How to Deal With Supermom StressKathy Wilson |19, June 2006
One of the top stressors for women today is what many are calling the "supermom syndrome". Many of us are led by society today to believe that in order to be successful Moms, we have to do it all, and give all. Nonsense. We all want to do our best as Moms, as we should. But at some point, for our own mental health, our best has got to be good enough. Here are some great ideas to reduce the syndrome at your house.
It's OK not to be perfect. Let me say that again. It's OK, not to be perfect. I think many of us hold ourselves up to a level of perfection that merely hurts our ability to be a good Mom. So what if the living room isn't clean on Monday nights?...you had bedtime stories to read. Who cares if you had to choose a work presentation over your child's field trip...you'll go next time. Not allowing ourselves any slack simply causes more stress in our lives, and prevents us from savoring every precious moment of being a Mom. Lighten up. It's OK not to be perfect!
Don't buy into societies hype that in order to be a good parent, you must offer your child every experience under the stars. Over and over again, psychologists talk about the dangers of over scheduling our kids, but it seems few are listening. It is not healthy for your child to learn to be so busy that he/she never learns to be with and like himself, to dream, use his imagination, or just be bored! Limiting your family to one extracurricular activity per child will help reduce family stress both in time and money. Do not let society guilt you into doing more...after all, this is the same society rules that say its ok for our children to starve themselves to look like movie stars, or to play Nintendo for 12 hours straight. Is that what you want for your kids?
Make time for yourself. Make a rule that you will take 10, 20, even 30 minutes a day and shut out the world. Close the bedroom door, take a bath, take a walk...just have that time to yourself. You deserve it, and your family owes you that much. Do not feel guilty asking for it either! Tell the kids Mom is not to be disturbed unless someone is bleeding or something is on fire...then enforce the rule! Oprah says it well...if your cup is empty, how will you fill up the ones you love?
That being said, it is important to recognize your family as an essential part of your life. Stopping to smell the roses when it comes to your family will help you to keep your life in perspective, and therefore, reduce your daily stress. Make sure you take time for yourself, but also take time to spend with your family outside of the daily chores and running around. Let your children help you cook dinner, play cards together in the evening, take a walk around your neighborhood with your kids. Make sure you read to those little ones every night, and make sure you do those great voices with the characters! Laugh with your family, choose your battles wisely, and savor every moment of their precious childhood...before you know it, they will be tending their own families! (And won't you feel good knowing what an example you were, cherishing your family as you do!)
Finally, make sure you remember who you are as a person. Not as Mom, or wife, or business associate, but as who you are. Cultivate old pastimes, and expand your world by developing new ones! Learn to play piano, paint, or to speak a different language. Read. Celebrate your spiritual life, and let yourself grow in the world that has been gifted to you.
It is time Moms stood up and made a stand...we don't have to do it all to be good Moms. We already are good Moms, because we do our best. And that's good enough.Kathy Wilson is a columnist, author, and editor of The Stress Less Journal at www.stresslessjournal.com.
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