We all have multiple personalities. For each role that you play in your life, there is a way of being that goes along with that. For most of us that way is set to automatic – we operate without much conscious thought or intention.
Think about how you are at work – how you speak, the words you use, how you stand, sit, smile. On the days when I would come home from work and quickly jump into a conversation with Chris, he would jokingly ask me to “please turn off your HR voice”. He’s right – I definitely have a way of speaking when I’m at work that is different from my way at home.
When you’re out with friends you’re different; from what you talk about, to how you listen, to the habits you have that only your friends really see.
What about how you are with your kids? Think about how you parent, the way you speak to them, and the way you speak to yourself.
SuperMom is the name I've given to my default way of being a mom. For years I unconsciously operated from this place without any awareness that I could choose another way. What I’ve come to notice is that even though my SuperMom is unique to me, lots of moms in western culture have similar patterns and habits.
Who is SuperMom?
SuperMom would say she’s stressed out. She has no real connection to her emotions, so she couldn’t tell you if she is sad or angry or scared. She would just say she’s stressed.
SuperMom talks a lot about being busy. She would say her kids are growing up too fast and that she doesn’t have time for anything. She feels like she’s behind, always trying to catch up.
SuperMom is always doing something. She has a to-do list that she follows religiously, and when there is a quiet moment she feels like she’s missing something. It takes her days to wind down when on vacation, if she does at all.
SuperMom would stay up late to bake fresh cupcakes and make elaborate goodie bags for the birthday party. She says she does this because she loves her kids (which is absolutely true), and secretly she also worries what the other moms might think.
SuperMom does not ask for help. Partly because she doesn’t want to be a bother, and partly because no one else can do it the way she wants it done. She will do it all herself and do her best to make it look effortless. And then she will get bitter and resentful that she is doing everything and no one is helping.
SuperMom is deeply caught up in the “no pain, no gain” modern slavery agreement. She works hard, long hours trying to progress her career. She is grateful for her job, and also complains about it a lot.
SuperMom loses her temper and gets frustrated when her kids don’t listen, because they are mirroring for her how she has abandoned herself.
SuperMom holds it all. She knows every dentist appointment, field trip, soccer game and play date. She prides herself on it.
SuperMom struggles to stand up for herself. She wants to keep people happy, so she takes what she’s given and says thank you. She won’t ask for the raise. She won’t question the decision. She won’t push back. And then, she gets angry at herself for not doing it.
SuperMom is a juggler. She can breastfeed the baby, have a conversation, keep one eye on the other kids, and plan out the weekend all in the same moment. Her time is fragmented.
SuperMom isn’t sure what she wants for herself, because honestly she doesn’t spend much time thinking about it. Her life belongs to others.
Where Are We Going?
Let me be very clear – I do not hate her. I don’t want to destroy her. She is a part of me, and I love her. SuperMom is generous, and kind, and thoughtful. She’s a loyal friend and a loving, devoted mom. For years she has done a great job and served me well. I just don’t want her running the show anymore.
I’m not kicking her off the bus, I just won’t let her drive.
Unlearning SuperMom means unpacking all of those default behaviors, healing them, and integrating them into my being so that from this moment on I can operate with more conscious awareness.
The only way to do this is to shift my focus from doing, doing, doing… to my internal life.
I am striving for integration. I want my left and right brain to have equal time running the show, where I am just as great at organizing a fundraiser as I am at enjoying the people there.
I want to have a clear connection to my emotions, what they are telling me, and how to move with them.
I want to become a master internal hostess – welcoming all parts of me with love (even the yucky, shadowy bits), and setting clear house rules.
I want to be a ninja at coming back from an amygdala hijack. When I get triggered, I want to move through and get back online before I do any damage.
I want to be conscious, present, and mindful. I want a full spiritual practice where I have a clear channel to my intuition.
For me, Unlearning SuperMom is my path to becoming a whole human being.
And in the process, I’ll be showing this all to my kids. Just imagine what that world will look like.