5 Reasons I’m Hanging Up My Super-Mom Cape in 2018

I will never forget the woman who made me aspire to be a Super-Mom. I was a young wife and a new mama with 2 kids under the age of 2. I worked full time and felt like a failure at pretty much everything. But I had hope.

There was this seasoned mama that my husband worked with and from my vantage point, she could do it all. She worked full time as a nurse while raising a family. She canned her own homemade salsa and made delicious baked goodies and was always doing something amazing for her friends and family. I never visited her home but I bet it was even clean. I wanted to be her so bad, I couldn’t see straight.

Fast forward about six years.

I was walking through Walmart one day after work pushing a cart full of groceries and lugging all FOUR of my kids with me. I was a newly single mom, still licking my wounds but holding my head up high as I strutted through the frozen food section in my high heels.

That’s when I caught a glimpse of myself.

There in the reflection of a frozen foods door, I saw the woman I had always imagined becoming. I was thin, I had on a super cute work outfit and killer heels. I had four adorable children including a precious baby girl. I was googling a recipe on my Blackberry as I shopped so I could ensure I had all the ingredients I needed. I was smart and resourceful. I looked like I had it all together even though I was falling apart. I could multi-task with the best of them. I could do it all. I had become a Super-Mom.

Fast forward nine more year.

Being a Super-Mom isn’t what it’s all cracked up to be.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve achieved most of my Super-Mom goals. I make amazing cinnamon rolls from scratch. I can successfully can my own salsa and apple butter. I sew new Christmas stockings for my kids every year. I homeschool. I teach at our homeschool co-op. I write curriculum. I edit books from author friends. I’m a freelance writer. I have my own direct sales business. I’m on the Operations Team and Board of Directors for an international ministry. I have kids taking drum lessons and guitar lessons and ukulele lessons and going to cheer practice and soccer practice.

And let’s just talk a moment about multi-tasking. This is where it gets real.

Super Mom

I write while my youngest daughter works on her school work. I text while I’m making dinner. I organize data in spreadsheets while my husband drives. I makes sales while I’m at Disney World. I edit books while I sit with my daughter at chemo. I Facebook in the bathroom.  I answer ministry-related questions during dinner, during movie night, during date night, during cheer practice, during breakfast, while I’m shopping, while I’m reading, while I’m baking, while I’m writing and cooking and watching my daughter dance all at the same time.

It’s too much.

At what point did I decide that being a Super-Mom meant that I had to spread myself so thin?

At what point did I decide that being a Super-Mom meant that I had to multi-task myself into a frenzy?

Sure, I wanted to do it all – but why have I been trying to do it all AT THE SAME TIME?

I know the answer to that question, though… it’s time. There’s not enough time in the day to do everything I want to do so I thought doing multiple things at the same time would free up other parts of my day to do something for myself like watching TV or reading a book. But it’s just not worth it. I need and deserve a few minutes to myself whether I meet all the demands of the world or not. Relaxation isn’t a reward, it’s a basic human need.

So, here are 5 reasons I’m hanging up my Super-Mom cape in 2018:

  1. Multi-tasking seems like an effective time saver but it keeps me from being focused and present. After almost ten years of being a master multi-tasker I’m finding it increasingly difficult to concentrate on any one thing. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times my kids have asked me a question while I was in the middle of typing something and it’s literally taken me a solid 30 seconds to form verbal words in response. That’s unacceptable. Nobody’s brain should be that tied up.
  2. Constant input has become a compulsion. While I’m a huge proponent of relaxation, I find it more and more difficult to relax. I check my phone while I read. I rush a hot bath if I hear my phone beeping in my room. I can’t sit still in a car, at the table, or in the bathroom more than a minute without feeling the need to check my phone for emails, texts, or Facebook messages. I’ve developed a need for constant stimulation and an addiction to distraction.
  3. I can’t sleep. My brain is so used to running at such a high power and high speed all day that it’s impossible to shut down at night. I start dreaming before I fall asleep. I wake up exhausted. It’s become impossible to fully disengage.
  4. My kids deserve better. My husband deserves better. My customers and friends and associates all deserve better than what I’m giving them now. They deserve my best not my frazzled leftovers.
  5. This isn’t who God wants me to be. Nor is it who my husband wants me to be. Or my kids. Or my friends. I’m the one that has placed these impossible ideologies on myself. I’m the one that gets a high off of martyrizing myself on an altar of busyness.

But not this year. Not in 2018.

This year I will focus on the two words that God gave me in 2017: Focus & Consistency. While I learned a great deal about them, it has only been within this last month that I’ve truly started to embrace them.

This year I will hang up my Super-Mom cape and give myself permission just to be who I am. I will give myself permission to let people down. I will give myself permission to not volunteer every time I see a need that I could fulfill. I will give myself permission to put the phone down and walk away. I will give myself permission to say No. I will give myself permission to relax.

This year I will work hard to be in the moment with those around me.

This year I will be content with my messiness and my imperfections.

This year I will do one thing at a time.

This year I will breathe.

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Unhurried in the Hammock

Some days, life just seems way too daily. The to-do list is long and the amount of time available to accomplish those tasks is shortened by interruptions from kids and emergencies and of course, Facebook. Still, on my most disciplined of days I’m doing good to get a few hours of homeschooling in, answer my messages (email, text, and yes Facebook), get my errands ran, and POSSIBLY remember to lay something out for dinner. Possibly. And at the end of the day my to-do list often still has the four things on it that were there the day before. Like “Call the dentist”. And “Talk about the budget with husband.” OK, that last one has been there for six years, but we’ll talk about my procrastination issues some other time.

My point is, most days (like most of you) I find myself feeling pulled in multiple directions. Even when I’m sitting still I feel like I should be doing something. If I’m riding (not driving) in the car, I work my business from my cell phone. If I’m making dinner, I answer messages on my cell phone. If I have 8 minutes while the cookies are baking, I hop on the computer and work on my lesson for co-op. When I’m trying to encourage a friend via text message, I think of a great image I could make, create it, then post it to all of my social media accounts and all of the ministry social media accounts that I run. Do you get what I’m saying. I’m never singularly focused. I’m always multi-tasking. Always thinking of what the next thing is that I need to do. Always hurrying on to that next thing.

How many times have my kids asked me a question while I hurriedly finished typing something “important” with my thumbs while mumbling, “Hang on…. almost done… just gotta finish this….one more sentence…… and….. What did you need?”

I even have a hard time keeping up with this blog. I mentally post here about 12 times a day. I’m not even kidding. I glean nuggets of wisdom from others that I find worthy of sharing and I mull over the best way to express those thoughts… while brushing my teeth, or cleaning my bathtub, or buying groceries. Those words never make it to this screen. I loose focus. I’ve moved on to the next thing.

And THAT is why I have decided that Heather needs Hammock time. Daily. Well, at least 3-4 times a week. And half of my hammock time needs to be phone free. At least.

heather-in-the-hammock

Today I went out to the hammock, phone in hand. For a while I listened to some praise music on Pandora from my phone. But then the multi-tasking began and I decided I needed to put it away. So I chose to sit in silence. I watched the clouds. I listened to the birds. I relished the fact that the air was warm and the breeze was light. I thanked God that I lived in Florida. And then I started thinking of the people I love who are going through immense difficulties. I prayed for the friend who’s husband is in immense physical pain. I prayed for the friend who recently lost her best friend. I prayed for my kids and my friends’ kids and for my marriage. Then I just sat.

I’ll be honest. It took a good twenty or thirty minutes before that jittery, restless, incessant need to do the next thing finally stopped.

But it did.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am NOT a workaholic. I’m not a busy bee. I’m not one of those people that work work work from sun up til sun down. In fact, I don’t do much at all compared to most stay at home / homeschool moms I know. I have lazy days (more than I’d care to admit). But even my lazy days are spent with divided attention. I’m never fully present.

And that brings me back to my words for 2017.

Focus and consistency.

Even if it takes me thirty minutes of staring at the clouds, I WILL learn to focus myself on one thing at a time.

And if I have to put this on my calendar and set reminders three times a week, I will.

Because the world deserves my best ME. Not a third of what I can give while doing two other things. And I deserve the peace that comes when you’re focused and not frantic.

So if you need me, I’ll be in the hammock. Unhurried. Without my phone. …. most of the time.