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Getting it Done Friday #3: Stop Trying to Be Super Mom


As moms, we constantly have to keep a game face on. We do everything just because we have too. After all, is there anyone else willing to do it? Moreover, each and everyone Super Mom wears that super cape and feels that she must be super all the time and every where. Super Moms are constantly trying to carry the world’s (well, almost) on their shoulders. The truth is no one can carry the world on their shoulders on a daily basis, even God, when he created the heavens and the earth rested on the 7th day. It can really take a toll on a person and there will be plenty of tears when it does.

I, as a Super Mom, worry so much that it results in nightmare on an almost nightly basis. I wear my Super Mom cape and forget how vulnerable that makes me. Every Super Mom thinks she is invisible. We are not our mothers, nor are the mothers portrayed in Ozzie and Harriet, Leave It to Beaver, Donna Reed and many more. Nowadays, Super Moms have twice as much responsibility. We need to take care of our families and hold down full or part-time jobs.

I work full-time, do freelance document preparation work, attend school part-time working on master’s degree, and I take care of my family while my husband’s job takes him all over the country and involves 60 hour work weeks. (I lost count, how many jobs do I have?) Every evening, I start the second shift. Arlie Hochschild first introduced us to the concept “the second shift” in the late 1980s to define the domestic work that working women perform when they arrive home after their workday is complete.

Nobody can manage home and work life without having it take some kind of toll on them. Unfortunately trying to be a Super Mom can result in physical and emotional suffering and stress related conditions. Many moms try and sometimes they succeed and sometimes they do not.

Here are some Super Mom survival ideas that I have come across in my quest to be the greatest Super Mom ever! (I think, however, that title belongs to Michelle over at The Adventures of Super Mom.)

1. Find balance: Prioritize what is important, – your kids. One day they will be all grown up and you will be wishing they were children again. And who cares if your housekeeping suffers?

2. Think about your health and ask for help when you need. Remember to rest and take time for yourself. I have learned about having to ask for help the hard way, when it finally took a toll on me.

3. Live in the moment. Spend time with friends and family and stop worrying about what tomorrow brings. Enjoy your life and the time you have with your children before they are all grown up.

I am as guilty as each and every one of you when it comes to trying to be a Super Mom. I have read countless books on how to manage it all. Below are some recommendations that are my favorites.

Dunnewold’s book is about creating a balance between family, self and work, also ridding oneself of negative thinking, perfectionism and control issues and anxiety.

You’re a Good Mom (and your kids aren’t so bad either) by Jen Singer.
Jen’s book is about the balance between Super Mom” and “Slacker Mom” and how to fall just somewhere in between. Secret One is the best – “Super Mom is Faking It”, and as Super Moms, we know that manage life as it comes.

The Secret Life of Super Mom by Kathy Buckworth is one of my favorite books, and I am constantly recommending it to mothers every where. If you are Super Mom, you will enjoy this Kathy’s book about how Super Moms manage their lives, and not necessary always in a graceful manner. Super Mom’s home is not the cleanest, nor are her kids the most well behaved. My favorite piece of advice is taking the kids out to eat. Let them make a mess, and sit back and relax. Let someone prepare the meal, clean and mess, and just remember to leave a good tip.

Well happy reading Super Moms! Remember, you are super!
 

Parenting isn’t perfect


I was over at Jen Singer’s Good Housekeeping blog, reading her recent post titled “A Mother’s Day without Heartache” and it got me to thinking about all the things that parenting is about and I came to one conclusion – parenting isn’t perfect. For me, the hardest part of being a parent is watching my children see me go through a painful life with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. For Jen, her kids watched her fight cancer and because of her blog at Goodhousekeeping.com, I, and many others, read about Jen’s journey with cancer. Reading Jen’s blog for the last two years, I can tell you that Jen is a true survivor with unimaginable and inspiring strength. In this recent post, Jen shares with us a photo of her at ten years of age and blogs about being a little girl and how simple things seemed back then.

In Jen’s own words: “Most of all, I wanted to remember what it felt like when I was a kid, long before I faced illness and heartache and death. My own kids have no such luxury. At just eight- and ten-years-old, they found out what it was like to nearly lose their mother to cancer, and they are forever changed for it. Not worse, not better, just different. Still, when I look photos of them taken before I had cancer, I feel the same way I do when I look at this shot of me. I want to hug them and make it all go away.”

I understand that parenting isn’t perfect. No one can be claim to be a true parenting expert. We all learn as we go. So, I learn everyday and I watch my nine year old see how I have changed since my diagnoses of RA, Fibro and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and as much as I wish I could protect him from seeing the person I have become, I know that I can’t. I also know, hypothetically speaking, that my now eight-month old won’t have the same mother my nine year old did. By the time the baby is nine, I will have had to change my lifestyle to accommodate the progression of RA and the worsening of my Fibromyalgia pain. I may not be able to enjoy the same activities with my baby that I did when my nine year old was younger and emotionally, I am not the same person I was back then. I get that but I wish that it were so much simpler.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia have changed me and I hope, for the better. I now know that I don’t have to be a perfect parent, if such should exist, but I do have to be a confident one. I have always tried to show my strength to my children and I, like anyone, have faced great losses in my life, but I know that my weakness is more evident these days. Maybe, it is that I have gotten older or maybe it is because the world out there scares me. I sometimes feel that the world I grew up in is so much different than the world my children are growing up in. Quite often, my insecurities show and, though no easy, I do my best not to show my children my weaknesses. Other times, I can be strong and feel that I can conquer anything, whether it is addressing an issue at my nine year old’s school or listening to him as he confides in me about the things that I upset him. (You would be surprised all the things that upset tween boys.)

My nine year old recently told one of his teachers that he knows that his mom’s bones hurt and that he wished that they didn’t. He also wondered if there was a medicine that would stop them hurting and if there isn’t, perhaps, when he is older, he could invent one. Of course, this brought tears to my eyes. Actually, I broke down because if anything could make weak, it would be my love for my children. This also made me wonder whether I am strong enough to conquer anything and everything. Am I, as a parent, required to be unbreakable or always be confident about myself, about my parenting skills and about preparing my children for the world?

Jen Singer noted her post that her children “are forever changed for it (because of her cancer). Not worse, not better, just different” and I, too, realize that my nine year old has changed, not better, not worse, but just simply different. Who ever said parenting was easy lied! We are all learning as we go and I think I have learned more from my children – my sons (my own boys and my stepson) and my daughters (who I haven’t held in eight years and have only recently been in contact with after eight years of no contact) than I could have learned from my own parents, other parents and even the so-called parenting experts. I once told my sister that I learned love – true and pure love- from my children and I don’t ever stop believing that.

 Sigh – ah yes, parenting isn’t perfect… As a end note, go over to Super Mega Dad’s blog to see his thoughts on the things he has learned since he became a parent: What I Have Learned.

 

What I am reading and my own ramblings about missed-out opportunities


I have been trying to read Jen Singer’s book “You’re a Good Mom (and your kids aren’t so bad either)” during my minimally available me/guilt time. I just finished up Secret Five – “Your Kids Birthday Party Isn’t Your Coming Out Celebration”. Jen offered some advice to “those” kinds of mothers – you know those mothers – the kind that throw birthday parties that appear to be something out of a traveling circus or the kind that rush from hockey to soccer to ballet all in the same day all in an effort to live out their missed-out accomplishments through their children. “Our superior parenting skills are not what’s in the spotlight. It’s not about you. It is about a bunch of kids scoring more runs than the kids on the other team. It is about your child working hard in school. It is about your kid’s sixth birthday. It is about your little one earning a black belt. And no, you don’t get to write the acceptance speech.” (Singer at p. 60 – I know this isn’t an English paper, but I have to give credit where it is due.)

Jen also pointed out another important detail that I quite often ignore. “Don’t ignore you – or you won’t recognize yourself when the kids are gone.” So to all you super moms out there – get the hint. Actually, in my case, sometimes I feel like a slacker mom (and yes, I do beat myself up about it). Am I alone in my thinking? Doesn’t anyone else feel like they are slacking off as a parent? I look at those helicopter moms always hovering over every aspect of their children’s lives and I feel two things – one – that those women are nuts and two – I am not doing enough.
You have heard many of the parenting quotes out there: “It takes a village to raise a child (an old African proverb”; “Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands. (Anne Frank)”; “Children require guidance and sympathy far more than instruction. (Anne Sullivan); “Parenting is like a life sentence without parole” and “Small children, small problems. Big children, big problems (my friend Ava’s mom)”, apparently they do hold true. I am sure you have your own quotes as well. And yes, being a parent is the toughest job on earth, you just don’t know it until you have children yourself (or in my husband’s case, you don’t know it unless I tell you).

I can try as I may but the chances of one of my children going to Harvard, getting a Ph. D. in something outstanding, and winning the Nobel Peace Prize are none to a billion. I won’t be disappointed though because the Nobel Peace Prize has only been awarded to 96 individuals and 20 organizations since 1901 and I wasn’t one of those awarded. And yes, I, too, have hosted my own expensive birthday parties in an effort to keep up with the Joneses, but when I realized that I just simply couldn’t keep up – well, I gave up and decided that all I had to do was make my own child happy. And, as for my own missed-out accomplishments, they don’t compare to what I have achieved instead – being a mom (the hours are many and the pay is nothing, but the hugs and kisses are priceless). And last, if all my children ever do is turn out to be kind and decent human beings, well that is good enough for me.

 

I’m the One Behind Monkeys vs. Soccer Moms – Goodhousekeeping.com


I couldn’t help it. I had to share this blog post by Jen Singer.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2009 in good housekeeping, jen singer, monkeys, soccer moms

 

Sometimes Crappy Moms Need Advice On How To Be Less Crappy


As far as crappy moms go, well I am the crappiest of them all. Or the “most crappy” as my almost nine year old (tomorrow he will be nine) puts it. I purchased two books this week (yes, on two different days). I am trying to work on a few things, like to stop yelling so much, stop getting up on the wrong side of the bed every morning, smile more, allow for my children’s creativity (even when it makes no sense), stop yelling at my husband because he spoils them too much, stop feeling so guilty when I do something for myself, spend more time with my kids (instead of blogging, surfing the net, perhaps working less, forgetting about that huge pile of dishes in the kitchen sick), or just getting up just a little earlier to make them a decent breakfast…well you get the point.

As for the two books I purchased, one is:

Even June Cleaver Would Forget the Juice Box: Cut Yourself Some Slack (and Still Raise Great Kids) in the Age of Extreme Parenting by Anne Dunnewold.

And the other:

You’re a Good Mom (and your kids aren’t so bad either) by Jen Singer.

According to a description provided by “someone” (honestly, I can’t remember who), Dunnewold’s book is about creating a balance between family, self and work, also ridding oneself of negative thinking, perfectionism and control issues and anxiety.

As for Jen Singer’s book, it is about being something between “Super Mom” and “Slacker Mom” (I stole this from the back cover preview at Amazon.com). As for Secret One, “Super Mom is Faking It”, thank you for revealing my secret identity.

I am going to make time, even if it’s just fifteen minutes a day (aside from my business schedule/lifestyle) and will provide a review on each so that you, too, can find some humor in my, Jen’s and Anne’s crazy family lives. Until then, go out and purchase these books. The two cost about $20 with shipping and handling. So now, I will go back to being that crappy mom that, despite all her flaws, loves her kids and never stops.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2009 in advice, Amazon, Anne Dunnewold, crappy, jen singer, mom

 

I am truly blessed


I decided this morning that no one in this world could be more blessed than I am. I want to be angry and enraged, but what would that accomplish? The realization that I have RA has finally hit me. I already knew, but I was praying that it wasn’t true. I can continue to ramble, but I know that for everything in my life that has hurt, there was something better to replace it. Every test I have been given led to me here to the place I have been trying to find. My comfort zone so to speak.

I have been blessed with five children, three of whom I have tried desperately to reconnect with (emotionally and physically) after my ex-husband took them out of my life eight years ago. I thought this was the final blow, and after losing my daughters and struggling to gain my life back, raising my eight year old on my own for many years, struggling to find a meaning to my life, believing and trusting in love after how badly I had been hurt, and now, being blessed with another child, a child that I told myself I didn’t deserve, it had to be. A couple months ago, I found out my younger sister had cancer, and it tore me inside, and I wished that I could make the cancer go away or somehow, take on some of her pain, but as my favorite blogger often reminds herself and her readers that she “kicked cancer’s ass”, I too can live with this and not because I am strong, far from it, but because I am blessed.

I think about how fortunate I have been in my life and how lucky I have been. Yes, I have struggled, but I was resilient and I didn’t have time to give up. I had others who needed me to be strong. And yes, I can be weak. I can fall down and not want to get up, and there are days where the pain is so bad, I want to hide in my bed and wish it all away, but what would that accomplish? How can I teach my children to be strong and to always reach further and that giving up is not an option, if I do not practice what I am preaching?

Of course, I am blessed, and more than anything, I want to ramble about how cruel life can be, but it wouldn’t change a thing, good or bad. I just know that everything I have been through made me the person I am today and that person is stronger and wiser than I could have ever imagined. And the reason for my being all the wiser and stronger is that I have been truly blessed and in more ways than I can count. I could not ask for more.

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2008 in blessed, jen singer, rascal flatts, sara evans

 
 
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