Are you a supermom?
Tis the season in the era of superheroes. What do we expect from the greatest superhero of them all during the holidays? Supermoms are cooking up extravagant architectural designs for the grandest gingerbread homes on the block. Supermoms are waiting in line at 3:00 am to get the perfect present to make this the most memorable holiday until next year. Supermoms are baking mouthwatering healthy treats that are as delicious to the eyes as they are to the tummy. Supermoms are doing it all and looking great doing it. More than any other time of year this when supermoms shine like shooting stars streaking across the night sky.
The uncomfortable truth about being a supermom is that it is often a recipe for stress, resentment, anger, and sadness leading to physical illness. “Super syndrome” and “Supermom syndrome” are two terms gaining traction in psychology and life coaching circles. Supers try to control every detail of life and often sacrifice their time, energy and health for the love of others. Supers aim for perfection in service to their children, their spouses, their jobs, and their friends.
What could possibly be wrong with possessing a strong drive to serve? Supers aim for an idea that does not exist but in abstract, perfection. It is an unattainable summit and in the process their own needs are not met.
Since the goal is beyond reach and essential human needs are not met, supers develop excess self-criticism, self-disbelief, depression, and pessimism. As a result they often lose sleep, have a constant drip of cortisol in their blood stream, may suffer eating disorders, have poor self image, and lose motivation. Sure to follow from living an imbalanced life would be adrenal fatigue, autoimmune disease, cardiovascular damage, and mood disorder.
There is hope for supermoms and other superheroes. Dr. Molly Barrow, a clinical psychotherapist, suggests drawing a pie chart each day and blocking off 8 hours for sleep. She recommends putting your priorities into the pie chart and celebrating your successes each day. “Well I was able to make Christmas decorations with my child today, but I wasn’t able to paint his room.” Treat it as a victory. Give yourself a pat on the back. We all ought to try to be a little more human and a little less superhuman. Try learning to let go, embracing the imperfect, and celebrating the incomplete this holiday season.