I am not supermom.
This is not news to me (or to you).
But, this is my recent realization: I am not meant to be supermom. I was never intended to be supermom.
I wonder if you can identify with this. Before I became a mom, I had a image in my head of what kind of mom I would be. What kind of home I would establish. What kind of rhythms and patterns to family life. And of course, the image in my head was all loveliness. I would be a fun, capable, warm, unflappable, approachable, competent grown up kind of a mom. And my home would be all order, safety, cleanliness, tidiness – a nutritious, home cooked lasagne and home baked cookies kind of a home.
I don’t really need to spell out to you that the reality has been…ah…different.
The result of this mismatch between my expectations and the cold shower of reality, is that many days I feel like a supermom failure. The standard is so high that there is a continual, spectacular falling short.
Feeling like a failure is exhausting! And it doesn’t inspire change and confidence.
So what is a normal mom to do?
What if the solution is not improving myself in all domestic areas until I reach something like supermom status? Or learning a million homemaking hacks until I can fake my supermom status?
Here’s the thing: I am a human mom. Not a superhuman mom.
A love gift
Psalm 127:2 says that the Lord “gives to his beloved sleep“. You have to read that several times to get the comfort of it. “He gives to his beloved sleep.” Sleep is a gift. Given to his loved ones.
At the moment in our household we are In The Midst of Teething. There aren’t many unbroken nights of sleeping. And we have been blessed with 4 children in 5 years, so no, we haven’t slept so much lately.
If you haven’t slept much lately, you might ask, “Are you saying God doesn’t LOVE me?! That’s why he isn’t giving me sleep?!”
Er, no. That would be insult to injury, my friend.
But I am saying, sleep is a creaturely thing, given to us by our Creator. It’s a gift.
You know that feeling when you’re tired, safe, tucked up, and you close your eyes? You can drift off, you’re out of it, you’ve downed tools and checked out. That’s because you’re human, not superhuman. Your body was made to rest and be restored.
“He who watches over you neither slumbers nor sleeps” (Psalm 121:4). That’s because He’s the Creator. He has no need of sleep and He is fully able to take care of us. That’s His role, not ours. And it’s pointless trying to take His place.
Psalm 127:2 starts this way: “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil…” It is a waste of time burning the candle at both ends. And I do not like wasting my time. You can try to push on through and ignore your need for rest and sleep, but it is in vain. It doesn’t achieve supermom kind of bread; just anxious, frazzled, worn down kind of bread.
God has not designed us to be supermoms, just human moms.
What does it mean to be a human mom?
We’re women, made in the image of our Creator God. We are creative, inventive and multifaceted. We have the ability to produce order from chaos on a daily basis. And on a good day, to find pleasure in that.
We are creatures. We have limitations. We have edges and boundaries. We have weaknesses and frailties.
I am a mom who needs sleep, who needs food, who needs comfort, friendship, understanding, a good laugh and any number of human things.
I am a human mom, bounded by the good constraints of time. I mean, there are only 24 hours in a day! We have to accept it and actually embrace it – we wake up, we pour ourselves in to our families and we serve, and then, “he gives to his beloved sleep”. We down tools and rest. Because He is the one in charge; He is the one who watches over us. He knows we are human mom, not supermom.
A word to the underslept (literally)
Getting enough sleep is not always in our control – this is blindingly obvious to any mom of young children. But I suppose the principle is: listen to your body. If you are in a season of sleeplessness, then don’t push it where you don’t have to. It’s ok to have pj mornings and not have 27 playdates before Tuesday.
A word to the underslept (because we are trying to be supermom)
You can trust the Lord when he says you don’t have to do it all. You don’t have to eat the bread of anxious toil. You may be overseeing the biggest project of your life, you may have a thousand and one tasks on your to-do list, you may have an unending charge to love and serve and lay your life down for others (and those others may be small, vulnerable and demanding). But it’s ok to sleep, to have limitations, to not be supermom, because that’s how God designed you. You’re meant to be human.
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.