Thursday, September 19, 2013

Super Mom Syndrome

I was talking with my Mom the other day about the latest happenings inside our house- Hadley’s potty training progress, Kara’s mastered the art of rolling over, etc.  I can’t remember exactly how it came up, but we got to talking about how I am constantly worrying if my parenting is screwing the girls up.  Am I paying enough attention to Kara?  Am I paying enough attention to Hadley?  What is the magic amount of time that it’s ok to let Kara cry it out, without making her feel abandoned?  Am I being consistent and firm enough with Hadley when I have to discipline her?  If I am, then why is she having temper tantrums at gymnastics?  And why is that judge-y Mom incident still bothering me when I know I did nothing wrong?  Ahhh!!!!  It is overwhelming sometimes.  I asked her if she had felt the same pressure that I am feeling now, when my siblings and I were Hadley and Kara’s age.  She said “no”, without even a hint of hesitation.  “Everyone nowadays seems to want to be super mom,” she said. 
Even though I don’t consciously desire to be super mom, I know that she is right.  It’s a constant cycle in my head.  Maybe it’s because we are all so connected these days, in so many ways, by the internet.  Between my Facebook newsfeed showing all the picture-worthy activities other Moms are doing with their children and the Pinterest pins stacking up the list of things I still have yet to do for my kids, I sometimes feel inadequate and paralyzed.  A typical afternoon spent inside my head sounds something like this: 
“Should I make this salt dough handprint cookie with Hadley?  That would be a fun sensory experience for her.  Or maybe I should be singing songs and dancing with her to tap into her musical side- we haven’t had much music exposure yet today.  Wait, what about Kara?  She needs attention too- I don’t want to mess up this critical connection time.  Maybe I ought to be putting in face time with her and playing peek-a-boo.  Wait- it’s a nice day.  We probably ought to be outside right now, taking in the fresh air feel and let her watch the trees sway in the wind (believe it or not, these are actual activities I get emailed every day from “Productive Parenting”).  So many things to check off the list, I just don’t know what to do!  …Oh crap, Hadley looks bored.  While I am deciding what to do next, I better give her the iPad so she can at least learn a little something on ABC Mouse-dot-com.”
I haven’t figured out the magic combination of activities to produce the best well-rounded and adjusted kid.  I know logically that I never will.  To cope, I find myself drawn to reading parenting blog posts like this one, that appear on my Facebook newsfeed, finding relatable material to allay my fears, reaffirming that I am doing this or that right.
Maybe I need therapy.  Wait, I don’t have time for therapy- I have macaroni art projects to do and tot gymnastics and swimming to attend, lullabies to sing, and diapers to change.  Not to mention paid part-time work to do while the girls are napping.   Ha ha!
OR MAYBE…I just need to force a break-up with the internet for a while to figure out my own parenting priorities.  Easier said than done, but I think I will try it.  ;-)