Remember when you had it all together? You know, that righteous moment of clarity before you actually had a child when you knew exactly how you were going to parent. You probably saw some screaming child in the aisle of the grocery store and sighed to yourself “If only they had someone to talk to them about their feelings or had more structure at home they would feel safe to voice their emotions without yelling.” You probably vowed to never raise your voice to your child, to always listen to them, and to never lose your cool.
Cut to 10 years later in the same grocery store and child one is pulling stuff off the shelves and throwing it into the cart on top of the bread you said you’d never buy because homemade was better for them. Child 2 is laying on the floor clutching some random overpriced supermarket toy you’d already said they couldn’t have, crying mournfully. You look to your left and someone is looking at the scene with a little horror and a lot of judgement. You feel a sting of shame until a woman with 2 kids fighting inside a cart full of diapers and a couple bottles of wine passes you with that nodding half-smile and raised eyebrows that says “I feel you!”
The day you realize that the Great Superhero Mom doesn’t exist is one of the most freeing days ever. Everyone loses their shit somewhere. At first we try to do it in private, after the kids go to bed, in the form of a bottle of wine or a cry in the shower. Then one day you meet a new friend, or happen upon an old one at the right time and they say something like “I am losing it today. This kid is driving me crazy!” and you say “I know exactly how you feel.” instead of “Have you tried this/read this book/watched this Youtube video?”
We are all losing it at times. I promise you. I had such great ideals. Then I realized that kids are individuals. Parenting “experts” don’t actually know MY children. I realized in order to reach those bigger goals like homeschooling I was going to have to give up some of the smaller less significant ones like “always keeping a clean house”. I noticed that when my kids had a day away at their grandparents I didn’t implode at not being in control, instead I was actually looking forward to seeing them when they came back. I understood that some of my stress was beyond my control and talked to my doctor about it and took appropriate actions to feel better mentally. We all need support and help and to embrace the imperfect mess that we are.
Nobody is helping anyone by pretending we all have it together. I am glad that I have a group of friends who share the bad parts of parenting with me. Not because we’re all messes, but because we’ve all realized that perfect is an illusion and Supermom is something we thought we needed to strive for before we realized it couldn’t actually be obtained.
I killed Supermom. And I regret nothing.