consequence for this should be?”  Then it’s your turn.  Children need to recognize their weaknesses and learn how to fix them.  You won’t always be there to enforce rules and apply consequences.  Children need to learn to do this themselves.
  • Talk to your child.  Even if he wants to talk about Pokemon characters non-stop.  Listen. Ask questions.  Show your child that you care about what he cares about.
  • Laugh with your child.  Tell jokes. Watch funny cat videos.  Dance like no one is watching until your kids roll their eyes at you.  Talk to your foot like it’s a telephone.  Whatever it takes, laugh together.
  • Tell your child you love them and why.
  • Spend. Time. With. Your. Kid.   This seems like a no-brainer.  Moms have so much to do.  Put down the dishes.  Leave your work at your job.  Turn off distractions.  Being home at the same time  as your kid doesn’t mean you are spending time with her.  Stop what you are doing and pay attention to your child.
  • And last, but not least, love yourself.  When you berate yourself for your failures as a mother, your children learn how to berate themselves too.  When you lack confidence, you teach your children to lack confidence.  When you love yourself, you teach your children how to love themselves. 

This is a subject I am passionate about.  I’ve spent too much of my life in Supermom’s shadow.  Maybe the Supermom cape doesn't fit me...My house is a mess.  My daughter’s hair isn’t brushed.  We are eating boxed mac-n-cheese for dinner.  Not a single person in my home is wearing matching socks but….My kids are healthy.  My kids are happy.  My kids feel loved.  That is enough.  In fact, that is SUPER! 


  1. All mom's strive for perfection, I think we see other moms and think , we should be more this way or that way.I know at an early age I knew the kind of mom I did not want to be, and worked hard to show my kids, what I thought I missed. When you look from inside of the box you see clearer, those who only linger on the outside don't see whole picture. In the chaos of our lives at the end of the day what matters, is loving our kids to the fullest, and making sure they are happy. The dirty laundry can wait it will always be there. But our kids won't they grow up so fast and soon they leave mom's nest.

  2. Amen. Let's all stop comparing ourselves and keep loving ourselves and our kids!

  3. This is wonderful, Chrissy! Way to go!