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Saying ‘No’ to SuperMom

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Super_Mom

Finding Refreshment as a Working Mom

Writing about working and motherhood seems to be an inherently tricky topic. This is the type of topic that incites so-called “Mommy Wars” and has us insisting that we each have it hardest. Well, mother to mother, friend to friend, can we admit that we all have it hard? That maybe we all have it different? Before we jump in, let’s assume that we’re all doing the absolute best we can within our unique circumstances.

Today I’m writing to the mom who works outside the home in addition to mothering. Is that you? I’m so glad; I hope this will give you hope and rest and maybe make you feel a little less crazy. That isn’t you? I’m so glad you’re still reading; I hope it will give you words of encouragement, even if the situation doesn’t exactly match your own, or will inspire you to encourage a friend who works!

I’ve been a working mom as long as I’ve been a mom, although that has looked different in different seasons. While I could never boast that I have it all figured out, there are a few nuggets of wisdom that I’ve learned along the way.

Give up on SuperMom. You may want to be SuperMom. Admiring friends may call you SuperMom, but it’s not necessarily a helpful title. The truth is that when we’re working and mothering, we have to be a lot of things to a lot of people and at the end of the day, something’s got to give. I firmly believe that we should give each other encouragement and fist bumps constantly for the great job we’re doing, but striving to be “SuperMom” makes it sound like a super power; as if it comes naturally, rather than something that you work hard to do. It also assumes that you’re doing everything well, and that puts the pressure back on us to make sure everything’s great! From one working mom to another, can I just relieve you of the burden to be “super”?Something’s got to give- but be strategic. After nurturing my children, working at my job, serving in my church, and connecting with my husband, there are still things left that I have to do or want to do. Sometimes I make a list and determine which (in that season of life) are life-givers or life-suckers. Right now, being crafty is a life-sucker, so that’s something that can give. Cooking feels like a drain, so we try to make our meals convenient (the slow cooker is a great way to do this! Or that frozen bag of orange chicken from Trader Joe’s. Ain’t no shame in my game). Reading and writing feel so restful to me, life-giving, so that’s not worth giving up (even if reading at night might seem like a luxury to someone else).

Make your own list. What can you outsource? What can you put aside for now? What is essential to making you energized? Find a mentor. Ask around at work, church, playgroup, and within your community to find an older woman who has been in your shoes. I can’t tell you how comforting it is to have someone affirm your decisions and emotions. We want role models for our children, and we should look for role models for ourselves. Talk to her about the work/life balance. Ask how she made decisions about promotions or if she was available to volunteer in the classroom. She’s gone before you, so reap that wisdom!A Practical Tip: Make your lunch the night before. Same for the kids, if you’re responsible for their lunches. I always regret it when I don’t.Own It. You got this, girl. On the hard days, those days filled with “mommy guilt,” I make a list of the reasons why I work: it challenges my brain; I love meeting new people; I love helping my community; work pays the bills. Make your own list and feel proud of the decisions you’ve made.Take on a new title: you’re not a SuperMom, you’re a Woman of Valor. My friends and I cheer each other on with this title constantly. I’ll text a friend, “on the phone with a client AND changing a blowout!” and she’ll immediately text back, “Woman of Valor!” You’re working hard, you’re courageously taking on a lot, and you’re meeting the challenge!

How do you balance home and work? Do you have tips, tricks, or encouragement for other working moms?

[AUTHOR: Becca Eliasen]

January 22, 2015

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