If you’ve watched the Bad Moms movie starring Mila Kunis, you probably already have guessed that by ‘bad mom’ I mean a mom who wants to do less and yet whose greatest hope is for her children to grow up to be good people. These days these two things seem to be promoted as being mutually exclusive. Could this be because the word ‘mom’ has been married to ideas like perpetual self-sacrifice and super powers? Do you ever feel inadequate or maybe overwhelmed as a mom in light of this? If you said yes then this one is for you
First I’ve got to say insecurities are bound to pop up if we start comparing ourselves and others to ‘supermom’ and these feelings of failure will hinder us from forming deeper bonds with other women. In turn this makes us feel isolated and even more like failures because we don’t get to learn that other moms feel the same way that we do. You can see this in the movie Bad Moms where the vast majority of moms seem really uptight, tired and frustrated until they start being honest with each other about how they have failed at living up to an unrealistic portrait of the perfect mom.
So who benefits from a mom who feels inadequate? No one.
This is why I think that if you’ve found a group of women or someone that you can confide in and share your failures with, you have found motherhood gold because the more people share about their lives the less likely it is that they will feel inferior. It doesn’t end there because when we shed feelings of inferiority, we stop making choices from a negative place and we start to actually value ourselves which gives our children a much higher chance of feeling secure and adequate because children of course try to model all of our behaviours, not our preaching.
This is why I say truly taking care of yourself spiritually, emotionally and even physically is inevitably taking care of your children in the long run.
Secondly, it’s scary how easily parents can lose themselves in their kid’s lives. If you spend all of your time developing your children’s academic, sports and private lives but hardly spend any time on yourself, it may be good to ask yourself if you aren’t living your life vicariously through them, claiming your value and self-worth from their performance and behaviour.
Spending time on your kids is absolutely necessary but it should never eclipse all of your chances to spend time on yourself.
We know this isn’t good for the kids, it makes a mom want to try to control their lives because subconsciously she sees their lives as her own. When our babies grow mustaches or hips with which to walk right out that door, all ready for the world, chances are that if we haven’t cultivated our own life separate from them we are going to feel incredibly lonely, unfulfilled and worst of all – we won’t have a clue who we are without them.
I lived on the other side of this. It took me a long time to see my mom as more than my mother. While my mom was struggling with breast cancer, my boss, completely unprovoked, asked me if she was the kind of person that hardly said ‘no’ to people and took care of everyone and not herself … I had to admit yes…she had been taking care of people since she was in her twenties until my dad passed away this year. My boss went on to explain that she believed that the breast represented nurturing and that when all a person does is give, their body gets sick. I think there may be something to it, even just the fact that we do tend to get sicker the more stressed we are.
This is why I think taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do for your family.
Think about when you’re on a flight and the hostess is running through the rules and she tells you to put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others, would that make you a selfish person? No, of course not, likewise in everyday life it’s not very likely that your kids can save you if you are in trouble but you can possibly save them even on your worst days so it’s not selfish to make sure that you get your own needs met so that you can be fully present for your kids.
So make sure you keep yourself healthy and sane before you start trying to become a martyr to your child’s schedule or education. They need us to be spiritually and emotionally whole first. We are women, not just moms and we need to know who we are after we’re stripped of all the labels. Sexuality is not our superpower. We are not our bodies. We are not our children. We are not how much money we contribute to the home. We aren’t even how much we can please our husbands sexually. Strip it all away and look at yourself. Who are you if you are NOT what you do? Who are you if you’re not how you look or the things you’ve accomplished?
When God fashioned you, what plan did He have for you specifically, what kind of soul did He give you?
Listen, my life is way more hectic than I want it to be, I have loads of room for growth but I’m so grateful that what I’ve managed to do is create moments in my life where no one is calling me ‘mom’ or waiting on me for dinner.
Nowadays I make time for who I am as a woman and she has time to go out with friends, she forces herself to follow her dreams, even the crazy ones, and I found out that she’s a pretty cool person who, as it turns out, I wouldn’t mind being stuck with. I think it’s important to spend these years that you are parenting also cultivating who you are as a person because to fulfill your purpose on this earth, you need to not lose yourself and any real sense of identity.
You want to be happy with the ‘you’ that you’re stuck with after the kids leave.
Okay so what I’m really suggesting isn’t that we all become terrible moms, but I am saying that some of us moms need to do less in order to be more…more whole; less controlling, healthier and self-aware and the way to that place is so simple and fun it seems ‘bad’ and self-indulgent but it really isn’t. Want to hear my ultimate test of what kind of mom you really want to be? Imagine your kids as adults. If anyone asked them who you were or what you were really like as a woman, what would they say about you? Would you want them to only be able to talk about all the things you did for them or would you hope that they saw you as a woman as well as a mom? I know what my answer would be as I sit here in the middle of cutting up my unused supermom cape and scratching out some old definitions.
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