It seems to be everywhere. The Supermom complex, I mean. The growing pressure in our society to “do it all”. Whether pressure we feel from others or pressure we place on ourselves, it is a very real thing. Oftentimes I hear (or see if on social media) people complimenting moms by calling them a supermom, implying that they have it all, do it all, and don’t break a sweat in the process.
But you know? I don’t want to be called a supermom (and all of you that know me well know there is no real danger of that!). I do not aspire to be the perfect cook, perfect decorator, perfect homeschooling parent, perfect crafter, sewer, baker, mom, wife, and so forth. There are times where I long to be better than I am at any or all of the above, and I strive to do my best in the variety of roles I am called to. However, I feel there is a difference between “Supermom” and even an example of a woman such as the Proverbs 31 woman.
Granted, reading through Proverbs 31 can be intimidating, and I confess, has left me feeling a bit inadequate at times. Yet the P31 woman is meant to be a composite of Godly, womanly characteristics rather than a very strict job description to be followed. For example, I may not know how to sew bed coverings (Proverbs 31:22), but I can make sure my family has what they need to stay warm at night. If that means using a coupon at Kohls to get a blanket for 75% off, then I believe that works! The point, from my understanding, of the P31 passage is to illustrate characteristics we as women should strive for (and characteristics men should look for in a wife): industriousness, kindness to others, honoring our husbands, loving our children, taking care of our families, being wise stewards of what we have been given, and so forth. Will these be done perfectly? No, of course not. Can we do these in our own power? Not at all. And that is the point.
To me, the supermom moniker indicates that that mom can do it all, that she is in control and on top of things- that she doesn’t need any help and does it all in her own power. Is a woman like that even easy to relate to? Speaking for myself, I am much more comfortable around women that are honest about both their successes AND their failures. It’s just more real. When women feel pressure to do and be everything, it is exhausting and overwhelming and unrealistic. Ironically, it can lead to the exact opposite of characteristics like caring for your family and being kind to others- I know the times where I have taken on too much in order to appear “super” in some way, I have been less than the best mom and wife I can be! I feel like the Christmas season brings out this need to be perfect more than many other times of year. We lay high expectations on ourselves to perform so we can have a Norman Rockwell-esque Christmas, all the while wearing ourselves ragged and missing the simple joy in the smaller things.
It tells us in both Romans 12 and in 1 Corinthians 12 that God gave us all different gifts. While these passages speak mainly of spiritual gifts, I believe they can also be applied to the various skills and talents we have been given. These gifts are given to us to be used to glorify the Lord and bless others, not to glorify ourselves. And how beautifully they allow us to complement each other instead of compete with each other. I’m not saying we can’t be excited about something we accomplish and share it with others, but I know we are supposed to point others to Him in the process. It’s something I do strive for even though I often fall short.
How freeing is it though to really throw off the desire or attempt to be a supermom? Think about it! Less pressure to perform, permission to be who we are while growing in who we are called to be! Drawing attention to Christ rather than ourselves? I find that to be a beautiful, wonderful thing! Yes, there are times I want to be praised, admired, have something I’ve made be pinned repeatedly on Pinterest or liked ten times over on Facebook. But that’s when I know I need to keep my perspective in check and make sure that while my works may praise me (Proverbs 31:31), that ultimately, they praise the One who gave them to me.
Be encouraged ladies! You don’t have to be a supermom! Working to glorify Him and bless others is what we are called to, and we do it in His grace, not in our power, and with the unique gifts He has given us. So relax, enjoy this season, do what you have been uniquely given to do and stop comparing your Charlie Brown Christmas tree or attempts at baking homemade bread with the mini Rockefeller trees and braided loaf breads of others. 😉