I never wanted to be a supermom. So, by the time our first little one arrived, my husband and I had a plan for me to stay at home.
It was the perfect scenario, or so I thought. After a fast-paced high energy career in business development, changing diapers, setting schedules, and keeping house was not how I’d imagined my stay-at-home life. I was bored but still didn’t want to leave my kids. I just needed an outlet—something that was mine. So, I started working at home.
I freelanced for former colleagues and I networked to find life coaching clients. At that point, I wasn’t breaking any revenue records, but I was making money and finally feeling like a woman again, but then I had another problem. There weren’t enough hours in the day to be mommy, wife, housekeeper, and a freelance entrepreneur always hustling for work. I needed to be a supermom.
Grab a cape & become a Supermom
I became supermom (I didn’t wear a cape), and I woke up at 3 am to get writing done. Baked gluten free dairy free bread; breastfed the baby; took the kids to the park; spent time with my husband, cooked dinner every night, and woke up at all hours of the night with my (not such a great sleeper) son. I did it all, and I was exhausted.
I don’t drink, but I was living on dark chocolate bars because I wasn’t drinking coffee (and need the caffeine). It was a miserable time of life. One evening, I ate a chocolate bar that I didn’t want and felt sick afterward. I had SO much writing to do, and I just wanted to sleep.
I threw my hands up. Said, “screw it” (sanitized version) and I fell asleep. When I woke up the next morning, I realized supermom must die.
Killing the supermom myth
No matter how much I wanted to be perfect, I wasn’t going to risk my health (or sanity) for it. So, I said screw it. Here’s how I killed the supermom myth in my life.
- Talk to Spouse. I had an honest and vulnerable talk with my husband, and we agreed to a budget that would allow me to work and build my business at a sane pace.
- Figure out childcare. We also looked at how to get me a little support. Because of where we live and the cost of childcare, we hired some help. When I’m home (in the U.S.), I ask for help from family or if we can swing it, I put the kids in part-time daycare. I have friends who don’t even have childcare; they just work when they find the time. Other friends have developed childcare co-ops with friends. The possibilities to create support for yourself of pretty much endless. You just have to be creative.
- Meal Planning. I learned how to plan my meals so that I don’t have to cook every day, and I started working in spurts. It goes without saying but just so we’re clear, I don’t wake up before 5:30/6:00 now. Those 3 AM mornings are done.
- Self-Care. One of the most important shifts for me has been some self-compassion. I just can’t be everything for everyone without taking care of myself. As moms, we carry so much in our minds. We not only physically care for everyone but we hold everyone’s important information (appointments, allergies, feelings) in our minds All. Day. Long. I needed to take care of myself a little better and admit that sometimes I need a break.
- Use the Career Webover Technique. Instead of leveraging my former colleagues for work and looking for work on job boards that, honestly, didn’t pay very much, I refocused my attention to building my own community on-line. I gave my career a webover, and started working exclusively for myself online. I created an online business.
How to Kill Your Supermom Myth
Whether you’re currently working or you’re a stay-at-home mom, it doesn’t matter. We’re moms, and we all have the pressure to be perfect mothers. And you know what, that’s BS. It’s not possible to be perfect at anything. So, here’s how you kill your supermom myth.
- Find your sweet spot and concede the rest. I’ve conceded that I’m not the best at planning crafts for my kids. My best friend is brilliant at planning crafts though, and I could beat myself up all day for not being THAT mom. But why? I’m a really great walk to the park and run around with the kids mom. I’m good at making musical instruments out of random stuff in the house, and I’m a great story time snuggle mom.
- Dissect your career and/or skills. In my professional life, I’ve had to concede that I’m just not the ideal employee right now. At this point in my life, my family is the priority. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still need to make money. I do. So, I’ve determined which skills I have and which skills I enjoy.
- Determine services or products you can offer. The amazing thing about the global economy right now is that the world is leaning away from traditional corporate employment (9-5 hourly/salaried jobs), and toward a more individual economy, which is great for you and me. You have skills and ideas that other people need, and the internet is an amazing tool that will allow you to meet potential clients from other over the world who you would otherwise never know. So figure out what you can offer.
- Figure out what skills you need to be successful. Then you need to determine what you want to learn. You may have a bunch of highly lucrative skills, but I guarantee there are still things you don’t know. Maybe you’re not a great writer or you don’t know much about social media. Perhaps you’ve never set up a website. Figure out what you don’t know, and make a list.
- Start small. If you’re currently working full-time or if you’re a stay-at-home mom, you’re busy. So start small. Make a list of what you need to do to get started. You may need a class on starting a website or a blog. Before you buy anything, check out youtube.com. You’d be surprised how much how-to advice is packed in there. Here’s the trick though, don’t delay getting started. Every step you take today is a step you don’t have to take tomorrow. Start now.
Here’s the deal, being a supermom stinks.
No one should do it. It’s stressful, anxiety-inducing, and it’s just no fun. You have it in your power as an amazing woman to do something about it though. Killing the supermom myth in your life happens every time you make a choice that allows you to breathe and brings you joy.
You can’t be a good mom without being good to yourself–mentally, physically, and psychologically. Once you get your well-being in check, brainstorm what you could create for yourself professionally, as an online business. Hopefully, it’s something you enjoy so you can make your online business a fun project that excites you. Then, you’ll love making time for it in the margins of your life. Someone once told me to, “focus on doing what you love, and it you’ll never work a day in your life.”
That’s how the supermom myth died; she stopped saving everyone else and saved herself. And by saving herself, everyone around her prospered.