Do you believe that, as a mom, it's your job to guarantee everyone in your family is happy at all times? If your answer was "yes," you may have SuperMom-itis.
SuperMom-itis isn't a real disease, of course, but pretending it is can help you see your parenting habits in a different light. The "symptoms" are easy to see. Take, for example, your aching back, or your tendency to bump into things: like the sofa, the coffee table, the airâ€¦Fact is, you're exhausted, but something keeps driving you to be Super all the time.
Trouble is, actually being Super Mom is Code Impossible.
The problem starts with the word "happy" itself. Even if we could all agree what the word means, happiness happens on the inside. It has never been something a mom can give her kids as a gift. The most you can do is help â€” and that counts for a lot. For instance, if Felix is having a bad day, don't try to "fix" it with a nine course meal and a trip to the movies with three of his friends. Have a chat with him to help him understand his feelings. Offer constructive advice about steps he can take to improve the situation.
Then, if helping him sort out his feelings has left you feeling drained, give yourself a break. Revise the dinner menu and make something quick and easy. You'd be surprised how cheerfully a boy will eat "just hot dogs" if he knows his mom loves him enough to sympathize instead of taking charge.
And that's the irony. You can often do more to help your kids find happiness by doing less. It's not the number of after school activities, or the number of hours you spend on the laundry, that makes kids grow up with a positive attitude. It's the love you share and the support you give to their struggles through life â€” that and a couple of stern looks when they smash the kitchen window with a runaway baseball.
So if you think you may have SuperMom-itis, set more realistic standards for yourself and let your needs be known. Establish a few basic house rules: laundry in the hamper, dirty dishes in the sink, coats hung up in the closet. Little readjustments like that can really make a difference. They're also the best way to ensure you never end up folding gym socks at 2:00 a.m. again.Do you know someone who's pushing herself too hard to be the perfect mom? Do some dads have the same problem in a different way? Should we erase the word "perfect" from the dictionary? Do you ever try to "fix" your kids problems on your own? What are effective ways to help them develop their own problem-solving skills? How do you define happiness?