“You’re superwoman!” “You make it all look so easy!” “Wow, you do it all, you are truly a supermom!”
No, I’m not actually. And that’s not the compliment you think it is. Let me explain…
I don’t blame people for giving me what they think is a form of praise, but I also think it’s important that we take note of where this “compliment” stems from. Calling a mom superwoman and praising her for “doing it all” keeps us stuck in a loop of only being recognized when we are juggling so much it feels like the entire world might collapse if we take even one breath. It keeps all of us in a state of comparison, watching all the other moms who look like they are doing it perfectly and beating ourselves up for not being able to do it the same way — or do it at all.
By now, most of us know that social media isn’t real. We know that people tend to post only the good and rarely the messy. We know this, but there is a disconnect between what we logically know and the messages that get in under the surface. The ones that burrow into our unconscious and keep us chasing the illusion of perfect.
As a therapist, I see a lot of women who are stuck and unhappy. Many come to me because they feel stuck but don’t see a way to get unstuck. Or, they feel unhappy but can’t figure out why. They sit across from me in my office and say things like “I’ve done it all the way I was supposed to. I checked all the boxes. I went to school, got married, had kids. Why do I feel unsatisfied when I did what I was told I “should” do?”
Here’s the secret. There is no such thing as a “right” way. Society has told us that if we keep our heads down and do life as we “should” we will be happy and fulfilled. Unfortunately for many of us, doing things like we “should” means we do a lot of self-abandoning along the way. We lose our voice. Our passions. Our sense of Self. We put others first and we don’t even make the list.
We are chasing something that isn’t real. There is no such thing as the right way to live or parent, period. And, when it comes to our kids, research shows that it is more detrimental to them to see a mother being crushed under the weight of the illusion of perfect than it is to see the “good enough” mother who has flaws and owns her imperfections. It is more…