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So: What Don't YOU Do?

How to Stop the Super-Mommy Madness

by Jordan Sadler  |  9936 views  |  17 comments  |        Rate this now! 

We’re often told that we can’t have it all. While most of us working moms seem to have gotten that memo, I think we may have missed the one that told us that we can’t DO it all.

Now, here’s the truth: Not a single one of us does it all. And I would argue that we don’t talk about it nearly enough.

We talk more about what we do. It’s only natural. As in, “I'm home with my kids part-time. I run my own thriving business, working full-time hours. I go out with my husband regularly, and also go out with friends often enough. I write for a few blogs. I get real pedicures when I can. I stay in touch with family and friends near and far. I have a new volunteer position at my church and am the Treasurer of our condo association. I'm trying to decide if I would rather pursue a PhD or adopt/foster another child in the next couple of years.”

But I don't do it all. Far from it. In order to have any sanity in my life, there are things that I have let slide. Some are big things. I think we moms - and adults in general - should talk a lot more about what we don't do, because many of us have expectations of ourselves that are way out of whack. If we just understood that no one does all that she thinks she is “supposed” to be doing, wouldn't we be better off?

So, let's drop our expectations right now, shall we? I'll get us started:

1. I don't follow the news. I don't watch television news and although I love NPR, I don't have an opportunity to listen to it uninterrupted. Until recently, we got the Sunday paper but it sat unread each week until we tossed it in the recycling. We had to admit to ourselves that it was time to cancel. The best I do is to get the headlines. My husband fills me in when something big is going on. I really need to get up to speed on the presidential candidates, and I will. But in a regular week, I live in a news vacuum. I don't even know who Paris Hilton is, or what she did.

And it's okay.

2. I don't make “real” dinners. We eat healthy meals, but they are simple to the extreme; not what our moms made when we were growing up. Quite often, my husband and I laugh and remark that dinner prep would sure be easier if we had three microwaves.

And it's okay.

3. I don't clean my own house. This got to be a real problem before we finally gave in and hired someone to help every other week. With our major allergies and disinclination to clean, there is no money better spent. (And let me tell you: the fact that we're forced to clear the house of clutter every other week is almost as helpful as the actual cleaning.)

About the Author

Jordan is mom to two wonderful boys and owner of a speech-language pathology private practice in Chicago, IL.

Read more by Jordan Sadler

17 comments so far...

  • I don't make beds.
    I don't iron.
    I don't bathe my child daily.
    I don't watch TV.
    I don't do yardwork.
    I don't go "out on the town."
    I shop online.
    I don't exercise much, but I'm trying to change that.
    I don't bake.
    I don't scrapbook.
    I don't make cards for birthdays or holidays. I buy them.
    I don't garden.
    I don't cut hair.
    I don't make bread.
    I don't wash diapers.
    I didn't make my own babyfood.
    I don't go to playdates.

    I'm sure I could think of more.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Mom2Rylie on 6th January 2009

  • Here we go again.

    Why must we re-hash this topic over and over?

    Bottom line: "It All" means different things to different people.

    Women are working outside the home just as men are. The clock will never roll back on this one.

    The expectations of a working parent (regardless of gender) are different from one that does not work and stays in the home.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Uhura on 23rd January 2008

  • I don't usually make our bed. I don't have a spotless house. I don't hire someone to clean because we could not afford it. I don't always give my daughter a bath everyday. I don't cook every night-but I love to cook not because I want to live in the 50's-I just really enjoy it. I don't exercise daily and I have not been eating well. I didn't breastfeed-which comes with days of guilt from others. I don't always turn the tv off when we are playing-I will when she gets older. I could go on, but that is plenty.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Christine on 15th October 2007

  • I do not clean. I do not bake. I do not make beds, okay sometimes if I feel like it. I do not get my nails done unless you count me nibbling on them when I'm nervous. I do not paint my toe nails except once per summer, then I let it chip off and it's gross. I hardly change diapers, my husband does that. I do not make my own coffee, in fact I do not know how. And I just hired a cleaning lady.

    I love to cook, love to read to my son, love fun outings, love planning our travels, love my job. So, I do all those things and I think that makes up for it.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by jlauren on 19th September 2007

  • To be able to make a list, I would have to be conscious of what I am not doing, but I have been living my own way for so long I am oblivious to what the Ideal Mom does...hmmm. I don't have 3D women friends since they all moved to the suburbs, so no teas or gossip. I don't go with my husband to most of his social events. I don't clean (someone comes in twice a week). I don't iron (ditto). I don't make formal meals. I don't help my daughter with her homework (she is blessed to be a highly motivated, organized individual). I don't make the bed (my husband is fastidious). I don't take out the garbage. I don't argue. I don't overschedule my kid. I think boredom encourages creative thought.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by KatieK on 26th August 2007

  • I don't bathe my children every day. In fact if we're honest, my toddler is lucky if she gets three baths a week!
    I don't clean, except for picking up before the cleaners come once every other week.
    Before I was on maternity leave I didn't always pick up my daughter as soon as I was off work. Sometimes I took some time to myself.
    And last but not least, I don't want to go back to my job in November. I'm ready for a change. ;-)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by kikarose on 17th August 2007

  • 1. I don't shave under my arms in winter
    2. I have dust bunnies under the bed that are bigger than the dog
    3. I only mop the kitchen floor when my feet start sticking to it
    4. I only brush the front of my kid's teeth because who sees the back
    5. I will buy cheap toilet paper for the family so I can have expensive hairspray
    6. I let my three-year-old watch Lifetime
    7. The last time we gave to the poor was when we left that penny on the sidewalk
    8. I told my kid if he goes poopy on the potty I will let Santa Claus move in downstairs
    9. I make my coffee before I give him breakfast
    10.I do read to my kid. He loves People and Glamour best

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Kelly Swanson on 16th August 2007

  • When I put it all together--not sure what I actually *do*!
    I don't
    clean my house or even pre-clean --I have a housekeeper
    do any laundry --housekeeper does that
    stay home--we have a nanny
    cook elaborate gourmet meals anymore or even cook routinely--my husband isn't home much and the kids are still too young.
    exercise every day. (sigh--that one I really miss)
    read books for pleasure
    travel to exotic places with my husband--the grocery store seems exotic these days.

    I'm still working on the "it's okay" part.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by spacegeek on 16th August 2007

  • Jordan- this was very funny. Women do have these "50-esque" expectations don't they? We are liberated and then when Halloween rolls around we feel the urge to turn into "Becky Home-Ecky". What is with that?
    I love your list. I love my cleaning woman, but I confess I am a bed maker- I have sons and I want them to helpful to their wives someday, so our rule is: They make their own beds daily (doesn't have to be perfect) and for my husband and I: Whoever is out of bed last, makes it. So even dad has to make it on weekends:) For me, a made bed makes the room look twenty times cleaner even if it's not so clean! (lately, I'm not always on top of "de-cluttering" for my cleaning woman)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Rosanne Rust on 16th August 2007

  • list is almost identical to yours. My only deviation is that I try to make my bed because it the one thing I can do in less than a minute and it makes a huge impression on my everytime I walk to the bedroom! I also don't clean out my car (inside or out) but I keep a towel on the back seat under the car seats so if I have a real person riding with me, I can move the car seat and fold over the towel (and all those crumbs) to leave a relatively clean seat to sit on. I then throw everything under their feet to the other side of the car!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by PeggyM on 15th August 2007

  • Since I work full time (and then some), I try to focus on spending good, quality time with my son. That's mean I outsource a lot. If someone can do something better than me, I let them do it and don't feel bad about it. This way I spend my free time completely focused on my son instead of household duties. My nanny straightens up and does laundry when my son is sleeping, I have a housekeeping for deep cleaning -- floors, bathroooms, etc., my mother in law makes a lot of my son's food all fresh from her garden, I order groceries online, I had his birthday party partially catered.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Dee Anna on 15th August 2007

  • Cleaning -- I pay someone to clean the toilets and wash the floors and do the scrubbing bubbles routine. I straighten and clean up the clutter so they can do their job more efficiently. I "should" let them take off in the summer when I'm not teaching, but they do a much better job than I would, so I still have them come in during July and August.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Daisy on 15th August 2007