Our culture seems to idealize motherhood while at the same time setting an unattainable standard for what motherhood should look like. I believe that this is true for both working and stay-at-home moms. For example, working mothers in this country are allowed, on average, 12 weeks for maternity leave. This is barely enough time to bond with your baby and get your physical strength back before heading back to work. Compare this to our neighbors in Canada who provide their mothers with up to 1 year of maternity leave. I point this out, not to compare the politics of our countries but to show the difference in the attitude toward motherhood. I believe that American's have a false ideal of what a mother should be able to do. No mother can do it all, no matter how smart, talented and independent she is.
I am, of course, a huge advocate of mothers staying home with their children. I understand that often this is just not possible, but I do believe in it strongly. Stay-at-home moms have just as much pressure on them as working moms. We often feel that taking any time for ourselves is selfish. We sometimes even feel apologetic for the fact that we stay home. I have heard myself answer the question, "what do you do?" with an apologetic "I just stay home." As if I am less of a contributor to society because of my choice to stay home with my children.
If you reread my description of the "super-mom" you will see that the first item on the check-list to be a super-mom is to hold down a full time job. Well there you go, I'm out before the race even starts! I think that often stay-at-home moms feel that because they don't have full time jobs (or even part-time jobs) they have to make up for it by being extra "super" in all the other areas. We compare ourselves to other moms and it always looks like they have it all together. For example, I just met an amazing lady who is pregnant with her eighth child. She is slim, adorable, home schools all seven of her children, cooks everything from scratch and even has time to quilt and knit. From the outside she really looks like she has it all together. She is amazing! But I know that she must have days when things fall apart, and she feels like sitting down and giving up.
As mom's we all have areas where we are super! Maybe you have amazing style and you always look put together. Maybe you really enjoy keeping a tidy house and you love to organize. Maybe you are a teacher at heart and love spending time learning with your children. My challenge to all of us as mothers is to set our mothering priorities. We need to figure out what is important to us, what the focus of our families should be. For example, I feel strongly that I want to pass on my Christian faith to my children. If I can see my children grow up with a strong faith in our Lord Jesus than I will feel like a successful mother. This is my number one priority. After that, I value education, keeping an organized life, having a healthy active lifestyle and so on.
Motherhood is not about how beautiful your home is, or how many Pinterest projects you complete. Motherhood is really quite simple. It is about loving your kids in the best way that you know how. Love them with the super human love that can only be understood by a parent. So instead of comparing ourselves to the mothers around us, let's be motivated by their successes and encouraged by the fact that we are all in this together. The best news is that no matter what, when our children look up at us they see a "super mom," shower or no shower!