Listening to my 55 year old work colleague talk about her activities over the past weekend made my jaw drop. Not because she had a fantastic weekend with so much relaxation. This woman worked herself to a standstill. She had a jam packed weekend with endless tasks. After numerous failed pleas of asking her husband to paint the lounge, she decided to tackle it herself. This was besides running errands, cooking, cleaning, taking the dogs to the parlour, attending fundraising committee meetings at her grandson’s creche, baby sitting her grandson the Saturday evening and still serving on the ladies committee at her church the Sunday.
She is fixated on her appearance. Slim and trim, never going without makeup, going to the hairdresser ever week and wearing those ankle braking high heel shoes.
She is a perfectionist and her house is forever spotless, nothing is out of place. This is not just your average mom; she is a super- wife, mom and now super grandmother. She spends a fortune on groceries every month, only buys food from one particular store and it must be free range and organic. This woman must excel in all she does and is not satisfied with average.
This mother of 3 and grandmother of 1; always outperforms everyone else, must have something better than anyone else. I also know her family history from years of ramblings about her husband and children. Rushing home after work has become a normal routine for her; to cook and serve dinner on time. This is a woman that still dishes her husband’s dinner and serves him. A woman who still bend over backwards for her adult children by making their beds.
But listening to her ramblings, I couldn’t help but notice that behind the makeup, fancy clothes and hair; how old she has become and how exhausted she looks. Serving others and doing things a certain way is a priority for her. But in this process she lost her true identity. For all these years she has become so obsessed to be a super mom and wife that it consumed her life.
I am not judging her but it made me think, I don’t envy her either.
Not once did my husband make me feel like the lesser spouse and that it was my duty to do certain tasks.
We always share duties. Although he does things differently to what I will; we are not set on perfection.
As parents we don’t have it all together. We definitely have our shortcomings, we slipped up and are still slipping up.
I didn’t give normal birth to both my children and I failed at breastfeeding.
We didn’t film the birth of both our children and we didn’t record every single milestone.
Both my children fell off the bed when they were about 5 months old. Still in the room but I literally just turned my back.
They had drool all over them, had snotty noses, their rompers were dirty from crawling on the floor and there were times that we didn’t change their nappies immediately.
They would sit in their high chairs and mess food all over the floor.
Our children puked on us when they were sick resulting in us cleaning up, not once but five times.
Remembering how uncomfortable my husband would lie on a single bed next to our then three year old daughter just to get her to sleep in her own bed.
We slipped up by allowing our daughters to play outside too long on a very hot Summer’s day. Causing our youngest daughter (then 4) to be hospitalised with severe dehydration. I slept on an uncomfortable couch in the paediatric ward, holding her hand to give her the assurance that I was not going to leave her side.
Crazy extra mural schedules are non existent. It’s ok if our children are not enrolled for every single activity. We also don’t force them into doing things they don’t want to.
We certainly don’t have well behaved perfect children with perfect pigtails, dressed in frilly party dresses. On the contrary they hate combing hair, sometimes wear the same clothes twice, love playing in the sand and yes they do give us lip.
There are times when our children annoy us and we yell at them.
Our children don’t have birthday parties every year; there is nothing wrong with making it special with just with a cake and a few candles.
We try our best to keep our house tidy but it is not sparkling clean and my cupboards are unorganised. I try not to notice the pile of ironing that is staring at me.
Parenting is demanding and we can’t always get to everything. Therefore we utilise our support structure – thank goodness we have one.
Yes I can multitask but why must I go at it alone. Working together as a family by involving the kids to get tasks done is important.
Gone are the days where the wife must do everything. Let alone serve her husband. I mean God created him with two very capable hands, to dish for himself.
What’s on the menu for dinner is the least of our worries. If it must be omelettes or a sandwich for dinner tonight – then so be it.
We look out for specials on groceries and can’t be bothered whether it is free range or organic. As long as it is wholesome, nutritious and healthy it is good enough.
As a mother and a wife, I have stretch marks and cellulite – I have no supermodel body. Don’t strut in high heels all day long. I don’t relax at spas or salons and I have stubborn gray hair popping out all over my head.
Yes we failed and slipped up on so many occasions throughout our 11 years of parenting. Does this make us bad parents? I believe not. We’ve forgiven ourselves for these slip ups. As parent we have our imperfections but we work flippen hard to make this parenting thing work. And let me tell you as your children grow older, it gets harder as you need to adjust your parenting style.
We don’t live by high standards, are not in competition with other parents and don’t strive for perfection.
There is no desire to be super parents; we are just average parents trying our very best.
So if you find yourself being a super mom or a super dad, relax a little, let go. Discard of your cape and lower your guard on your super human expectations. Reclaim your true identify and make yourself a priority. Look around you; take in what you see, don’t sweat the small stuff, it’s the simple things that matter around you.