We all know one or two SuperMums. Women with a car full of kids who can hold down a job or a household; are unflappable and calm; their family are always in clean clothes; they remember your petsí names and your kidsí birthdays; and they manage to bring a plate of freshly baked cookies to playdates no matter how little notice they have been given.
Admire them or despise them, we can all learn from SuperMums, even if we canít actually manage to be one ourselves all the time.
So what makes SuperMums so super?
1. They get their priorities right: Sometimes there simply are not enough hours in the day to do all the things we need to do. So it is a matter of learning to prioritise, not necessarily just the most important or easiest jobs, but the ones that actually need your attention.
How do you do this when you are breastfeeding a baby and must negotiate the school run ten times a week?
Every weekend, divide your Ďto doí list into a 2X2 matrix based on whether things are Urgent/Not Urgent and Important/Not Important. Urgent and Important things will take care of themselves.
The trick of SuperMumís is to not waste time on the Not urgent/Not important tasks and to set aside time each day or week to do your Important/Not urgent tasks. SuperMums also know when to recognise that shop-bought biscuits are just as acceptable as home-made ones.
2. They value their own sanity: The most successful people donít spend all their lives thinking of others. They spend a fair bit of time thinking about themselves, and when youíre a mum, by taking care of yourself you are also taking care of the people who depend on you.
Whether you get your sanity from regular exercise, downtime, date nights with your husband or need to find an external source of satisfaction like going back to study or finding a new hobby, a happy mum is a SuperMum. It is also important to find like-minded mums who support you and share your interests.
3. They are organised: Itís such a pity they donít give you another set of hands and a personal assistant each time you have a baby, but we have to work with what weíve got. SuperMums are organised mums, and you can use whatever trick in the book that works for you.
If you are old-school, you might need stick to-do lists to the wall at home or shoved in your handbag. Perhaps you need a bunch of apps and calendars on your phone to keep you sorted.
Learning good habits such as weekly shopping lists, and menu planning, freezing lunches and morning teas can take a little bit of time but save a lot of sanity. And there is nothing wrong with using a well-stocked craft box or even TV to distract the kids while you are getting on with it.
4. They know their limits: The reason why SuperMums always look so unflappable is because they donít take too much on. Learning to say no is a valuable skill. Sure, some SuperMums can take on a lot more than the rest of us before they reach their limit, but the point is that everyone has a limit, and you need to understand where yours is.
It is not a weakness to admit you canít take on any more, but it does mean you can do a better job with the tasks you do have. Which makes everyone think youíre awesome.
5. They donít rush: Sometimes you can have a productive morning, the kids are behaving, you are flying through your jobs, then you look at the clock and realise youíre late for something. You fly out the door, drive like a maniac and arrive looking like you just did ten rounds with Danny Green. You probably forgot your handbag as well.
Set your clocks five minutes fast. Use an alarm or kitchen timer to warn it is time to get ready to leave. Pack bags and lunches the night before. Never check your email as you are about to walk out the door. Tell the kids (and husband) that you need to leave 15 minutes before you actually do. Never rush out the door. Donít drive too fast and you will arrive looking (and feeling) calm. Just like a SuperMum.
6. They are aware of the evils of multi-tasking: Despite what you might think, multi-tasking is not the answer to being a SuperMum. Trying to do lots of jobs all at the same time just provides even more opportunities for missing something or making mistakes. Youíre much better off concentrating on a single task and finishing it before starting on the next one.
More importantly, beware of the evils of trying to multi-task online. Leave electronic timewasters - sorry Ďtasksí - to the end of the day. Set aside a defined time to deal with email, FaceBook, Pinterest and blogs and donít be tempted to have them all open while you are trying to work or pay bills online.
7. They forgive themselves: Despite what others may think, SuperMums understand that perfection doesnít actually exist. In fact, SuperMums donít actually exist but are just people like everyone else doing the best they can. Aiming for perfection is exhausting, both for you and your family.
Be conscious about the memories your kids are making. They wonít remember the fact they had a well-balanced, organic, sustainably sourced, home-cooked meal every night of the week and you kept the tops of the doors dusted - but they will remember that time you took them for a twilight picnic in their pyjamas and everyone ate BBQ chook and chips straight from the box.
What is a good habit you have learned from a SuperMum? Or a bad habit you are trying to break?