I recently saw a clip of an interview where The Daily Show host Trevor Noah, described moms as “super heroes without the capes.” This made me chuckle along with the audience, but the more I thought about it, the more this statement seemed like the perfect way to describe being a mom.
Some days it literally feels like a herculean feat just to get through the day. Being a mom, you’re “on the clock” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Add a full time job to that and you’re talking about a woman who literally never stops (and forget about sleeping).
This past August, I gave birth to our beautiful baby girl, and entered back into the workplace after taking three months of maternity leave. I’ll be honest; I did not want to go back to work. And I am one of the lucky moms who has an amazingly supportive manager and coworkers who completely understand and encourage work/life balance. It was still one of the hardest transitions of my life.
I hate that I am missing so many moments throughout the day. I even asked my daycare provider not to tell me if my baby girl crawls or walks at daycare because I can’t bear to think of not being the first one to witness those milestone moments.
But the reality is that I have to work. That’s the reality for so many moms out there. We want to contribute to our households, to provide for our families, to have fulfilling careers, but how do you find the balance when you’re always feeling like you’re just not quite enough?
What this perfectionist has discovered is that I can’t do it all and do it all well. I’ve had to shift my priorities and my expectations of myself. What I consider to be “enough” is completely different than what it was pre-baby. The reality is that I’m sleep deprived, emotionally drained and physically exhausted. Every morning I peel myself out of bed and do the best that I can as a mom, a step mom, a wife, a co-worker, a friend, but I can’t give 100% all of the time to everyone. It’s mentally and physically impossible.
I have also come to realize that the person who is the hardest on me, is me. That little voice inside my head that says, you’re not as successful as that woman, you’re not as creative as that mom, you’re not as attentive as that wife. The list of “you’re nots” goes on and on. But at the end of day, when I lay my head on my pillow, I try to quiet that voice, and tell myself all the things that I am. I am working hard every day at my job, and I’m able to do so much good for so many who are less fortunate than me. I am a great mom and step mom to two beautiful girls, and I’m a loving partner to my husband.
It’s important for all of us moms to remember that we are not perfect, but like Trevor Noah said, we are like super heroes without the capes. We are so many things to so many people. We are the boo-boo kissers, the multitasking phenoms, the ones that keep our households running. And that’s no small feat.
This Mother’s Day we’ll get gifts from our loved ones acknowledging all of these things. We’ll get flowers, or cards, or candy. But I think it’s more important for each us to take a moment to acknowledge ourselves. Take a few minutes to reflect on all that you do. Tell yourself that you are enough. And don’t forget to be kind to yourself, because you may not be leaping tall buildings with a single bound, but you are a super hero to the ones you love.