Thursday, April 11, 2013

On Motherhood and being a Supermom

I never really imagined myself as a mom when I was still younger. It didn't occur to me that it's going to be the "job" that I'm going to play for most of my life. Not that I didn't want to but mainly because the ultimate goal then was to put my 15 years or so of good education to good use. I pictured myself as a successful career woman, competitive in my chosen field (whatever that is). But sometimes life doesn't go according to plan.

With the unplanned events in life came early motherhood. I was a young mother at 22. Truth be told, I didn't really have that much of an idea on how motherhood would be like. But I knew whatever I was doing I had to be good in it - no, great! That's how I was raised - to give it all my best anytime, every time. 

My mom was a caring, loving, thoughtful, smart and hardworking person. She was active in the community and the church. She tried as much as she could to be present in our lives - in school and out - my academic as well as social life. She cooks for the family, as well as for my friends who drop by every now and then. She is the perfect host. She prepares my father's office clothes and welcomes him home with a kiss. She gave up her teaching career to be a stay-at-home mom while managing our store (which played a vital role in our family sustenance). She was not only a mother to me and my brother but to my friends and probably most of the families and friends in our town (and even beyond).

Needless to say, it is a very big shoe to fill if I was going to follow in her footsteps. That's why it's so frustrating every time I come across "speed bumps" in my journey to motherhood. Let's not start with the kitchen, please, as that is my weakest link. My boys had to bear with my cooking or else they will starve. Everything else I can say I have been able to cope with. That's 12 years of housework, soothing crying babies to running after walking toddlers to helping with school homework (which at times took me 2 nights to figure out!). Practicing (and modelling) patience, compassion, humility, respect, integrity, service, team spirit, excellence (my sons' school values, I noticed) and resilience. Showing care and love at the same time being firm and strict in imposing house rules and values. A budget analyst, CEO, teacher, housekeeper, and the list goes on. Volunteering in my boys' school is one of my "guilty pleasures" (I think every mom has to have one) aside from satisfying my sweet (chocolate) tooth, reading books, writing/blogging and sometimes (window) shopping.

There are good and bad days, of course, as life is not always perfect. The great ones are really worth every minute of the opportunity cost of being a career woman. The moments need not be that grand - my boys going home with a smile on their faces and great stories to tell about their day with their friends and teachers is one of them. Hearing the boys laugh just because. Seeing them work together on something, or improvising an old game. Bringing home a test paper with good results is a bonus. I have to admit, though, that sometimes I get so fixated with getting good marks that I miss the chance of spending just good, quality play (or chat) time with my boys. There are also moments when I feel overworked because I feel the need to ALWAYS have something to do at home, or else I would think that I am not doing anything at all. 

These are my down times. The times when I feel that I am not doing enough as a mom - to be a great mom. There's always something missing or lacking. That somehow after 12 years of being a mother, it seems like I still don't have an idea how motherhood is like. When I am in that state of "emotional distress" over my own expectations of myself I retreat to our bedroom and grab one book from my collection (I have quite a few inspirational or parenting-related ones).  I enter the room feeling frustrated, teary-eyed and ready to give up on everything. The funny thing is that every time I do so I end up reading a story that is related to the situation I am in (that proves moms almost always have the same problems, i guess), and I end up being inspired by the stories, emerging from my bedroom armed with renewed faith in myself, ready for another day in my motherhood experience. 

In a recent "clash" with Ira in doing his homework and how he so wrongly holds his pencil and was so adamant about it, I came across the story of a supermom. This is what she wrote:

'What is a supermom then? To me a supermom is someone who recognizes her shortcomings and asks for forgiveness of her children without the guilt trip. She is someone who tries a little harder each day to have more patience than the day before. She is someone who strives to end each day, no matter how hectic or chaotic, with a goodnight kiss and an "I love you" that is heartfelt. With this definition, we can all be supermoms. ' - Kim Wierman  (Chicken Soup for the Soul. Stay-at-Home Mom)

Hmmmm, being a supermom is not about being perfect after all. It's about trying to be better with each and every day's challenges. It's about having mistakes and learning from them. It's having the courage and determination to live another day filled with what ifs and should haves knowing that every step of the way I am not alone because my husband and kids are a part of my journey to a fruitful, happy motherhood. 

Yes, I do kiss my boys goodnight and whisper "I love you" every night.

Yes, I am a supermom. (let me soak up this happy feeling for now)

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