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The Supermom Trap N Supermom: Mothers who juggle working full time and home life have often eyed that illustrious title. The truth is, however, that trying to attain this standard is not only unrealistic, it’s detrimental to your physical and psychological health. It’s time we said goodbye to the supermom ideal and started embracing new, realistic goals instead. ew research shows that working mothers who believe that home and work can be seamlessly juggled are at a greater risk for depression than mothers who accept that they can’t do it all. The idea that you can be the perfect mom, wife, employee, friend, and everything else, sets you up for higher stress levels and feelings of being overwhelmed. It also leads to massive disappointment when things don’t go as planned. When you attempt to be everything to every- one, it is easy to feel like you’ve failed everyone. Inevitably, something needs to give. Working mothers may need to compromise on some aspects of the way they approach their career, their parenting, or both. Rather than striving for perfection, under-promising and over-delivering helps alleviate stress. This way everything you do, by default, is a guaranteed success. A great way to keep from being spread too thin is to set boundaries. Pick and choose what can be manageably accomplished and give those things your all. For everything else, try outsourcing for help or simply saying no, no matter how hard that might be. When you step back, you might be pleasantly surprised how people step up to help you out. You’ll learn how much your kids can do on their own when you allow them to take on more responsibilities. And, of course, make sure to get some “you time.” Moms often spend so much time taking care of everyone else’s needs that they forget about their own. Even if it’s taking an extra five minutes in the shower, stopping to get a mocha, or calling to chat with a friend on the way to work, make sure to squeeze in a few moments where the focus is on you. Doing something you enjoy on a regular basis, no matter how brief it might be, helps keep your sanity intact and your stress level down. Sadly, guilt and motherhood tend to go hand in hand. Working moms often feel guilty that they don’t spend enough time with their kids or that the house isn’t clean enough or that they’ve lost their temper too many times. That guilt might not seem like a big deal, but it whittles away at your health. Some moments are going to be harder than others and you won’t always be proud of the way you handle them, but beating yourself up about it doesn’t help any- one. Instead, cut yourself some slack. Forgive yourself for the times you didn’t meet those high standards and remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can. Chances are your children aren’t judging you nearly as harshly as you’re judging yourself. They’re still going to recognize you as their mother and love you, regardless of if you have to work full time or if you lose your patience. The façade of being a supermom is often just as harmful as trying to be a supermom. Even the most perfect moms with the most well-behaved children have difficulties. The reason you might not know about them is that it is often perceived as a weakness to admit you’re struggling. Worse still is the judgment moms have for mothers with different parenting methods. The truth is, every mother who strives to nurture and provide for her children, to give them unconditional love and support, is already super. Rather than isolating our- selves behind the façade of perfection, it’s better to be open about our not-so- proud moments. Moms can learn a lot more from each other if they keep an open mind and respect the different ways they parent and the different challenges they face. A working mom GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JULY/AUGUST 2017 might have insights that could help a stay-at-home mom, and vice versa. While the supermom ideal appears glamorous, the truth is it isn’t nearly as interesting as the real mom who isn’t afraid to make mistakes and learn from them. The more time you spend trying to make everything perfect, the less you see the little wonders that are already in front of you. Your children aren’t going to remember how many activities you were able to juggle, how clean the house was, or any of the other things on your mental to-do list. What they’ll remember are the special times they spent with you. So the next time you feel the urge to be “super,” push the thought aside and try to enjoy the moment with your kids as best you can. Sources: Insinger, Jackie, Moms Must Let Go of the Supermom Mentality and Embrace Each Day, ExpertBeacon, Rochman, Bonnie, Working Women Who Try to Be Supermom May Be More Depressed, Time Being Supermom Stressing You Out?, American Psychological Association Article Brought To You By: 855 Moro Drive, Gilroy .gokids.org gmhtoday.com 53