Reject The Cape: Why Constant Worrying Doesn’t Make You A Super Mom

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Moms today see excessive worrying as a badge of honor. It doesn't have to be.

Idealized motherhood has always been about nonstop giving and sacrificing, but now a mother is not perfect unless she is also worrying about her children all the time. She is expected to be a super mom.

We’ve mistakenly convinced ourselves the stakes are higher than ever, and if we can just reason it out, we will find the perfect conditions to raise our children. All that thinking leads to the nagging fear that we aren’t doing it right, and the belief that considering, rethinking, and constantly worrying is making us better mothers.

The truth is that it does not: It hurts our kids and it hurts us.


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How does being a worried super mom hurt your kids?

Kids today already feel tremendous pressure to perform, and a constantly worrying mother cranks the pressure even higher. Seeing their mothers obsess about their Spanish skills or rank on the tennis team doesn’t help.

In fact, the number of teenagers developing major depression or an anxiety disorder has been on the rise in the last few years, and experts say that some of it is due to this intense helicopter parenting.

Children of helicoptering worried mothers don’t develop the autonomy to deal with stress or cope with boredom, much less disappointment on their own.

Mothers who are consumed with making their children’s lives perfect don’t give them the autonomy to learn how to effect change on their own. They haven’t been given the opportunity to fail (or the chance to learn from failure) and don’t know how to cope with the fact that sometimes life isn’t perfect.

How does being a worried super mom hurt women?

It wastes mental energy that you could be using on more productive tasks. And let's be honest, who couldn’t use more mental energy?

Use yours in more productive ways — like planning, appreciating, learning, and loving — rather than worrying and obsessing, which unnecessarily drags at your self-esteem. This will make you a happier person, more fun to be with, and a better mother.

If you keep your kids safe and loved, you are serving them well. I bet that you are someone who provides all the most important fundamentals for a child to thrive: love, affection, encouragement, and guidance (and of course, food and shelter).

Appreciate what you do and understand that beyond the fundamentals, the stakes are much smaller. Children who are loved and nurtured (without obsessive attention) will gain the skills to independently find their way in the world and will develop the resilience to cope with life’s setbacks.


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How is rejecting the role of Super-mom good for women and kids?

Accepting the idea of being a "good enough" mother versus a "perfect" mother could relieve a lot of the stress you place on yourself.

When women reject the cape of the super mom, and allow themselves to be happy with being “good enough” mothers, they make their lives much more reasonable. They avoid or can at least decrease that perpetually strung-out feeling, and can even find time to pursue some of their own interests or spend time on self-care.

Importantly, they also provide a really healthy vision of motherhood for their daughters to expect from themselves, and their sons to expect from their wives.

So, throw off that cape! Stop obsessing, and trust in the quality of mothering you bring and in your child's ability to develop. By doing so, you will lower your stress level and your children thrive.


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Dr. Robyn DeLuca is a coach and speaker who helps women resist stereotypes and realize their full potential. If you want to learn more about being a stronger woman and better parent, read Robyn's book, The Hormone Myth: How Junk Science, Gender Politics, and Lies About PMS Keep Women Down, or watch her TED Talk, "The Good News About PMS."