If I had a quarter for how many times someone told me I was a ‘SuperMom,’ I’d be rich. It is overwhelming, to say the least, to be putting off an impression that I’m handling more than others feel they can handle.
When someone says, “there’s no way I could do what you’re doing,” I CRINGE and have such conflicting emotions run through me. The first thought in my head is, “NEITHER CAN I!”
On the one hand, I feel like my ‘type A’ personality can’t handle this, and on the other hand, I’m grateful I’ve been given the strength to take on the life I’m living. I make sure to mention that I CAN’T do this alone, and I’m LUCKY their dad plays such a
big HUGE part in their lives!
There is a saying I heard a long long time ago, I’m pretty sure it was meant as an empowerment to women or as an encouragement to men to appreciate their wives… It goes something like this,
“Behind every great man is a great woman.”
Now, I’m not here to debate this statement. In my case, I believe this to be in the reverse, but I would say it like this,
👫 “BESIDE every ‘Supermom’ is a SuperDAD!”
Let me explain.
You see, my husband and I jumped into what most people take YEARS to decide. Less than six months after our first date we were MARRIED.😱😱😱
Fourteen months later we had our first baby, and fifteen months later we had our second baby 😬😬.
At this point we started showing our true colors, and things got a little tricky. Through years of seeking guidance for our relationship, 4 more kids, a miscarriage, a few job changes, new houses and ten years of experiences together, I’ve learned this: I’m NOT a Supermom! I’m not even a Superwife… I suck at being a stay at home mom most days. And you can pretty much say I’m the opposite of June Cleaver. 👎
Most days my husband comes home to a frown on my face and screaming or unhappy children. I’m probably trying to get dinner figured out, nursing the baby, yelling at some kid to stop being mean, or I’m pushing my clingy toddler away because. I. Just. Can’t. 😖
It really sucks away at my dignity when he walks through the door during that one single minute of silence after an extremely chaotic 45 minutes of doing all of the above… But I am left a frazzled mess.
We decided a long time ago how our lives would play out. Critics would just encourage me to do things differently, or tell me that I need to suck it up because this is how we decided to do life. Regardless, I truly believe that no matter what and how we decided to go through life together, there would be difficulties. These are ours, and how we (sort of) deal with them.
So there I am, beyond frazzled, 😣 and my husband, who gets home before almost every other husband in the neighborhood, walks in the door totally wound up from a day of busting out code and algorithms for these iOS apps he does, to take over with kids before I literally explode….
Despite his efforts, some days I still do. 😤
Don’t get me wrong, there are days he has to take a moment to unwind, and there are days one of us escapes the kids and prays the other has an ounce more of sanity to handle it while either he or I regain composure. And there are a lot of good days in there too! There are days where we can laugh at our crazy lives, laugh at our kids and we are totally happy with the six sweet kids we brought into this world (these usually follow the rested nights).
More often than not these days, there is my sweet husband, a little rough around the edges, trying his hardest to relieve me before I literally fall apart. And when I do fall apart, he tries to pick up those pieces as delicately as his strong hands can. Then he tries to put all the pieces back together. We typically put them back together as a joint effort, but it’s so much lighter with him by my side.
SOME of the things he does that impact the function of this household are:
1. Dishes. He does dishes on a daily basis, we both do, but he does them more and I do more of the cooking, it is a win win right here!
2. Laundry. After our fourth child this was a must for him to get involved in. He has ruined his fair share of handwash only or wash cold with like colors, but losing those articles of clothing is worth the help! We had too many clothes anyway. As my husband puts it, “if it takes special care, it doesn’t belong in our house anyway. I gotta be able to just throw it in the washer, throw it in the dryer and be done.” At least he hang dries my workout clothes! Can’t Complain.
3. Bath time. Most of the time he is the one getting kids in and out of their baths as I take a break from a long day of chores, errands, homeschooling or whatever outing we went on that day, or I just take that time to clean up messes. But when I have a newborn, that time is typically spent cluster feeding. So most of these last 8 years, that is usually what I am doing. True story.
4. Scriptures and Prayer. Every night he initiates our family scripture reading, I only do this when he is gone. He then calls on someone to say the prayer, or says it himself. This is the hardest thing to get through for some reason, our kids hate sitting still for five minutes! But he does it regardless!
5. Bedtime. I’m usually still with the baby at this point or I’ve headed out to take a moment with a friend (once or twice a month), so my husband typically gets the older kids to bed. I will go in to say goodnight, but he does the hard part of getting them moving between prayers, brushing teeth and potty. (think of walking on legos barefoot… with 100 lb weights on your shoulders… this part can break a totally sane human being and turn them into a…. you get the idea)
6. Gets up with kids in the middle of the night. From the very beginning he has taken the primary task of getting up with babies throughout the night. With the newborns (at least the first four) he brings them to me to feed them and then I feed them and put them back down. With night terrors he goes to our kids and calms them back to sleep or brings them to bed with us for a little bit and then takes them back after they fall asleep. This was advice we got from a happily married couple of thirty years, they said that doing this helps the kids bond with their dads, and it sure has!! They love their dad! Now, I take over when he is exhausted and needs sleep. Also, since having our fifth and sixth children, I just get up with the newborn and he takes care of the older kids.
7. Teaches the kids to be grateful for the meals I cook. He tells the kids to say thank you every night for the dinner I made. He has even started making a few dishes here and there and I make sure to do the same for him. Although, the kids are in a pretty good habit of saying thank you.
8. He cleans poop and puke. I clean a lot of messes, but blowouts and vomit are my breaking point, sure I’ve had to do my own fair share of cleaning those messes, but if he is home, I clean the kid, he cleans the clothes and carpet/furniture. This keeps the house functioning smoothly.
9. He makes the kids breakfast. If I have had a long night with a baby (happens a lot these days) he gets up and does the breakfast routine and let’s me sleep in. If you are a man, and you do NOTHING ELSE around the house, this right here will help your wife be rested enough to not hate you forever. No guarantees. 🤣
10. He is always working to improve our relationship. This doesn’t involve the kids and house, but it kind of does. Our relationship status directly affects how we handle the chaos around here! He knows he has shortcomings, and so do I, but knowing that and doing something about it are totally different. And we both try hard to DO something about it! This list isn’t all he does, but these are some of the things he does regularly. The point is we do this parenting thing TOGETHER!
– Now, our marriage isn’t always blissful. We have argued in front of our kids (and apologized), we disagree on just about every thing from what kind of house we want, the places we want to travel, what color we want to paint the walls, or what we like to do for fun, among many other things (I love red, he hates it, you get it). So through the years we’ve learned to let our differences just be, and we’re creating new hobbies and interests that speak to both of our strengths and weaknesses. (Like building our table, I drew the picture and found the inspiration, he made a few modifications and did the math to pull it all together.) And we’ve learned to enjoy the differences we have (for the most part), and create new dreams that fit both of us and fill our buckets. The focus has turned to making the OTHER happy and not ourselves, and we are finally able to help each other reach our dreams and goals in life. After all, the things we DO agree on are the reasons we are married…
Being a mom is hard, it is a constant pendulum swinging from one side of the spectrum to the other. You feel every temperament and emotion in one day, only to wake up and repeat it all again the next day and the next. The balancing of life and relationships is a constant struggle. Going from survival to thriving back to survival all in the same week – or day…
I am so not a ‘SuperMom’. Sure I have a lot of kids, we are ALL still alive, and I still love them. However, I seriously struggle with my identity from time to time. I struggle wanting and appreciating this life. I have had enough friends struggle with infertility that I make sure to appreciate my ability to have so many kids and to love them, this is one reason I try so hard. “Someone else would trade places with me in a heartbeat?! Well, then I better start smelling the roses they are so desperate to smell!” That thought usually knocks sense back in to me.
The truth of the matter is, if I didn’t have my husband, their father, right by my side, crawling through the trenches and foxholes of motherhood/fatherhood with me, I wouldn’t be who you see me as today. We both take active roles in raising our children and managing the chaos that is our household of EIGHT people… 6 of them under the age of 9.
Mind you, he very much prefers to do things HIS way, as I do mine. I’ve had to be patient as he figured things out. We’ve had to work on coming together in our parenting, but we get there!
It’s all so much easier to handle with he and I doing this together! He gives me so much confidence and strength to be unapologetically me. He doesn’t judge me for losing my mind, he doesn’t hate me for not loving being ‘stuck’ at home, he doesn’t expect me to be June Cleaver.
He doesn’t babysit or help me around the house, he takes care of our children and our house WITH me! He isn’t perfect, but I am so grateful he takes his role as husband and father seriously. We are loving this journey through its ups and downs together!
He is the man behind the curtain, he is why so many people see me holding it together, handling my kids without too much trouble, and even opening my house to take in all the friends from down the street.
So, please, don’t call me, ‘SuperMom.’
Note: If you would like him to share his perspective on this, I can do a follow up post. Comment below and share if you’d like to learn more about what keeps this ‘SuperDad’ going!