It really got me thinking, though, about whether or not I am a Supermom. After many days (too many - sorry M.I.I) I decided that I am not a superwoman, but a juggler- and not a very expert one at that.
I am constantly juggling, like the rest of us, family obligations, work, housework, gan parties, graduations, siddur parties, chumash parties, siyums, instrument recital, bar mitzvas, bat mitzvas, weddings of friends, weddings of relatives, community dinners, lack of babysitters, dinner, lunch, laundry, eye doctor appointments, skin doctor appointments, pulmonary specialists, ultrasounds, ob/gyn appointments (when my doc is not booked...), library books, tantrums, hormones, potty training, lost baby bottles, shopping, Shabbos guests, time for kids, time for husband, time for me.....that is just a sampling. Everyone has their own list.
The thing is juggling takes talent. I guess some training would also come in handy - last I checked there isn't any real formal training for motherhood and all it entails. You can take a parenting class, and home ec and go to "How to make your marriage better" seminars, but nowhere is there a degree in motherhood. "Congratulations on your achievement, you have completed the course work and are now fully qualified to be a mother!" It just doesn't exist. So I never really learned how to be a mother. It has all been trial and error.
( A young cousin -about 19 - recently mentioned to by first born that she should be prepared to suffer - as a first born he knows - in his words "They really mess up with us, they just don't know what they are doing, I feel so bad for you." - how's that for a boost of confidence?)
The thing is just when I think I have the juggling thing down - at least the basic juggling routines, I still can't rest. Because I am juggling outdoors and the weather is never predictable. Sometimes it gets really windy and I can't ran fast enough after the balls that I am dropping. Sometimes it is just so hot that I have no strength to keep in motion and keep the balls going. Sometimes- dare I say it - I stop to take a drink, or rest and just let the balls fall where they may. Does that make me a bad juggler, or just a human one.
I happen to know of 2 families that have "perfect" homes. They have very different financial situations, but otherwise are very similar. Always perfectly neat houses, with perfectly served meals, and perfectly dressed children. Never a speck of dust, or a crumb to be seen- let alone a toy on the floor! Always a smile and a kind word. Shabbos guests galore.
Am I jealous? I admit - I used to be. I wish I had it so together. But you never know what lurks behind closed doors. I discovered that both these families, at least one spouse has a psychological disorder. The main reasons that their houses are so orderly is because one of the spouses may have a panic attack and pas out -even at something so seemingly insignificant to us healthy ones, as
I know these examples sound extreme - but after speaking to a neighbor recently about how "normal" it is to feel overwhelmed, she told me about families that she knew with even worse issues. So it is much more prevalent then you might think. What's the point? I guess that we all push ourselves to hard - who wants to be Supermom anyway? At least in that 'put-together' kind of way. It may sound like a cop out, but if our expectations for ourselves are realistic, we would all be happier people. Right now I am an advocate for that poem about I'd rather spend my time with the kids - and all those fingerprints are to remind me that my family is healthy and well, and that Hakadosh Baruch Hu has given me the children along with the responsibilities that go along with them, and that He knows my limits, and I can only try my best. Juggling is not easy, and I know I constantly need to practice, though I don't ever expect to reach perfection - happily.