I’ve grown to hate this picture.
I spent hours, maybe even days of that October, 2010, searching for the matching superman and superwoman costumes that now hang lifeless in our closet. We put them on, and it was oh so cute as my mother-in-law took our family picture, but later that night I felt the burden bear down on me hard as I walked in the doors of that adults only costume party.
You see, there was something about that costume that represented right where I was – fulfilling that role of superwoman, supermom, being everything to everyone, doing everything for everyone, being a hero to everyone but myself and my God. But that night, as I played the role of superwoman-supermom at that party, I became keenly aware it wasn’t working anymore. The room was filled with bar maids, vampires, sexy bunnies, and who knows what, but I didn’t feel sexy, I didn’t feel scandalous, I didn’t feel cunning, I didn’t feel clever, I didn’t feel cute, and I didn’t feel like superwoman-supermom either. To be honest, I felt like an out-of-place goodie-goodie girl scout who just wanted to hide away in a tent somewhere in obscurity.
And to make matters worse, I quickly discovered that not just one of my neighbors was pregnant, but three, and bless their souls, they were all there in their pregnant glowing glory. I had been battling this desire, this conflict in me for years, as to whether or not we should have a third child, but these women seemed to know so quickly, with such certainty, this destiny to parent was theirs. In the years that had passed since we had our first two children, I had seen the dark forces of this world, and I wasn’t so confident I could be that superwoman-supermom to raise another precious life safely through to the light.
So I left that party, hung the superhero costumes in the closet, and have since marked it as a turning point, a moment I needed to see the light, to see the truth about myself and who I wanted to be.
See, I don’t want to be superwoman. I don’t want to be a supermom. I CAN’T be. It’s impossible. It’s an unrealistic burden I don’t want to bear anymore.
Because a superwoman-supermom is a hero. She does it all, she’s brilliant, she’s clever, she has all the answers. She works full-time, loves her job and prides herself on doing what she needs to do; or she stays home full-time and has no longings for anything but tending her home, her husband, and her children. She buys all organic and prepares homemade dinner every night, she makes all the beds every morning, does a few loads of laundry every day so she’s always caught up, and dishes are stacked back on the shelves before bed. Oh, and her house is always clean
(her toilets are always sterile and pristine white). She wakes up happy every morning and makes a hearty breakfast for her children before sending them off to school; she packs the kids’ lunches with healthy choices so they can grown up big and strong. A superwoman-supermom? She knows how to parent just-right, she disciplines and her kids listen the first time, she runs for disinfectant and bandaids when her kids’ knees are bleeding, and her kids’ principal would never think of calling. She has lots of “besties,” she’s organizes girls’ night out religiously, and she exercises five times a week in stylish LuLu Lemon gear she bought the day it arrived in the store. She volunteers and she’s needed and people are desperate to get their hands on something, anything, she has to offer. She gives and never grows weary. She’s battery operated, like an energizer bunny, who just keeps going and going and going.
I can say with confidence that on most days I’ve tried hard to be that superhero, wanted desperately to be that supermom, envied that superwoman who embodies one or many of those qualities. And that’s just WRONG.
Since formally rejecting the superwoman-supermom notion and becoming pregnant with our third child five months after the above described Halloween incident, I’ve been in transformation. I’m ready to do life differently, ready to step out of the status quo box. I’m slowly, but surely taking off the cape and am stepping into the garments of the woman I was created to be. And through faith and experience, I believe the woman I am growing into is wise, she is grounded and values depth rather than breadth, she sees into souls, she knows what she is called to do and what she is not called to do, and she knows when she needs help.
See dear ones, we’re not superheroes. No, I’m coming to embrace a notion that’s just as controversial and discussion worthy as superwomen and supermoms, but makes more sense in my new reality of cape-free living. Yes, I believe there’s truth in the notion of princess.
Marriam-Webster online definition of princess:
2. a female member of a royal family; especially a daughter or granddaughter of a sovereign.
Here’s my premise – if I believe God is sovereign King, He knit me in my mother’s womb in His image, then I’m His daughter. Knowing this truth, I should have much more confidence as princess than I’ve ever had as superwoman-supermom.
Something rings true about this princess concept. Perhaps it’s why Disney has made millions capitalizing on princesses.
Cinderella had faith in her dreams, that “one day her rainbow [would] come.”
Ariel has “who’s its and what’s its galore,” but wanted more. She wished she could be “out of these waters,” “part of that world.”
Belle longed for something more than “this provincial life.” Immersed in stories about far off places, “behind the facade,” she was even perceived as peculiar.
And Rapunzel escaped the tower she had been trapped in all her life. She “[saw] the light,” “the fog was lifted,” and the “whole world was somehow shifted.”
There’s something deeper, something better we women, we moms long for. We want to be authentic, we want to be honest and real. We want to be known. We want to be loved and cherished, and we want to know we are beautiful. We want to be mamas that make a difference, we want to grow souls that thrive and find their special place in this world. We want to be beautiful examples of grace and truth for our children. We want to escape the superhero cape, step into garments designed especially for us, and dance in the beauty of our true life purpose.
So two days from now, I’m launching a series titled “Special Mamas” in honor of women who want to be mamas and women who are mamas. In this 5-week guest post series every Wednesday in May, you’ll hear from a real mama who bears her heart and soul to uplift others, a mama who steps up to the plate and fights daily battles for her child, a mama who exudes joy and peace in her “bigger-than-normal-sized” family, a mama who steps outside of the traditional mama box to share her love, and a mama who endured years of trials in search of the thing she desired most – to become a mama.
Take off your superwoman-supermom cape and put on your princess garments of beauty and truth. Step outside of your box, leap down from your tower. Sit still in comfort on your Father’s shoulders. Dance with faith. Be real with me in this place. This month is dedicated to you, special mamas.
All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold. Psalm 45:13