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Thoughtful Thursday~No such thing as Superwoman

Ok, I’ve been writing this post in my mind for MONTHS, but have always worried about the way it would be perceived, so have never actually sat down to try to type it out.  After reading a blog post the other day and having it fully resonate with me and the idea of this post, I owed it to myself to give it a try, so here goes!

In order for me to thrive, I have to be juggling a bunch of plates up in the air at once.  It’s how I’m hard wired. (My mom says un-diagnosed ADHD). My whole “can’t sit still/must be moving/must have 10 projects at once” mentality is how I operate.  I’m not saying it’s a good thing (remember that natural man comment).  I fight it at times.  Beg myself to sit still, make myself put aside a few projects to just focus on one.  Sometimes…one or two of those plates falls, and I disappoint myself.

I get lovely sweet comments from friends on this blog as well as friends in real life commenting on how they don’t know how  I do it all, and when I post something crazy exciting on my blog, I’ll hear the sentiments that I must be superwoman (I feel completely silly typing that out, but I have to add it in to get my point across). Honestly, I think people think they are giving me a complement when they say such things, but I cringe inside when I hear it. Because I am not superwoman.  In my own personal mind, I am far from it.  I fight every day against my “natural man” tendencies with that electromagnetic pull from my body to the computer. I also know that in making “supermom” comments, the person speaking might be feeling a lack in super human abilities…and that makes me sad. I don’t blog to toot my own horn and get accolades, but to share the things that work for me…in  hopes it can work for someone else (greeting my kids after school with cinnamon rolls in a can–not from scratch).

I love my computer.  So much so that I just don’t read books or watch tv anymore (ok sometimes I will bring my laptop and have a show going on at the side of me while I work on my desktop in front of me).   I miss those things, I do, but my spare time is here on this computer contributiong to my blog…as well as editing photography….and sometimes surfing pinterest and a handful of blogs.   I LOVE to do that. I set aside other things I like to do for this. This is what I do when my kids are at school/napping/tucked into bed at night. I want to be present for them. My number one goal in life is to nurture my family.  I am a homemaker, who happens to do some photography, and now blogging. With that, my goal is to be mostly off the computer when they aren’t at school/napping/tucked into bed at night, but sometimes if  I’m not done with a task (or I have 100 windows I need to pare down) then it trickles over.  Then I get mad at myself for not doing what I want be doing and closing it down. But really it’s my goal.

Something that has never come naturally to me is home organization. I’ve watched friends for years, asked tips, made charts for myself to get better in this area.  I do believe I’ve come a long way…it also helps a lot that I have kids that are old enough to help now! This is another thing that gets pushed aside when my spare time is doing computer stuff. Something that I am very passionate about is family dinner time and sharing our days with each other over a nice meal.  So I DO make that a priority–even though some days those meals include corn dogs.

Most important to me is face time with my kids, and I often have to schedule it into my brain because if I am left with too much down time where the kids are roaming, I find myself roaming to the computer.

I have to have something specific to go to, such as:

  •  Reading a chapter book aloud to my kids
  •  making aforementioned cinnamon rolls from a can
  •  work on homework with kids
  •  play outside on the driveway as they ride bikes
  •  prepare dinner in those after school hours with my children around chatting with me

And if there is an opportunity to capture anything on camera, I make an effort to do so.  Take the picture above for example. I walked with my girls to the mailbox the other day (around the corner) and we skipped along the way.  My youngest had never been taught to skip, and my older daughter and I laughed and laughed at her first try and she laughed and laughed at how fun it was. All the way back, we skipped again…then I ran in to get my camera and had my husband capture us doing it again.  Those moments, not only do I want to remember, but I want to have stories to tell my children as they grow up. Proof that I was there and played.  Maybe because I feel I lack in some areas, I capture the moments where I excel at times.  In reference to my post last week, I may not be completely satisfied with how I look, but that doesn’t stop me from being in pictures with my family as often as I can.  Hopefully if we have enough pictures of the happy moments, those will be the memories that will be preserved;) (Not crazy mom rushing about before school).

Recently, I’ve made it a personal goal to tuck my children into bed with a song or a book or a story.  It’s against my natural tendencies (my hubby would put them to bed while I followed that magnetic pull), but I want to change that in myself. I want more quiet/down time with open communication lines. But I’m not perfect, I fall short, I am no superwoman.

So, just because you see someone blogging about all the great  things they do with their families/home, remember that we all have our vices that we fight. Just because you aren’t throwing extravagent parties (I admit, I sorta love a crazy decorated party) doesn’t mean you can’t pat yourself on the back for the good things you are doing.  I watch people…a lot.  So many people are doing good things, that I wish I were better at.  These are the reminders I give myself when I don’t do as well as I did the day before. 

I will end with a quick blurb from a really great blog post I read the other day. It is from a blog called, Momastery.   In the post, Don’t Carpe Diem , she reviews the all too familiar scenario that when she is out with her young children, she will often hear from an older woman, “Oh, I loved when my children were young–ENJOY them now.”   She goes on to say (and I TOTALLY AGREE), ” This message makes me paranoid and panicky. Especially during this phase of my life – while I’m raising young kids. Being told, in a million different ways to “enjoy them now” makes me worry that if I’m not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I’m doing something wrong.”

Her thoughts from that statement resonated with me because it is the words I had felt when hearing that (from the nice old ladies in the stores), but didn’t know how to express. I ask myself, “How does one fully enjoy all the time so as to never regret a moment? How do I fully absorb it all?!?” I LOVE mothering, I LOVE my children, but we are moving from one thing to another, its rare that we sit still and just enjoy. In her post, Momastery mentions “regular time” and “God’s time.”

Continuing, “There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It’s regular time, it’s one minute at a time, it’s staring down the clock till bedtime time, it’s ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it’s four screaming minutes in time out time, it’s two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.

Then there’s Kairos time. Kairos is God’s time. It’s time outside of time. It’s metaphysical time. It’s those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day. And I cherish them.

If I had a couple Kairos moments during the day, I call it a success.”

 

Seek out those moments. If you can…capture them…if not, capture them in your heart. Make a list for what a superwoman is to you, and be intentional about your daily activities….don’t just let them go by. Items on your list could be:  Read aloud to kids, sing at night, make dinner together, make cookies, play dollies, play catch.  And aim for something once a day.  None of us can do it all–all the time. It’s just not possible. But don’t stop trying to do your best. Tell me something you do, go ahead…brag!  I need all the ideas I can get.

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Comments

  1. Great post, Kristen!

  2. What a wonderful post. I always get asked how I do it all…teach full time, start a photography business, have a busy food blog, sew, knit, read. I just do. I like to do all of that so I make time. My children are all in their 20′s now and I have to say that yes, look back and cherish the moments you have now, but don’t worry, the ones that you have later in life when they are adults are just as sweet, not the teenage ones, those you can skip :)

  3. Well said. I am in the throws of neglecting a lot just to hold on to the very most important stuff with what little energy I have. I appreciate being able to see the ebbs and flows in my own life and still able to admire the successes of others.

  4. I love this! I have a really hard time balancing my life (working part-time, in school for X-Ray technology, being a mom to a toddler and due with another in a month, my crocheting business on the side). I feel like I’m always lacking. My toddler is at that age where he wants to be interacting with me all the time. While I’m making dinner he wants to sit at the table and play with play-doh, wants me to cuddle up with him and watch his favorite shows, sit on the floor with me and drive his cars/play dinosaurs. It’s really hard to have him feel like I’m THERE, without lacking in other areas. So, this is definitely something that I’m still working on.

  5. Great post Kristen! I read that carpe diem post and have been really thinking about it. I feel like I do. I feel like I can laugh and treasure the complete chaos of getting out the door with 5 kids, or wandering the aisles at Wal-mart with them all… because I do know they are fleeting. I also take as many mental pictures as I can… somebody tying someone else’s shoes, reading another kid a story, cutting their pancake for them. It is hard to find the balance of it all, but I think the biggest key is NOT COMPARING ourselves with each other, but learning from each other instead. I’m lousy at a lot of things, but I’m pretty confident my kids know that I think they are absolutely amazing. Because, they are. :)

  6. Hi!
    So much of this rang true for me. Not that anyone calls me superwoman. I, too, have to work hard to make sure I prioritise the things that are important to me, like family meal times, having fun with my two lovely daughters and spending quality time with my husband. Thank you for your honesty and for giving me a lovely reminder that so many women struggle with the same issues as I do.

  7. I love your honesty. I believe we are all just trying the best we can. There is so much to our lives these days, no one can be perfect that is left only for God. I try to write down “magic moments” with my children. Thoes sweet little moments that help keep life in check. Such as skipping with my 4 year old in the Target parking lot or being told by your child that you are the best in the world. I need to write them down because I will forget and these are the things I want to remember not what I felt I didn’t do.

  8. I think the most admirable thing is that you are trying, and being intentional, and that is wonderful in itself. I think that being open to improve brings great value to all you do. On a totally different note, your hair looks soooooooo great in all the pictures! And the last picture is absolutely precious!

  9. Dana Reeves says:

    Ahhhh….perfect timing for me to be hearing this. It ways on my mind so much of the time. My kids are getting to the age where they don’t like to be cuddled or even have mom around. This breaks my heart! I know they are teenagers and its a phase but it does hurt. I treasure those times when they want to talk or watch a movie together.I have to remind myself to do whatever it takes to be there for them. I clear my schedule or I put down my phone, computer, whatever I’m doing and give them my full attention. I’m not perfect at this, but I’m aware and am trying to be more present and there for them when they need me.Thanks again, for sharing this with us today. I needed to hear it.

  10. Kristen! I love your spirit!I love that you wanna make memories for your kids and have pictures hung for them to feel the love and remember!!! but you know what is best…even when kids don’t remember exactly what you did with them, even if they lost every picture, your love is within them, the memories grow within them, they will have inside everything you gave them, even if it does not keep its original form. Love your pics…:)

  11. Awesome post! Love. Every. Word.

  12. So, so true. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and it’s unfair how we (mothers/women) judge each other (for the good and the bad) based on what we read on that person’s blog. What we read and see online is just a tiny snippet of that person’s life. And more than likely, it’s the most polished and happy and wonderful side. Because, really, who is going to post pictures of a messy kitchen or of a kid throwing a tantrum.

    I agree… I cringe when I hear a “compliment” like “wow! You’re a supermom!” or “Gosh, I don’t know how you do it all”. I’d rather hear a more specific compliment something like “Wow, I love the way you make time to volunteer at your kids’ school” or “You do a great job with managing your time.” I think this would be much more uplifting to everyone (the blogger and the commenters/readers) than to be throwing out terms like “you’re a supermom” which, when you think about it, don’t really mean anything.

  13. Hear! Hear! Reminds me so much of some of my own blog posts. I think that we are sometimes afraid to admit during the toughest times that we long for our children to grow up. For things to get a tiny bit easier (NEVER less busy, mind you, just easier). And while I will always cherish those magical moments that I experience with my kids, I love that they are growing up, growing towards independence. I am happy to move through ALL the phases of my life with them and get to know them all over again as they pass through the phases of their lives. It is absolutely imppossible for us to “enjoy” every moment. Forgive me, but poop and vomit are never enjoyable. No matter who you are. But it’s those tough moments that mold us into better people and allow us to most fully appreciate the magical ones. And its’ those tough times that drive us to want to create more of the magical moments. I think, as long as we love our kids and try to do our best (only we can decide what that means) by them, we won’t have regrets, only sweet memories and albums full of fun pictures.

  14. Fantastic!! We all need to hear this once in a while :) My bragging rights… I take time every night to cuddle with my 1 1/2 year old daughter while she drinks her bottle, sing her prayers, kiss her and tuck her in!! – I know to me it seems just normal but to her I am Superwoman when I do because she misses it if I don’t…

  15. tricia dunlap says:

    kristen, this was a beautiful, honest post – and i still think you are SUPER woman!! i love you, wonderful kristen!

  16. What a great post. I work full time out of the home, my children are in daycare/after school care and I usually only get an hour with them in the morning and 3 (if I’m lucky) with them on a school night. It’s heartbreaking for me and I try to make every moment count. My house is a mess often, I don’t always have time for the things *I* want to do, but my kids are number one. Thank you for this honest post. Love your blog as always.

  17. Kristen Duke says:

    Thank you friends for sharing your thoughts! Shannon, you said it well, “I am happy to move through ALL the phases of my life with them and get to know them all over again as they pass through the phases of their lives.” I SO aggree! And Kriste, LOVED this, “I’d rather hear a more specific compliment something like “Wow, I love the way you make time to volunteer at your kids’ school” or “You do a great job with managing your time.” I think this would be much more uplifting to everyone.”

  18. Thank you so much for this post, Kristen!

  19. I loved reading this post. A friend once pointed out to me that the idea of a balanced life was stupid. Afterall, God says, “pray always” and “pray without ceasing” (that doesn’t sound very balanced, does it?). Then I came across this quote that resonates with me, “balance isn’t about giving everything equal time, it’s about being fully present.” (Brian Biro) Those of us who advise enjoying your little ones are those who look back and wish we had engaged a little more, had been fully present a little more. It’s very hard not to wish away those precious, but probably boring hours of homework and after school snacks. You are doing it right when you make the skip to the mailbox an engaging experience. Someone wise once said, “The secret to a happy life is continuous small treats”. It’s impossible to skip without smiling and that’s one of those small treats.

  20. forgot something… I took a child for a booster shot today and even though the office called yesterday and reminded me to bring the shot record I forgot. When the nurse asked for it and I admitted I forgot she said, “That’s ok, super women are part human!” I wanted to kidss her!

  21. I love this post so much I starred it in my Google Reader :)

    I also get told I’m Superwoman (work full-time, twin toddlers, run business, blog daily, etc) and I tell people, “I know what to let go of to do the things that are important to me.

    And yes, I also don’t watch TV but I do read :)

    Love your honesty and I happen to be awesome at organising home and such, so if you need help, let me know!

  22. I have two little girls and I hear a lot “enjoy them now” and like you, it’s hard to sit back and enjoy when you’re always running and trying to keep up with daily chores. I liked reading your post. Well said.

  23. This post really strikes a chord in me, Kristen. I relate very much to your feelings as a mother and a blogger.
    I also had just read the “Don’t Carp diem” artical, along with another by the same author – on women comparing themselves to others.. wish I had the link handy, that article, too, had some good depth of thoughts to take in.
    Personally tucking each of my little ones in each night is one of those simple things that seems just that – simple, but is one thing that I’m oftne struck guilty about not doing. It’s on my list.

  24. love, love, love this Kristen! Thank you for all your share – your words, wisdom, and friendship! I love real people – that’s why I love you!!! It was good talking about this last week and we’ll be chatting more about it!

  25. Great post! It’s the curse of blogging to only get to see the good things of someone’s life (no one wants to read a list of complaints). Thanks for giving us a real picture!