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Superwoman? Ah, No Way

July 8, 2010

When people ask me what life is like at home, I cackle. Do they think I am superwoman because I know something about kids?

Of course, our life is as hectic, comedic and frenzied as the next families, but we try. I try. I try to do all that I know is in our kids’ best interest and what reflect our values, goals, priorities and knowledge of our kids and child development.  The goal, just like we tell our kids, is to do our best, not perfection.

But let me tell you, I mess up. I get overwhelmed and my ability to do my best starts to slip. Give me a few nearly-100 degree days, and I’ll really show you how things unravel.

So after a lovely vacation, we’re home and trying to resume the not-so-scheduled-summer schedule.  We’re tired. We secretly crave the school year predictability. Mom’s overwhelmed. School work and writing call as do the myriad of tasks requisite to running a home, managing two teens, caring for two parents, and catching up on a week’s worth of mail (thankfully, it was mostly junk!).

So when kids’ require more reminding or redirecting than I’d expect before 8 a.m., I start to slip. That begins the derailment which causes more reminding of things “I shouldn’t have to remind you about…” You know the drill. Next thing we know, we are late for sailing camp but some how, everyone is fed, clothed and has what they need for the morning. Dirty laundry remains on the floor, but basic needs are met and we forge ahead.

The car ride discussion re-focuses us as I inquire “what 5 tasks can I routinely count on you each to do?” Silence. They’re probably afraid to reply in case that unleashes round two from the human-formerly-known-as-mom.  In lieu of a response, I issue homework for after sailing.  Come up with 5 or see me for help. Post on the kitchen calendar by dinner. Family meeting later tonight to review the job-sharing which clearly doesn’t feel like a “share” not so much a “share” right now.

So as the mercury hits 103, we are quietly inside doing summer homework (actual school homework and mom’s assignment), looking at recipes, debating whether or not to water the vegetable garden, slurping on homemade slushees, and making our job lists.  There are at least two schemes brewing to share tasks and help out. Diplomatically, my fourteen year old suggests we each post our lists, everyone looks at them for a bit and we meet in a couple days to decide how the summer jobs will flow. Agreed.

While they are writing their lists, I rack my brain and my heart for my own stress. No surprise, too much going on. I make up a little tune based on some Wee Sing song that still sits in the deep recesses of my brain and the title of my friend Michele Woodward’s new book, I am Not Superwoman.

I’m not superwoman…not gonna be superwoman…

Gonna do my best, do my job, lose my mind and sort out the rest

I’m not superwoman…not gonna be superwoman…

Gonna tackle those tasks to settle the nest.

Just gotta be my best…no superwoman

Corny, I know. But silly enough to remind me that we all need the mindless down time to consolidate and recharge. My kid know that and quietly remind me as they amuse themselves with whatever they are doing in the silence of the hot afternoon.  My task list kept growing because I couldn’t prioritize and tackle what was most important. But I do add to that list, “order a copy of Michele’s book” which will most definitely help me stay focused, set realistic goals, laugh and enjoy more out of life. (You can do this,too, by clicking on the title above.)

We all get overwhelmed by little details and the big tasks. Tomorrow is another day to try again to be the best mom, teacher, writer, friend, laundress, gardener, etc. I can be. The heck with Superwoman. It’s summer and I’ll slowly regain some order in the house and enjoy another 100 degree day doing something fun with the kids. Hope you do the same, Superwomen (and men!)

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