Super-Mom Syndrome thrives on doing all the right things to build the perfect family.
The wonder of holding my son for the first time quickly turned into fear at the thought of actually leaving the hospital–this is the fear that sets us up for Super-Mom Syndrome.
There is something wonderful and awful about the responsibility of raising children. Joy and terror can drive the most level-headed into a state of vamped up perfectionism.
I wanted to be a good mom. I wanted to honor God with my best. We used cloth diapers and I made our own baby food. I baked bread, read Bible stories, started my kids on chores and read books on discipline. I would have made my own Kleenex if I had thought of it.
The problem with Super-Mom Syndrome is that you can’t ever get there. Perfectionism in any form is a merciless taskmaster.
Creating a world of false ideals and unrealistic expectations, we hold ourselves to this invisible standard. That standard may be a little different for every Super-Mom, but we all are weary under a weight that God never intended for us to carry.
He never asked us to do it on our own.
When good things become rules and comparison drags our self-esteem into the gutter, Super-Mom Syndrome isn’t working. At the heart of all my efforts was a fear of failure with the most important thing I have ever been entrusted with.
How much is enough? And if it all depends on us, anything that goes wrong is on us. So we fix and cajole. We control and contrive. We stress and we push. With all we’ve got, we try to make life perfect.
And it is never enough.
For me, it was time to recognize my attempts to build the perfect home were not truly rooted in faith. I prayed, God help me be a good mom, but then I took all the responsibility for my performance.
My trust was too often in in myself, my Super Mom efforts. I never felt like super-mom–usually it was quite the opposite. Try harder, be more consistent, be more patient—these words echoed in my head.
Over time, God peeled back my expectations and comparisons, showing me that I had put my faith in formulas rather than in Him.
So often the things we struggle with reveal what is really going on in our heart. It’s easy to begin in the spirit, to start with a true desire and a right motive. And it is a very short step from faith to self-reliance.
Paul’s words to the Galatians are for all of us, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Phil. 3:3) At times, we’re all that foolish, for the struggle to trust God rather than ourselves is universal.
As I began to understand the cost of perfectionism, pressure to perform began to relax into grace. I began to let go of my self-effort to create the perfect family. How freeing to grab hold of the truth that before I was mother, God IS Father. I want to be, but He is the true I AM.
Ever present and always faithful, God loves me whether or not the house is immaculate or the discipline is flawless. He is at work in my life and in my parenting–and He is good at what He does.
In my weakness, He is strong, and He is not waiting around for me to get it all right before doling out His blessings on my family. His faithfulness is not dependent on my Good-Mom performance.
So, I am kissing perfect goodbye. For in trying to measure up, I miss the grace that comes when I open my heart and rest in God. For me, learning to trust God to work in and through me, released the pressure to get it all right.
Enjoy your time at home!