Real Women Aren't Super and Super Women Aren't Real (WHISPER EDITION)
Death to perfectionism, the inability to delegate, burnout and overwhelm. Embracing a marriage journey that is unique and authentic to you.
A while back I was on the phone chatting with my Mother-in-Law while preparing dinner. She casually asked, “What are you cooking, Alicia?”. Before I could finish the name of the dish, she was roaring with laughter, screaming, “I was JUST telling my friend yesterday, ‘Boy, Alicia sure does love casseroles and all in one meals!’ And today you’re ...” she was still talking but I couldn’t hear her anymore. All I could think was, “Are you REALLY making fun of my cooking behind my back?”
I realized that not being a good cook makes me no less of a capable wife and/or mother. It's not just cooking, though. This applies to everything we mom-guilt ourselves about while trying to be everything to everyone.
Listen, I don’t have a stereotypical relationship with my mother-in-law. We get along extraordinarily well and I love her lots. She’s like a bonus mom. She’s amazing. Which is why I knew she didn’t mean any harm by her statement or even when talking to her friend. But it hurt. It hurt because it burst my little Martha Stewart bubble. Here I was with my hoard of cookbooks and online recipes trying up-level my domestic divadom and it appeared that I STILL was not doing it right. And here she was on the other end of the phone, 500 miles away with a fully earned Grandma badge, replete with bomb meals that my hubby daydreamed about and put a twinkle in his eye.
I wanted those brown eyes to sparkle for my meals, too. Sadly 77% of the time, the meals I sat before him looked like they belonged on Cooking For Bae. He’s a champ, though. He’d look at them, take a deep breath and with a raised eyebrow, and closed smile say, “Mmmmm. Thanks Honey.”
Because he’s a good man.
Fast forward to the present and I am now certain that I’m a good woman that deserves that good man. That wasn’t always the case. I used to question my worthiness a lot. Not so much anymore. Realistically, my cooking has probably gotten worse because I couldn’t care less about cooking. Yet, I’m happier and more content than ever. How? I realized that not being a good cook makes me no less of a capable and committed wife and/or mother. I stopped believing that WHISPER. It was a lie from the enemy. It’s not just cooking, though. This applies to everything we mom-guilt ourselves over while trying to be everything to everyone. This false notion of being perfect and put-together in every little area was killing my soul and smothering the life out of me. It’s probably smothering the life out of you, too.
Here’s how to catch a breath:
Stop competing. Celebrate the strengths of other women. I love the saying, “Her success is not my failure.” I even have it on a t-shirt (thanks Tash). It’s true. We each do some things better than others and we each have weaknesses that others excel in. Instead of trying to do every single little thing perfectly yourself, allow someone else to operate in her sweet spot and cheer her on. I don’t cook well because I don’t enjoy cooking. I'm not interested in it. I don’t have the patience. I get bored and walk away and that’s how I burn grilled cheese sandwiches. But my Mother-in-Law does enjoy cooking and it fills her heart to fill our plates. So I let her have that and I, in turn, have peace. And now instead of being green with envy, my eyes twinkle when I think about my Mother-in-Law’s meals, too. We all look forward to her cooking and to our time together. And she looks forward using her gifts and talents to love on her family.
Acknowledge that perfection is a myth. My husband married me because I am Alicia and he saw all Alicia had to offer (and he knew early on that cooking wasn’t one of those things). So why, after he put a ring on it, did I all of the sudden feel the need to become a Stepford Wife? Of course this was my expectation, not his, and it’s unrealistic. I put undue pressure on myself, which stressed me out and brought tension into my marriage. Before I was married I was enough. New titles and responsibilities didn’t change that. And even though I should always be growing, my basic interests and gifting don’t have to change. A lot of things we think we have to do are imagined. When I got honest with myself and my husband that I was overwhelmed, he gladly stepped up. He started to grill weekly to take some of the pressure off. He does the grocery shopping (he’s much better at math and saving and self-control). He does the devotions with the kids. And I am reminded of why he’s such a great guy; he cares more about how I am doing than about what I am doing. Perfectionism makes you believe it all depends on you. But one player doesn’t win the game; we are a team. We win together.
Embrace and magnify your strengths not your weaknesses. Here’s what I am bomb at: decorating my home, studying their personalities and being intentional with my children, being empathetic, arts and crafts, setting goals and getting things done and much more. If I spent all my time trying to take my cooking skills from a five to an eight I probably could, but I would be miserable. That’s why God gave me THESE kids and THIS husband and a dope mother-in-law. He knows me and knew what and who I needed to carry out the purpose He’s set before me.
We are at peace because we are in our lane and content. We each seek God and allow him to shape what life and responsibilities look like for the Watson Clan. I pray you find that for your family. It looks different for everyone. There is no cookie-cutter formula to being a wife and mother. You are you. Fearfully and wonderfully made. Embrace it.
And stop doing stuff you hate. Trust me.
What things have you learned to delegate? Laundry? Grocery shopping? Planning birthday parties? How has your perspective on your responsibilities changed from when you were first married? Join the conversation below.