I was a stay at home mom for many years. The exact number I cannot recall because every day seemed to blur by with the same Sesame Street songs and me wearing the same sweatshirt. I was a great mom. I auditioned for the role of “mom” throughout many years of babysitting, and when I finally got the part, I put aside any career aspirations, and dove head first into being supermom. With my cape fully in place, I was wholly engaged and on the job. There were routines, and educational shows, properly balanced nutritional snacks, arts and crafts time, singing while cleaning up, homemade playdough, and a variety of other activities that still make me cringe when I think about them. I was the mom that other moms looked at and asked that famous question, “How does she do it?” As the girls began to age, my supermom cape became dirty. There was a stain from the time I made Becca stay at school after she repeatedly told me she didn’t feel well and then proceeded to vomit all of the gym. There was a stain when I told Shannon to suck it up after she fell skating only to discover a day later that her wrist was broken. There was a stain when I treated an (possibly nonexistent) allergy attack with benedryl on Christmas Eve. The stain of falling asleep before the tooth fairy could do her thing. There was a stain of spending more time leading the PTA than participating in events WITH the girls. The cape was stained from years of parenting. When they got a little older, the cape got torn. There was the tear by shaking their lives up with divorce. The tear of discovering who each of their parents really is. There was the tear of finding out that Becca had been dealing with a chronic condition after years of me ignoring her symptoms. There was the tear of facing the reality that I had not raised my children to truly know Jesus in the way I did. My cape was a dirty, torn, and a hardly recognizable piece of fabric. About 2 years ago, I discovered something. I didn’t have to be supermom. I didn’t have to be the mom that everyone wondered, “How does she do it?” I didn’t have to be those things, and honestly…I didn’t want to be those things. As I began to be more true to who I am, I also became more real with the kind of mom that I am. Certainly there are probably no “how to” books being written about my parenting style, but the kind of mom I am today reflects who I actually am. Broken, working everyday to be better, and praying that God fill in the gaps that I leave. While I sometimes wish that I could still be that mom with cape in full swing, I know that my girls are going to be okay. They are seeing the world in a new way, and becoming stronger people because of it. I know that I’m still going to do things that stain the cape, still going to occasionally start a tear, but what I know is that the bond that I have created with these girls being real has made me a better mom. I have been blessed with the opportunity to truly connect with them in a real way instead of being an amalgam of other peoples vision of good parenting. Today I’m real. Today I’m a different mom than I ever imagined, and they love me for it.