I've been doing this parenting thing for 20 years now. When I say "parenting", I don't mean being a parent, I mean bringing children into adulthood. I know that parenting does not end in your child's adulthood. My first baby was born 20 years ago, and my last will be a "child" in our house for another 14 more years. This is a total of 34 years in the parenting game. If this was a paid job, then I would receive a watch or something, but I'm pretty sure I will receive grey hair with bald patches of hair that after having been pulled out, may not grow in again.
We began this parenting adventure as young people, we were 24. We had Elly when we were 38. That is a pretty wide space. When I first began the adventure I was naive. I was young, and insecure. I felt like my child had to be perfect. He had to be the smartest, the best behaved, the best dressed. Everything that he was reflected who I was. I took my self worth, self esteem from him. I realize now that is a pretty big thing to put upon an infant. Poor Gabe was my guinea pig. I needed to show everyone what an amazing mother I was.
I would like to say that I was able to see the error of my ways early on, but sadly, no. It is only recently that I have come to see my folly. We are separate, my children and I. My self worth, my self esteem has everything to do with me. I want to be the best mother to them because I adore them, and they deserve the best that I can give them. I am proud of the people that my children are, and yes much of who they are is reflected on the parents that we are, but much of it comes from the individuals that they are.
So what has any of this to do with "Fighting Off Super Mom"? The simple answer is EVERYTHING! Being a super mom was all part of the feelings of inadequacy, you know fake it 'til you make it. To be a good mother I had to do it all. My self worth came from being an amazing mother. Don't get me wrong, I still want to be an amazing mother, but because my kids deserve it, and I deserve to live a life without regrets. My self worth no longer comes from the outside, but from the inside. Why does self acceptance take so long? I wish that I could travel back in time and tell that younger me to take a chill pill.
Back when Gabe was still young, and Gracie was just a baby, I was heavily involved in the school. I was the one who volunteered for every class trip. I volunteered in the classroom. My friend Lisa Carter and I organized the fun fairs. We gave time away from our families to raise money for new playground equipment for the school, I'm taking hundreds of hours. We were Super Moms. I said no to nothing. Somehow by being "Super Mom", I felt that everyone would think that I was such an amazing mother. Some of them may have, some of them may have thought I was a bit pathetic. Now it kind of doesn't really matter. The only people who I need to impress with my awesome Mothering skills are my children.
So what this long and blabby story is really about is my new sense of identity. I no longer "need" to be liked. Don't get me wrong I still "want" everyone to like me and think I'm great, but I would like to think that I am not so pathetic about it. Now I have learned the word NO. I now volunteer for things that I want to do, because they will be enjoyable, as opposed to volunteering so that people will think I'm so great. I'm pretty sure they didn't really think that I was so great, but rather such an easy mark.
This year our school is having a Fun Fair. The kids LOVE the Fun Fair. I have never actually seen my children enjoy the Fun Fair. I have planned, organized and worked the Fun Fair for 13 years now. This year I decided to allow other parents the opportunity. I let them take control. I wanted to help, but instead offered to be a sounding block for things they may need help with. I offered to put together a window display and wrap the Silent Auction baskets, because I like to creative projects. This will be the first Fun Fair that I will enjoy with my children, I'm kind of looking forward to this new freedom!