#AntiSuperwomanMentality: My Efforts are Enough

Everyone knows a woman or two, who seem to have it all. She has the job, the family and is very active in her community. A lady who’s strong and who keeps herself along with her kiddos looking good…  She portrays an image of the ideal woman, in the Bible, described in Proverbs 31. “Her children arise and call her blessed and her husband also, and he praises her.” This all sounds wonderful so I know you’re probably thinking, “Where is she going with all of this?” Well, there is one part of this passage that many people seem to leave out when encouraging women. Verse 15: “She gets up while it is still night and provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.” There it is; the three words that blew my mind, “Her female servants”.  When I decided to read this chapter every day to encourage myself to keep up my superwoman behavior, I quickly realized, this woman was indeed ideal, however, she was NOT alone and NOT a “superwoman”. 

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There is clearly no such thing as a superwoman and striving to portray that image is doing more harm to women and our families than we think.  Many women are simply doing too much with little or no help at all, causing many of them to be overworked, underpaid and plain old stressed out. Our ways of relieving the stress are also limited because we simply don’t set aside time for ourselves. I recently read in a Mayo Clinic article that stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. 

Unfortunately, there aren’t any female servants or “big mamas” at home helping us with tasks and the majority of us laugh at the idea of hiring a nanny or assistant.  That also leaves the question of “Who can actually afford that privilege these days? ” Stay at home moms have transitioned to work at home moms who typically have a much heavier workload now than they ever did when actually working outside the home. With that being said our responsibilities are endless, expectations are unreasonable, our stress levels are rising and our overall health is declining. So what do we do?

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A therapist once told me that I need to be the best version of myself in order to help others. How could I be the best version of “myself” when I neglect “myself” to serve everyone else? You see, I had become everyone’s “go to” person and yet I had no one around for me to go to. Where was my female servant? Who will help me with my children while I’m reaching out and helping other moms with theirs? Who will help me with this huge project that I have been tasked with to fulfill someone else’s goals? Many people would say I was complaining but is it really a complaint or just being transparent about a situation while taking necessary actions to improve it? At this point many women don’t need the repetitive cliche’ affirmations and quotes (ie. You’re strong, God got you, Lean on the Lord, I don’t know how you do it, you’re superwoman…lol). We don’t even need a sympathetic pat on the back or a hug. I mean… all of this is great, thoughtful and kind but what‘s really needed is; 1. For our teammates, partners and/or co-workers to do their respective jobs, 2. Be willing to help others when necessary (like the superwoman always does..right?), 3. Someone to tell us it’s absolutely okay to say no when we need to. I’ve learned that these simple requests are sometimes too much to ask of many people. Simplicity can be quite complex at times. 

Now, I’ll conclude on a more transparent and personal note. My irrational expectations for myself and apparently others around me almost led to a nervous breakdown. At that point there was only one person to blame for this, ME. So what did I do??? I put “Superwoman” down! I went on a sabbatical for a month, taking a leave from every position with the exception of wife and mom. I had to remove myself to get my life back in order, first taking care of myself, my husband and then my kids followed. I began to prioritize what I am called to do and what I needed to let go. During this process I had to decline invitations, solicitations, and propositions to intentionally work on reasonable goals, aspirations, and self-care. And now, if I don’t feel I have the help or support I need to effectively complete a task, I simply decline and keep it moving. 

I believe an ideal woman is one who fears the Lord and uses wisdom. Her priorities are in order and she knows her family comes first. She no longer tries to fix the burdens of the world but strives to effect change through improvement and not perfection. I’m encouraging you women out there to be wise and set reasonable expectations for yourself and others around you. Let go of the guilt that you may feel when you don’t meet those crazy expectations. As for me, I am working on being content with who God called me to be and in this process of striving to please Him only, I’ve found that with everything else, my efforts are enough.

If you are a single mom, married mom, single woman or wife without children continue to ‘be about your business’, seek the Lord, set boundaries and stay focused on what’s most important to you. Join the movement in fighting burnout and over extending ourselves using the superwoman facade! #ASM #AntiSuperwomanmentality 

If you like the #antisuperwomanmentality gear shown in this post, please click here BUY NOW!  to purchase your own or for a dear friend.  

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#ASM #AntiSuperwomanMentality
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Working From Home With Multiple Children: How I Survive! 

Endless spills, constant screams/whining, bathroom accidents, and countless ungrateful attitudes are what a stay at home mom deals with on a daily basis, all day long. Literally 24/7! You probably thought that I was only referring to the behavior my children but these behaviors are definitely experienced with grown folks, well…myself! Yes, I’m guilty of spilling things, screaming and being ungrateful when I get frazzled or frustrated. That all comes with the three jobs I have. My primary job is to homeschool and care for my four little blessings; 5 year old boy/girl twins, 4 year old son, and 2 year baby girl. The other jobs are working at home as a contract administrator for a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company and managing our finances in which I also consider part-time. 

I have recently calculated an estimated gross salary for my current triune role as a WAHM (work at home mom), a position I’ve obtained for over 2 years now. It was an astounding amount of $180,000 a year! That includes a salary from daycare (for all four children), part time work from home, and part time CFO (Chief Financial Officer). When you combine all of these daily positions in addition too your normal at home spousal duties i.e. cleaning, cooking, and yard work, you are no doubt over worked and essentially underpaid. All of my work seems to be pro bono and at times I feel like an under-appreciated servant who’s always stressed out, physically, mentally and spiritually drained.

Well I’m here to tell you what makes my life easier. When I say ‘easier’ I’m definitely using that term lightly. Please understand that staying at home with children is a calling. It will never be easy and everyone might not be able to do it, however, you can survive it! Here are eight practical ways to help you in your work at home with kids journey.

1. Plan Your Day Ahead of Time

I plan the meals and snacks for the day on the night before. I also get their outfits out (if we decide to change our clothes that day). The activities, lesson plans, outings and naps (If I get lucky!) are incorporated in the daily schedule. Without a consistent schedule you will without a doubt lose your wits!!! Plan, plan and plan!

2. Manage Your Time Wisely

If you have to break it down by the hour to make sure you are managing your time effectively then do it. For example, I try not to spend more than 1 hour at a time in front of my computer, watching TV, or doing a chore. I try to prioritize what task needs my attention the most. For example washing a sink full of dishes or load of laundry does not take priority over a job project or teaching my children. Designate time for every task you have but also find time to play with your kids. 

3. Confine Your Kids to a Designated Area

We generally hang out in our living room or family room. That way, at the end of the day I only have a few rooms to clean including the kitchen. Those rooms are also the largest rooms in the house that enables the kids to play, learn, and watch TV. Whatever you do, do not let the roam them house unsupervised. You’ll end up with a very eventful day to say the least.

4. Child Proof Every Room

If you have something that can harm your kids, lock it up. If they shouldn’t go into a particular room, lock it up! Put the good sweet snacks on an elevated shelf in the pantry so that you have time to catch your little kids if they attempt to help themselves! Use your high chairs, bouncers, and pack n plays to temporarily restrain your little one before you get on a call or take a potty break. Also sit in an area of the house that provides the perfect view of your child’s possible way of escape. For example, if you are in the living room sit at an angle that allows you to see each exit into another room. Completely unsupervised children will cause major problems and it could be dangerous. No matter what age group your child falls in, keep a watchful eye at all times. 

5. Discipline Your Child/Children Consistently 

Spare the rod, spoil the child is what the Bible says. I honestly think that it’s not only referring to physical chastising but establishing rules and enforcing them. I’ve learned to talk to my children about what their actions and why they were wrong, give a swat on the rear-end if they have broken a rule (time out or taking away something they like for a period of time are alternatives), then say a short prayer with them. When you take the time to do this you not only make your work day run smoothly, you also impart into your child core principles of life. If they don’t learn to respect and listen to you then they won’t do it to others. You might not see the benefits of this type of discipline right now but I truly believe it will pay off in the long run. 

6. Stay Loaded with Snacks 

Anyone who knows me, knows the fact that I stay equipped with snacks in the home and especially outside the home. Snacks are great to use when for a reward system, distraction and redirecting. If I know I have to get on a business call, focus on a project, or tend to another responsibility, I make sure I have a quiet activity along with a snack planned for my little ones. If we’re outside of the house I tell my children if they follow the rules then they get a sweet snack (usually fruit snacks or fruit roll ups). This encourages them to learn self control. It also lets them know that good behavior is appreciated and therefore rewarded. 

7. PRAY Without Ceasing

The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing! Every morning before I get up, during the day, and before I go to bed I pray. I ask God to give me supernatural strength to be effective and efficient in all of my positions. This is a job that requires you to have the help of the Holy Spirit especially if you don’t have help from a nanny or family member. Along with prayer, also anoint your home with holy oil to set the atmosphere of love, peace, unity, and contentment. 

8. Keep a Grateful Heart

When things are continuously not going as well as I expected , I always remind myself that things could be worst. There are days when I feel like I want to give up and that I have failed as a wife, mother, friend and employee but life goes on. I learn from my mistakes and keep it moving. I’m grateful that I’m alive, healthy, and blessed with family and provision. I look at my jovial and beautiful children, listen to their cute little giggles and watch cognitive developmental milestones all day long.  I’m grateful that I was blessed with the opportunity to stay home with them and still have an additional source of income. When I struggle, I find joy knowing that my kids are happy, loved, educated, minstered to, taken care of by me and that my dear husbands trusts me with this great responsibility. Joyce Meyer once said, “Enjoy where you are on the way to where you’re going”. Those are words that I strive to live by. 

I believe this post pretty much answers the frequently asked question, “How do you do it???”. The topic was recently requested by my brother in law who occasionally works from home with my sweet nephews and niece. This one’s for you Uncle B! 

A Glimpse Into the Life of a Co-sleeping Mama Bear 

 For the past couple of months we’ve been staying with a family member, awaiting the closing on our new home. Because our move was so abrupt, the hubs and I have been circumstantially sharing an 11×13 room with our 5 year old boy/girl twins, 4 year son, and 2 year old daughter. While being so close to my dear family, I’ve learned that my 2 year old daughter talks to herself and sounds like she’s hooked up to an amp. Our very strong 4 year old is quite the fighter in his sleep. Not a good co-sleeper at all unless you like Brazilian jiu jitsu moves performed on you. Mr. BJ, our 5 year old son, who sleeps alone in a toddler bed a few inches away from our bed, grinds his teeth and tosses and turns all night long fighting with his blanket. Our sweet 5 year old daughter Naomi likes to cuddle with mama when she finally goes to sleep which is usually around midnight. She’s our little night owl who sneaks out of the room at least 3 or 4 times during the night. 

This situation has been slightly uncomfortable and tad bit unconventional but I absolutely love it, now. Beyond the constant yells of “Be quiet!” , “Give me my blanket!”, “Eww who fart it!” I feel like we’ve grown closer as a family than ever before. I stare at their sweet faces throughout the night and smile as I know that they are loved, comfortable and safe.

I’m not sure what our sleeping dynamic will look like when we finally move into our new home (next week, hooray!!!) We will cut the umbilical cord again from all 4 kids (mom AND dad this time) and I’m obviously struggling with the thought of that. I seriously didn’t think that this would be bittersweet but it is. This hasn’t been the most preferred sleeping arrangement, however, I have to confess that I will definitely miss hibernating with my little cubbies. I’ll have to convince my hubby to allow us to co-sleep at least one night a month. We’ll see how THAT goes. 

Can We Quit, Please???? (Part 2 of my 5-year twins’ basketball experience)

Last Saturday, my twins (daughter and son) played in their first basketball game and I wrote about it my previous post. It was not a good experience for my kids or ME for that matter (Click here to read it if you haven’t already)! It had nothing to do with the program itself, which is awesome by the way, but everything to do with me, my children and my expectations of them. I’ve said to a few readers that it would be better this week because dad will be with them this time.  Well….I was wrong; it was BAD. Really BAD… like Donald Trump’s latest speeches, BAD. And the game ended with me running out of gym searching for my daughter, who ran off of the court seeming to have disappeared into the thin air. She was hiding in the bathroom. When we finally found our missing daughter, we loaded up the car and I could no longer hold back!  The waterworks of frustration spilled and the words came shortly after. Frustrated because my son and daughter are struggling and mom could not help. Essentially because daddy is the one who coaches and mom needs to tend to the younger brother and sister.

During the dreaded ride home, I explained to my husband that playing a full court, 5 on 5 game with whistles and buzzers on 8 foot goals is too much for OUR children right now. As if, my son’s twirling around in circles not knowing if he’s on defense or offense and only touching the ball once because his experienced teammates realize he has no clue what he’s doing. I hoped that my daughter hanging on his leg the whole game (with her pink fall jacket on) and running off of the court in tears wasn’t enough evidence. I would cringe every time I heard one of the players uncles yelling at him, asking if he was slow (mentally delayed) or something every time he did the opposite of what he’d instructed. You see, I’ve coached children this age before and learned that all children are on different levels and need certain drills, training, and attention before you put them in a full blown game.  It crushes their confidence when they can’t even touch the ball, have no idea what to do with it, and shot gets no where near the end of the net let alone the rim! The experience becomes traumatic and they will lose interest before they could even improve. *sigh*

I really wanted to believe that it would be better today. Maybe I was just trying to be optimistic because I didn’t think any experience could be worse than last weeks. I mean, what’s worse than parents yelling at their kids from the sideline, rolling their eyes at the clock keeping mom (me), my kids crying and running off the court and a leader in the program telling you that they think they still give out ‘Most Improved’ awards. Allowing our kids to play in these games were like throwing them in the deep water for the first time and telling them to swim. Watching them gasp for air as they bob up and down with the fear of death in their eyes, bound to drown… I guess there’s still this microscopic fragment of hope that my kids will eventually develop an early interest in mommy and daddy’s favorite sport. My son is still clueless but at least he’s staying in the game. As a mom and former coach, it’s very difficult to watch this happen and the only thing I can do is try to encourage them and practice later.

Maybe I looking to deeply into thus but I just feel as parents, we must strive to be the best advocates for our children (especially at this young age) not humiliate them. Our children rely on us to always have their best interest and if we get caught up in what we desire for them, without even considering their gifts, talents and interests, we deprive them of reaching their full potential. I don’t want to encourage them to become professional quitters like their mama has been said to be, but I think we do need to teach them that it’s okay to postpone certain things in your life. I have no idea what we are going to do about our twins because it has to be a mutual agreement between my husband and I, however, I’m pretty sure from the tone of this post I’ve made my opinion crystal clear that postponing could be the best course of action. Where’s a parenting manual when you need one!

If you’re a parent I would love to here your opinion on the topic. Share (in the comment section below) some of your experiences of having your children compete in athletics between the ages of 5-7.