Stop living in a delusion. Climb out of your bat-mobile (okay minivan) and take off the costume ( you know, the one that masks your exhaustion, resentment, and anxiety). You aren’t saving Gotham from the grips of an evil villain. The only villain in this story is the one inside your head, the voice that tells you that unless you are a perfect mother (with even more perfect children) that you have somehow failed.
Many of us moms have indeed failed, but not in the way that we think. We haven’t failed because we don’t measure up to some ridiculous unobtainable ideal that we have in our heads. We’ve failed because we refuse to recognize that we are human. We missed the life lesson that one of the most important things that we can teach our children is that we are all fallible and can only manage so much at the same time. We aren’t super heroes who can survive a speeding bullet, possess supernatural strength, and be graced with the responsibility (or curse) of having to save the world.
Perfectionism is a precursor to depression. It is losing the game before we even have our cards in hand. We shouldn’t need permission to rest when we are tired, to say no when we just can’t take on one more thing, or to take time to ourselves even when there is still more on the to-do list.
Our children need to develop the ability to take care of themselves. They need to learn how to set good boundaries, recognize that other people’s needs matter as much as their own, and see that good parenting is about raising self-sustaining human beings and not perpetual adolescents. We can’t teach our children what they need to know if they are being raised by a super-hero. What they need is a mom, preferably a human one.