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Copyright © 2010 by Sheila Schuller Coleman
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scriptures are from the Holy Bible: New International Version®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Scriptures noted TNIV are taken from the Holy Bible, Today's New International Version®. Copyright © 2001, 2005 by Biblica®. Used by permission of Biblica®. All rights reserved worldwide.
Scriptures noted NKJV are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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Any project that succeeds is due to a team effort. This book is no exception.
I am indebted to my husband, who always has not only given me permission to follow my dreams but also continually encouraged me from the sidelines. He is the one who keeps me focused on what's really important in life: being a "mommy being" as opposed to a "mommy doing." Thank you, Jim, for being not only the love of my life, but also my hero and cheerleader. I'd be lost without you!
My sons have joined their father in cheering me on. Thank you, Jason, Christopher, Scott, and Nicholas, not only for believing in me but also for giving me permission to shine. I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of all of you—and how much it means to me to see your pride in me. You are my proudest accomplishment—never doubt it!
I learned everything I know about mommy power from my mother. She lives and models how to be a mother who loves strong, forgives strong, and believes strong. She is an amazing woman of God. Thank you, Mom, for teaching me the real secret of spiritual power. I am the mother I am because of your loving, forgiving, believing example.
I couldn't have done this without my faithful group of mommies—Myra Hammond, Kristen Mulady, Kristi Thomas, Brooke Abbott—and my dear friend Sara Clark. All of you have been so ready and willing to give me immediate feedback. If I hit the target with this book, it is because of the gentle re-direction you generously provided.
I am eternally grateful to my prayer partners: one a sister in birth, Gretchen Schuller Penner, and one a sister in Christ, Michelle Cavinder. The times we have spent on our knees together has provided the spiritual power to write this book and follow God's call for my life. I am awed by what God has done merely because we—two or more gathered together—took the time to get on our knees. We were taught how to pray by our dear friend and sister in the Lord, and prayer mentor, Suzette Caldwell. You will see her influence in this book. I am indebted to Suzette and her generous gift of love and time to me.
An author is only as good as his or her editor. I have been blessed to once again have the best. Holly Halverson has been a delight to work with. Thank you, Holly, for your thoughtful ideas and contributions. This was all possible thanks to you.
Supermom: Myth—or Possibility?
I plopped down the cup of coffee on the nightstand so I could have both hands free to make my bed. It wasn't easy finding room in the jumbled mess of books, tissues, notepad, and assorted pens and figurines given to me by my son Christopher for Mother's Day or birthdays.
As I nudged the piles around with my coffee cup, the figurine Christopher had most recently given me brought a smile to my face. Except for the long, lean, exaggerated figure, it bore a striking resemblance. Etched on the front was the title of the figurine: "Supermom." This cartoonish resin mom had a superhero cape flowing from her back, a child in one hand, a telephone in the other, a pet at her feet, and a belt full of tools, including mixing spoons, slung on her hips.
She made me smile and I thought, Hey, I'm doing it! I'm keeping all these balls in the air successfully. After all, I managed to make my bed every morning, get in some exercise (not enough to satisfy the doctor, but enough to soothe my conscience), and make sure all four of my boys got to school on time (not every day, but enough to keep them from having to serve detention) and wearing clean clothes, with hair combed and teeth brushed (at least that's what they told me when I asked as we piled into the minivan). This was all in addition to serving as team mom for one of the boys' Little League teams and making sure they got all their homework done and put in their backpacks (whether or not they turned it in was another thing altogether) and practiced their chosen instrument.
Supermom? Me? Maybe.
I have always had high expectations for myself and pushed myself to cram more into a day than any wise, loving mother should do. I could not say no for all the typical reasons: I didn't want to let anyone down, and I didn't want to miss out on anything. So, I lived by lists of things to do. To this day, I am sorry to say that my life is no different. The things on my to-do list have changed, but my life is still governed by that list. Nothing gives me greater joy than crossing something off it. I tried electronic lists, but checking a box with a mouse click just doesn't bring the same level of satisfaction as striking a line through a list with a flourish. Ah! Done!
So, am I living proof that it is possible to be a supermom? That all depends on how you define the term.
I used to own a delicate necklace that held a gold charm of lacy lettering that said "Supermom." I lost it one day when Jason, my firstborn, was four years old. One Saturday, Jim was mowing the lawn, and I was playing with Jason. Jim had turned off the lawn mower and Jason walked over to it. He reached out toward the muffler. Jim said, "Don't touch, Jason." I had no idea that the muffler was as hot as it was. I didn't rush over to stop him from touching it. I thought, He needs to learn to listen. But when it became evident that he wasn't listening, even though both Jim and I jumped up to pull him away, we couldn't get to him in time. His little hand closed around the hot muffler, and he immediately screamed in pain.
I held him close as he cried and cried. We had to take him to the emergency room where they bandaged his hand, which was completely blistered on the inside of his palm and all his fingers. I felt like anything but a supermom. Instead, I felt like a super-awful-mom.
By the time we got home, Jason was ready for a nap. His bandaged hand was a reminder that I had waited too long to help my son and stop him from hurting himself. Jason hadn't learned a lesson, but I had learned that I wasn't the mother I wanted to be! While Jason napped, I noticed that my necklace was missing. I remembered that at the hospital, while holding him crying and screaming, he had grabbed at my neck in pain. Apparently the necklace had been ripped off and lost in the crisis.
Serves me right, I thought. A supermom I'm not! A supermom in my mind was a hero to her children. Some hero. I couldn't even save my child from the hot muffler of a lawn mower just a few feet away.
I wanted to be supermom. That's for sure. There were days when I thought it was not only possible, but I was succeeding. On other days, I thought it was possible for other moms—but not me. I felt like a great mom when I got all my tasks accomplished. I didn't feel like one when I failed to protect my child.
Today I have learned that it is possible to be a supermom every day of my life. It is not a myth; it is a possibility. And every one of us can be one. The trick is actually very simple, and I suspect many moms already know the secret.
A supermom is not a mom who does everything right, nor is she a superhero who rescues her children from every hurt in life. A supermom is just a mom who loves her children and is there for them. A supermom is a state of being, not a state of doing. It's not crossing off a complete to-do list, it is just being there for them, relying on the strength of God to be a supermommy being!
Being a supermom is just that:
She is any mom who is being super!
When you are a Mommy Being
And not a Mommy Doing
You can be a supermom!
Take delight in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him.
—PSALM 37:4–7 TNIV
Deliver me from the tyranny of feeling as if I have to do
In order to be
The mother I want to be.
Deliver me from the tyranny of feeling as if I have to be
The mother I think my children need
Rather—free me to be
the mother You want me to be.
Free me to be
Empowered to be
A supermom who
With Your help
With Your guidance
To just be
Then, and only then
Being a supermom
Is not a myth
But a glorious possibility!
Thank You, Lord!
What's Driving You?
Scott was in the first grade and had been selected to represent his school in a spelling bee. The teacher sent home the list of words he would be expected to know. The list was long and extremely hard for first graders, and we had only a week to learn it. But I was determined that Scott would win. Every night I crammed in word after word. I cringe as I replay the mental movie of those nights leading up to the spelling bee: me kneeling by his bed at night with the list in my hand, grilling and killing my precious tow-headed little boy with words. Why? Because I wanted to win!
The day of the spelling bee, I nervously sat in the crowd and watched Scott walk up in line and listen as the teacher gave him the word: "Little." I'm sure if you had videotaped me, I mouthed every letter of the word with him, "Little. L-i-t-t-[don't swap the l and the e, Scott!]-l-e. Little." Whew. He got it right. So it went round after round. He was in the final round! I was so proud: What an awesome mom I am! What a smart, accomplished son who makes me look like an awesome mother!
The teacher said, "Corner."
"Conner. C-o-n-n-e-r. Conner."
He hadn't heard the word correctly! Oh no.
"Sorry. You're out."
We watched as the winner was handed a trophy with a bee on top. Scott was so upset after the spelling bee. He cried on the way home. Then I noticed a trophy shop. "Wait here, Scott." I ran in and saw the very same trophy sitting in the shop. I confess I impulsively purchased it. In the car I gave it to him and said, "Here you go, Scott! You are a winner in my book."
In retrospect, I can't believe I piled one mistake on top of another. Winning, coming in first, taking home the trophy, was important to me, so it became important to Scott! Yikes!
Competition wasn't limited to academics. It permeated much of my mothering, even birthday parties. My sons were invited to some pretty amazing birthday parties and, not wanting to be outdone, I went all out. The most extravagant birthday party (not in terms of money, but in terms of effort) was Christopher's third. I arranged to have all the relatives meet in a nearby town where we piled on a train to ride to a neighboring town (the price of tickets back then was nominal). I carried a balloon bouquet, and the relatives carried brightly wrapped gifts. When we got on the train and paraded past all the other passengers, the conductor looked at our party and said, "Somebody must be very loved." I felt so proud. I had done it. I had managed to give my child a birthday party comparable to the ones he had been invited to—and he was only three!
The truth of the matter? The party was not as much for Chris as it was for me.
When Jason was eleven, he was nominated by his trumpet teacher to audition for a prestigious youth orchestra. For our simple recitals, I always accompanied him on the piano with a few flutterings of nerves. This audition required that we drive to UCLA. We walked into a huge auditorium with just a few judges in the audience. I sat down at the piano as Jason took his place on the enormous stage. Suddenly I felt the blood drain from my mind as I looked at the "blank" piece of music in front of me. My fingers shook as Jason began to try to play in vain over my pitiful, bungling piano. It was horrendous!
Of course, the judges were curt. There was an air of, Why did you bother to waste our time?
Jason was fine. "Mom, can we go see Pauley Pavilion?" he asked excitedly. My face was still red with embarrassment as I drove him by the famed venue of the UCLA basketball team. Basketball was Jason's dream for Jason. Music was my dream for Jason. I realized that the botched audition didn't bother Jason. It only bothered me!
Nicholas, our youngest, was not an athlete, which was a challenge because we lived in a community where Little League was king. Our neighbors' son was part of a team that went to the finals in Williamsport. The game was broadcast on ESPN, and we all watched and cheered the boys and coaches we had played with and against over the years. So, how does a nonathletic boy fit in? Jim and I decided he should play one year at least to see if he liked it and so he would not feel left out later in life when he hung out with his brothers while they watched professional sports at home.
After the first practice, Nick came home with a bloody lip. They put him in left field, which I understand is the place where there is little play. If the ball was hit in his direction, it usually went past him, over his head, or through his legs, and the batter would round all the bases while Nicholas was still chasing the ball. His batting average was zero, but his on-base percentage was fifty. That's because he never swung the bat. Half the time the pitcher would walk him and half the time the pitcher would strike him out. But Nick's team went to the city championship and won first place. To this day, he has the biggest trophy in the family.
All this is to say: competition was a core value in our home. We would never have admitted that to ourselves. In fact, we would have vehemently denied the fact and told you that we taught our boys cooperation, team spirit, and caring for others. But truth be told, winning was important to us. Gaining an advantage for my sons drove me as a mother.
As a principal, I interview a long list of parents for kindergarten admission every year as we screen for developmental readiness. I ask them all, "Where do you want to see your child when he or she is twenty-five to thirty years old?"
- On Sale
- Apr 7, 2010
- Page Count
- 176 pages