I’m just an average person, but lately I’ve been called Super Mom more times than I can count. I’ll admit it’s nice, but it’s mostly embarrassing. I am only doing what so many others would do in my situation. There’s nothing special to it. Maybe you’d like to know “How to be Super Mom” have you ever googled something like that? Today I’m writing about how I became “Super” Mom.
Step One: Move Away From Family
The story starts back before children were ever apart of our lives. Back when my husband and I moved away from family to start a new adventure in another state, 6+ hours from our hometown. A hometown which BOTH our families reside. This was the first step to becoming Super Mom, and I didn’t even know it.
You see, one of the biggest and most difficult struggles we encounter is not having family close by to help with running an errand, or briefly keeping an eye on the kids. We have been forced to do things on our own more than most. I’ve taken all my kids to my doctor’s appointments. Our oldest was frequently seen on campus as I was finishing my degree. It can feel draining trying to figure out how to mail a package through the Post Office, or pile groceries in a cart full of little people, or clean the house, or basically do anything safely while towing around a gaggle of kids.
Step Two: Don’t Move Away From Your Family if You Don’t Have to!
There’s actually no need to leave family and friends if you don’t have to. Just don’t let the convenience of having the added help here and there deter you from venturing out on your own. I see this constantly with people I know are fully capable of the same things I do everyday. However, they just don’t believe they can do it, because they’ve never forced themselves to do it.
My little Momma motto is to never schedule anything while relying on anyone else but myself. This ultimately means that finding someone to watch the kids would be great, but if I can’t find anyone then I’ll be okay to go with all the kids in tow. Even at home, I don’t presume to rely on my husband for various reasons, and have proved to myself I can feed the kids, clean up dinner, finish laundry, bathe everyone, read books, put everyone down for the night, and straighten the house completely on my own (That doesn’t mean I do that every night, it just means I’m capable).
Step Three: Test Your Limits
When I’m faced with the challenge of going somewhere, let’s use the Doctor’s Office as an example, I have to think in all directions. My kids need to get in to see the Doctor, so I can’t back down. On occasion my husband has come home at lunch to help, but that’s not always feasible. I’m forced to succeed (We’re counting making it out alive as succeeding).
In the beginning, it isn’t pretty. I’ve been known to look as if I were herding cats, but the point is I attempted it… and I keep on attempting even after I feel like I fail miserably (remember succeeding only means getting it accomplished). Each trip out the door, I learn something new about my children. Each new addition to the family and each new stage of a child’s life presents new obstacles. Each new obstacle is yet another learning moment for me. Going out with your kids doesn’t just magically get better without practice.
Step Four: Test Your Children’s Limits
Just as I have learned with each trip to the store, school, church, or what-have-you, my kids have learned as well. I rely heavily on them to do their part in the outing. The jobs start off as small, but as they grow older the jobs get bigger. Our oldest is great at holding hands with the younger ones in the parking lots. If we are out walking, they know when they need to hold on to the stroller and when they can walk a little further ahead.
Because it takes awhile to buckle EVERYONE in the car seats, a few of them are learning to buckle themselves. This promotes independence, and I’m quick to let them know they’re helping Mom. Lessons like this happen often and that’s why our kids make their beds, get dressed, brush their teeth, clean the toy room, put their shoes away, set the table, clear the table, put dirty laundry in their baskets, etc. The point: Don’t underestimate your child’s abilities. They just need a little coaching.
Step Five: There’s a Time and Place for Everything
Recently I took all five kids to the zoo alone for the first time (baby #5 was just 4 weeks old). I knew it would be worth a try because 1.) We have a zoo pass, so if we only lasted ten minutes, no harm done. 2.) We’ve gone to the zoo before several times (50-100x) and the kids know exactly what to expect. 3.) We went right when it opened on a day during the week so we knew it would not be crowded.
That last point is essential. We head to the playgrounds and parks sometimes as early as 7:30am or 8am. No one is ever there. So, if there’s a proper time, then there’s also a proper place. We don’t just go to any park, we go to the ones fenced all the way around (I don’t have to helicopter around checking on everyone). We choose the zoo over the aquarium because the zoo has much more room to spread out. Our kids like to have a bit of freedom and knowing the best time and place provides just that.
Step Six: Give Yourself Grace
Quite possibly the most important life lesson I’ve learned is to give myself grace. This doesn’t mean to give myself excuses, but sometimes things just don’t work out and that’s more than alright. I’ve had to apologize to my children for setting lofty goals and not getting to do something fun such as a trip to the zoo or having a friend over to play. Though I’d love to squeeze it in, there are just some days I can’t physically, or perhaps emotionally, do it. It’s a form of self-care… knowing my limits.
Giving yourself grace means letting yourself cry now and then. It means letting off some steam by venting to a friend. Telling others you feel defeated doesn’t mean you’re a failure. As you push on, you’ll have fewer and fewer days of feeling that way. I have always told others that two kids was my hardest point of life, and now that we have five, I feel life has gotten easier and much more joyous as we gradually added love into our lives.
Bonus Super Mom Tips:
- Routine: When you have any number of kids you should always consider following a routine. When you have three or more children, or if your children are extremely close in age like ours, a routine is imperative! Why? Because setting a precedent for each day gives your kids the confidence and comfort in knowing what their job is in the family unit. Each child is asked to do their chores in the morning and while at first there was loads of grumbling about it, now things are done without my constant nagging and without complaint (usually).
Check Out More On Routines Here: https://stmarthaslens.com/2019/03/20/how-to-create-a-daily-routine-for-a-busy-family/
- Keep a Tidy Home: I refuse to spend all of my time cleaning my home, but because I developed a cleaning routine, I feel comfortable in my house while living in it. A tidy home to me, means having minimal clutter, and that ultimately meant realizing I don’t NEED so much stuff. Everything I bring into my home is just one more thing to take care of really. I can’t call myself a minimalist, but I’ve greatly reduced our material items, especially the “stuff” out in the main living areas of the house.
Check Out More on Keeping a Tidy Home Here: https://stmarthaslens.com/2018/09/22/cleaning-offers-me-peace-2/
- Use Your Time Wisely: I’ve talked about how I use a timer system. It isn’t for everyone, but I’ve found it helps me focus on each task and each child individually. Being mindful of my time has also meant leaving my phone in a separate room. I use music or podcasts to promote productivity especially when I’m cleaning. I don’t necessarily try to multi-task, because I’m not great at that (unless I can count folding laundry and watching T.V. I am good at that!). Just take a look at your day and find the wasteful moments. Some days I need mindless perusing of Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and the like, but most days I don’t.
Check Out More on Using Your Time Wisely Here: https://stmarthaslens.com/2017/07/12/my-secret-to-efficiency/