By Susan Shifay Cheung

“Dear No Mommy’s Perfect,

I have a dirty secret. I’m not a SuperMom. Though, I put on a good show.

I run from work to school to home to take my two kids (ages seven and eight) to their sports, music lessons, play dates, birthday parties, community service and cultural activities.

In truth, I hate running everywhere because a) I hate driving, b) I feel like a chauffeur and c) I’m burning up limited carbon fuels waiting in pick-up lines.

There are evenings where I barely have time to throw them a plate of food, check their homework and get them to bed.

And what happened to snuggly, reading-them-a-story, “mommy and me” time? I can hardly keep my eyes open, my nerves are frayed and I just want them to sleep.

I tell myself sternly every year I won’t sign them up for too many activities, but, somehow, that falls on my deaf ears and here we are, again.

Why do I do it to myself and feel like a big fat failure when I can’t do it all perfectly?

- Frustrated, slightly insane, not-at-all perfect, trying-to-be and failing miserably SuperMom in the burbs!”

I don’t have to wait for a reply. Deep down, I know the truth.

I’ve compared notes and heard similar stories. Many are out with their kids six nights a week, leaving one night of down time. And what do they do? They clean, do laundry, and a hundred and one other chores.

Where does that leave precious personal time? Nowhere.

No Mommy's Perfect!

A Typical Mommy Day:)

And that’s the problem.

Overextending ourselves is easy to do. We can run on empty. It becomes a habit; a second skin. Often, we subvert our own needs for our family members and that’s where we make our biggest mistake. We neglect to carve out some “me” time in our busy schedules, and, when we get cranky because we’re exhausted, we have nobody but ourselves to blame.

I believe it’s not just our physical bodies we have to take care of to be fully charged and ready for whatever the day throws at us. There are other needs we have to feed and repair, if we’re to function at our best.

Think of your whole self as these four quadrants when you consider how you live your day-to-day life:

Physical
Mental
Emotional
Spiritual

What gaps are there in each quadrant when confronted with creating your “me” time? I challenge you to be really honest with yourself.

Personal “me” time isn’t about making time to clean the house. It’s about doing something (or not doing something) that recharges you.

When all’s said and done, it doesn’t matter that my kids have to do another sports, play another instrument or speak a third language, as long as they’re happy and healthy. And I get to keep my sanity!

Susan S. Cheung (known to many by her Chinese name, Shifay) has turned her hand to many forms of writing over the years in her various roles as corporate trainer, management consultant, journalist and freelance writer. By her own admission, she’s an imperfect mom of two and is currently working on a chick-lit novel set in her home town of London, England. She lives in Franklin, TN. You can contact her at y2s2cheung@yahoo.com.