I Gave Up on Trying to Be Superwoman

Last Updated on April 27, 2021

Recently, I was at a mom’s get-together. I don’t remember what we were talking about but, in the middle of the conversation, one of the moms said sheepishly, “Well, actually I have a cleaning lady who comes every other week.”

She looked ashamed to even admit this audibly, but I quickly set her at ease by looking directly in her eyes and saying, “Good for you!”

We women tend to think that unless we’re doing every little thing to run our homes we are failures. We beat ourselves up if we can’t do it all. We feel guilty for even considering bringing in a little outside help on occasion.

I know the feeling. For years, I tried to do it all, too. I tried to juggle babies and toddlers and moves and job changes and homemaking and home businesses and financial struggles and potty-training and blogging and friendships and church and exercise and everything else that I thought a good wife, mom, and business owner was supposed to do.

I was left exhausted, spent, and overwhelmed. I knew things weren’t working well, but I refused to admit that it was because I was trying to do too much.

Instead, I thought it was that I just wasn’t using my time wisely enough or being efficient enough. I’d resolve to try harder, work longer hours, sleep less, and cut out anything that wasn’t a necessity.

After my third child was born two years ago, I experienced a dark and frightening months-long journey with postpartum depression. For the first time, my try-harder, sleep-less method didn’t work at all. And, after years of being too proud to admit it, I finally said, “I can’t do this by myself.”

We hired a young lady from church to come over once a week and help me with laundry and cleaning and other tasks around the house. I cut back on a bunch of commitments that I realized I didn’t have to be involved in. And I brought on a skilled team of people to help run my business.

I struggled with guilt at first over the fact that I wasn’t always doing every piece of our family’s laundry or that someone else was mopping my kitchen floor once a week. But I quickly got over the guilt when I realized how this freed me up to be able to breathe and love on my husband and children instead of living in a continual state of exhaustion.

Truth be told, I’ve searched the Bible high and low and have yet to find where it says that I am commanded to scrub my floors or clean my toilets. Sure, I still often scrub my floors and clean my toilets, but I’m grateful that having some additional help on a regular basis has enabled me to focus on those areas the Bible has commanded of me: loving my husband and nurturing my children.

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  1. Good for you, Crystal! There is no time in the day for unnecessary guilt.

    1. Also, it's not only helping YOU to have more time, but it's giving other people jobs! Two birds with one stone! ;o)

  2. Thanks for this article – I think it’s important that every woman realizes that help is okay for whatever you do. I have to admit before I read this I thought you were superwoman, paying next to nothing for groceries. homeschooling, freezer baking, home paid off, etc. Love your site by the way!

  3. Good for you! A friend of mine has hired a young woman to clean her house 2x a month and she has completely changed. She was constantly stressed over her house and this one thing has allowed her to relax.

  4. One of these days I'm going to find something extra in the budget for someone else to come scrub my bathrooms for a change 🙂

  5. Currently struggling with this myself. I have given up on one committment but as I was writing a report for my volunteer job for negleted children this morning, my own children were spending ANOTHER morning in front of the TV. Just looking for the balance I don't have yet!

  6. A get-away weekend?! I've never had one, but after 4 kids in 6 years, 11 moves in 4 states (we aren't military), health crises, financial hardships, etc., I think I could use one! Thanks for the chance. And today I m going to find some help!

  7. Good job Crystal! It is hard being a mom! We juggle so many jobs! I was blessed enough to be work at home mom for 5 years. Last November I lost that job & I have to admit, it has devistated me. I went from feeling like I was a success & able to juggle so many things to feeling like a complete failure. As are result of losing my job, our finances bottomed out. We have not recovered from it. I took a full-time job that requires me to commute at least a 1/2 hr. each way. It has been a very difficult transition for myself and for my family. My daughter is now 7 and has enjoyed having mommy there for everything, including volunteering at the school for all kinds of things, chaperoning field trips, party planning, etc. plus getting her to & from school each day. To top it off, my oldest son is in the Army & was deployed in August. A month later he called me to tell me that his girlfriend was pregnant…2 days before my 40th birthday I found out I was going to be a grandma. My son came home & got married very quickly so that things would be taken care of for his wife & baby.

  8. My baby boy is 19 & graduated in June & is struggling to find his place in life. The last year of my life has been one struggle after another. I feel like I am finally pulling out of the funk and black cloud that has hung over me for the past year but it has taken it's toll on me in many ways. It's been a very hard year for my whole family. I have struggled to let go of volunteer work I have done, eliminating things that I just don't have time for & trying to prioritize things so that I can be the kind of wife & mother I want to be. I have yet to figure it all out with all that has gone on the last year. MomLife Bootcamp sounds like something I could really use!

  9. modernmrsdarcy says:

    Love. it. And guess what? This year, one of my resolutions is to get my groceries delivered more often. That's kind of like having a cleaning lady, right?

    1. It's better, in my humble opinion! It saves you an hour, you have fresh food, it costs a whole lot less, and I've found I spend less overall with no spontaneous purchases. Your kids can scream as much as they want at home! Of course, I'm a strong believer in outsourcing. Auto bill pay? Yes please. Grocery delivery, Absolutely. Netflix to the door, Fun! And I'll take that with a side of cleaning lady.

      Oh, I'd love to go away for a Mom's weekend, but why are you going to hug my neck?

  10. YES! Even the Proverbs 31 woman had servant girls (verse 15). Now to just put it into practice and not feel so guilty all the time…

    1. Yes! That is exactly what I was going to say. If the Proverbs 31 who is so revered in the Bible had servants, we can, too!

  11. Great article Crystal! A getaway would be amazing! I think all families deserve to have a refreshed and energized Mom around the house! Everyone benefits from it. Thanks for this chance!

  12. I love your paragraph about not finding in the Bible were we have to clean toilets! Can't wait to try that one on my husband, lol.

    Thanks for being so real!

  13. I to feel guilty having someone help me but with 2 kids under 3 I need help.
    My girls and husband need me to 🙂

  14. Thanks Crystal. I'm a preacher's wife and mom to two young boys, so I would like a break too!

  15. Wow, glad I am not the only one feeling this way.

  16. Amen, Crystal! I'm right there with you. I went through a very similar season of depression and exhaustion after I had also tried to "do it all" and realized I simply couldn't. I had to do similar things- get more help, hire for my business, drop commitments, etc. I'm suddenly back in another really busy season that I didn't expect, and the first thing on my to-do list? Call a house cleaner. 🙂

    I think it's also important to look at the Proverbs 31 woman as an example. We are often taught about ALL of the good things that she did and how hard she worked, yet what is rarely mentioned is the fact that she had… maidservants. That's right- someone to help do her cooking and cleaning and keep up her home! So maybe that's how she was freed up to train her children and serve her husband and bless those around her!

  17. Wait a second…you're not superwoman??!!??!! 😉 And to think, this whole time I've been wrong about you! 🙂
    J/k…thanks so much for sharing such sweet honesty!

  18. The Proverbs 31 woman had maidservants ;). I like to think that hiring help is biblical :).

    1. Grandmother of 5 says:

      Yes, but we have dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, microwave ovens, vacuum cleaners — electronic servants!

    2. I have never put that together but you’re right, Rachel! God doesn’t expect us to do everything alone even if we do have modern conveniences.

  19. I have struggled with guilt for years over not being able to do it all. I have many times felt like a failure as a mom. But what I am learning is that my kids need me more than they (or I) need everything to be done perfectly. Each year I have to re-evaluate what I am doing, just like each year my children are a little older and the season changes. I now have a 20 year old (living away at college) down to a 6 year old. And I am still trying to figure this out.

  20. Good for you Crystal! I sometimes feel like I should be "superwoman" but there is no super woman out there. If it looks that way it probably isn't that way with what we don't see. Anyway I'd love to win! Thanks!

  21. Even thought I know in my heart that "It takes a village to raise a child," it's still hard to swallow when a stay at home mom feels like she needs help. This has been one of the hardest things for me to contend with since staying home full time!

  22. What a timely article for me! I just told my hubby last night how overwhelmed I hv bn feeling and sheepishly admitted that I am going go drop couponing for a while. The grocery budget is tight already, so I am not sure how we will make it, but as my hubby assured me…my mental health is worth more than a few more groceries.

  23. Thank you! I had a melt down today. Thank God my husband only works minute away to come help because I needed it. I’m not Superwoman but its hard to get it thru my brain. I have a 18 mo and a 7 week old. Life is hard when you want to do “everything” but end up doing nothing. Hardest part is not beating yourself up which I’ve done for most of the past 7 weeks. Bottom line I love my kids and husband and will do what I can to make it thru each day. Some of us need a little more help than others.

    1. Hang in there. My kids are 16 & 20 months apart, and it IS exhausting to have two babies at once! When I was at that stage, with a new baby, I would set one "goal" for each day – today, I will vacuum, tomorrow, I will do laundry. Just one chore, aside from a shower, cooking, & changing diapers! That helped me out without trying to do it all every day.

  24. pick me pick me. That just sounds like FUN! Fun is so necessary as a mom. I really try to work it in to my parenting as well as my little snippets of time away with other adults. that just sounds Perfect…a mom's getaway!

  25. Thank you for this article!! I totally feel this way, just the other day I told a friend of mine that I felt so guilty leaving my kids with my mom for the afternoon so that I could run errands, since I was also going out to dinner with my husband that night. You are so right though, sometimes moms just need to accept the help!

  26. Thanx for the reminder….its nice to know I’m not the only one who struggles. I do tons but I wish it was more….learning it is okay…is getting easier.

  27. Yes! Thank you! This morning, I told my husband the same thing. I can NOT do it all and I will not any longer! Thanks for the confirmation.

  28. Oh gosh, I would love a weekend like this. I have three little boys and my husband is in law school, and we don't have any family in town or a budget that would allow a babysitter/cleaner, so it would be great to get a break like this!

  29. Elizabeth says:

    I am so glad you're not superwoman! I was considering no longer reading these blogs because it seemed that everyone else had it together and did it beautifully with make up and a craft… and I didn't. Glad to know I was wrong. Can't afford someone to clean for me right now, but after I'm debt free in two years, that may be one of the things I invest in! Thanks for the humble insight.

  30. OK, so I don't have kids so I'm not a mom… so I'd never consider myself to be a Superwoman in the context of this article… but I have a mom.. a really great one at that… and I just want all you moms to know that you are indeed superwomen. I think that our definition of a superwoman is the problem. Doesn't the word "superwoman" even mean that you are supposed to have super-powers…. as in non-human abilities. For real– we know that super-powers are not real (even if your 4 year son doesn't ;), so why compare yourself to someone that doesn't even exist?! Is your child in a safe and loving environment? Are the basic needs of food and sheltered met? If you can answer yes to these questions than yes, in my book you are indeed a superwoman, and my mom is a superwoman too.

    1. Bless you Kristin for taking the time to encourage all us moms…THANK YOU and many blessings to you!

  31. Great post. I just gave birth to our fifth baby, but I'm not feeling overwhelmed at the moment. I think this is largely because my husband is currently home and here to help quite a lot with the kids.

  32. phxmomof2 says:

    My mom framed this poem for me when my daughter was born:
    I hope my children look back on today and remember a mom who had time to play,
    Children grow up while you're not looking; they'll be years ahead for cleaning and cooking.
    So quiet now cobwebs, dust go to sleep. I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.
    I live by this motto and now that I have two children it is more important then ever that I realize my clean floors are not as important as my kids' smiles.I'm also very lucky my husband agrees and doesn't make me feel bad when he steps on 6 toys getting to the bathroom. Good luck to you.

  33. Mary Beth Patnaude says:

    I heartily agree! I have 5 sons, the oldest of which is 13. I have always struggled with guilt when I can't "do it all"! I also suffered from comparing myself to others. My wonderful husband always encourages me to get household help!

    I'm glad I'm not alone!

  34. I have kids that are nine, six and eighteen months. I am also 8 months pregnant. The holidays got me to a point of crying on the bathroom floor until I threw up. I couldn't do it all. I need sleep, period. My mom generously gave me her cleaning ladies for a day, and did my laundry. Suddenly, my world was righted again! I could go to bed with a peaceful mind and heart because I wasn't living in chaos and guilt anymore. We are now having the same people come every other week to clean. And looking to have another friend help with laundry. Part of me feels guilty for needing help. But the other bigger part is so thankful and relieved to be getting the help I have so long desired. Thank you for being open and real.

  35. A getaway wild be so nice…sometimes as a mom you just need to recharge your batteries! Thanks for the chance to win!

  36. Love the article. I love shattering the super mom myth. Don't give up on the Marathon idea. I remember having toddlers and preschoolers once and thinking running 3 miles was impossible! Well now those toddlers and preschoolers are tweeners and teenagers and guess what I RAN THAT MARATHON! actually I have ran 2 so far and have signed up for a 3rd.

  37. I had a huge smile on my face today when I walked into my clean house. A house that I didn't have to clean! Yes, I paid for it but it was well worth the money spent.

  38. Mom2girlboy says:

    Thank you for sharing. I have dealt with the same struggles after I had my 2nd child and returning to work full-time. I never felt so grateful when I was able to hire someone to help me with my house every other week. I love the poem above the phxmom2 posted. This is so true. Let the gulit go and ask for help if you are able.

  39. Carla Noll says:

    4 kids who are homeschooling, one pastor husband, a house, a dog, a guinea pig, 8 chickens, etc….need I say more? I need a break, so I would love to win this getaway!!!

  40. I spend 2010 in bed praying my surprise third child would be allowed to grow and live. He was born four weeks early and healthy in August via c-section. For the past year, I have struggled with trying to maintain an work-from-home accounting business, take care of my family, and just survive in general. I am slowly getting back on my feet but muscle atrophy is definitely a problem. I have so many people that have surrounded me to help me but I have learned it is ok to make your life simple, it is ok to pay some to clean your floors and toilets, and it is ok to let someone help you with your kids and let your kids help you with tasks around the house. Our life has slowed way down and I am thankful that even though I spent almost a year in bed I am starting to resurface and not taking on so much in my life.

    I would love to attend Mom BootCamp.

  41. @SprinklesInLife says:

    I'm always inspired by you Crystal. I adore that you keep it real and transparent. I wish our church had mother's helpers 🙂

  42. Amen to that. I am grateful that after I had my third child, there were a couple older and much wiser women at church who gently advised me that I may not actually be Super Mom (nursing school, lead a family group, real estate investing, etc.). I still struggle with it, but have no problem hiring some help with house cleaning! I have learned a lot about saying, 'no', and managing my exhaustion levels- which can be challenging to explain. I have also learned that generally people do not have enough respect for 'stay at home moms', but I trust the Bible and the results we are getting in our family;)

  43. thecouponchicks says:

    Every mom need to hear this (including me)! Super mom doesn't exist! Thanks for reminding me it's okay to be human!

  44. Ah, this is just what I needed today!! I admitted on my blog today that I got help with my business and I'm going to get more consistent help with my cleaning. UGH. Hard to let go, but I can't wait to finally have the time to devote to my kids and husband! They are the MOST important, after all!

  45. I have a 5 year old, a 3 year old and a 2 week old. I have been doing chores, going grocery shopping and striving to prove to myself and everyone else that I am indeed super woman! My friend recently asked me how I was doing and I replied that I was doing great. “No you’re not. And I’m not either,” she said. It made me angry at first. How dare she say I am not doing good. Just because she wasn’t didn’t mean I wasn’t. I am thankful she said that because it allowed me to admit to myself and others that I cannot do it on my own. And after 2 weeks and 2 older kids to take care of, I shouldn’t be doing it all on my own. So I had my house cleaned, accepted dinner from the friend, and accepted babysitting. And then I found this article. It’s nice to know we aren’t alone and we don’t have to do it all. I feel like I have to because I am a stay at home mom and it’s my “job”. Thanks for the article and all the comments from non perfect moms!

  46. So encouraging, and exactly what I needed! I've been struggling with this very thing recently, thank you Crystal!

  47. as a mom and now grand mother I realized a long long time ago that our children WILL NOT remember if the toilet was cleaned everyday. They WILL remember giggling while making brownies for dessert…the time you spent with them. So relax, maybe you can't volunteer now as much as you would like but down the road as your children leave the nest you will have plenty of time to resume those areas of interest.

  48. I so often have to remind myself that I’m not Super Mom and no one would like me if I was! Thank you so much for this reminder!

  49. christine says:

    Thanks for that great reminder Crystal! I’ve been a reader of MSM and I remember you posting about the postp. depression. I really appreciate your honesty. You are a blessing! : )

  50. I need a cleaning lady too! Good for you Crystal. I have 2 daughters ages 5 and 2 and am pregnant with baby #3, a BOY! I'm due April 22nd and could really use a mom weekend get away before this baby comes!!!

  51. I saw this retreat a few weeks ago and it looked like a lot of fun and just the refreshment I would need. As a foster to adopt mom of three under two, I have learned that there are a lot of things that aren't so important anymore. There is no need to be supermom, just mom.

  52. I have paid for a cleaning lady for the past year and a half and she is worth every penny I pay for her! I spend my weekends relaxing with my family instead of cleaning floors and toilets. My attitude improves greatly when my home is clean and organized and my husband easily figured out that a happy wife is a happy life and has never so much as said a word about it!

  53. Charlene Ebert says:

    In the time of the Israelite’s, households which were well enough off were able to purchase what was called slaves. They were to be well treated. They were simply workers in and around the home or fields. I am sure this continued even on through Jesus time, as if you read the Greek Scriptures (new testament) Jesus often makes mention of the slaves which were owned at the time. It wasn’t slavery as we in America know it to be with the African slave trade. Slavery during Jesus time was a loving provision for the Israelites who were struggling and needed to find a means to support themselves. So do not fear, the bible would support your efforts to love your family.

  54. CountryMomInNY says:

    I can so relate to this article! My husband and I were just having words about this last night. I feel like a failure in so many areas of life – I don't seem to be doing well in taking care of my home, chores, meals or homeschooling. I thought I would somehow be farther ahead in life – have things more together – by the time I was this age (44)! I keep thinking organization will help me get on track, and I have created many, many different forms to track everything, but then I manage to lose the paper or just simply ignore it! My husband says that things are "fine" and I'm just a control freak, but I feel like if I don't stay on top of all these things in my life, who WILL handle it?! The chores don't get done by themselves, the homeschool scheduling needs to be done by someone, and my husband isn't willing to do it. Since I can't make it to TX for the retreat, I would love some suggestions on how to cope with it all without having to be Superwoman!

  55. Love this! Thanks for the push for getting help!

  56. I think I let go of being Superwoman and then I find myself stressed and trying again. Sigh. I used to have a girl from church come and help me for a few hours a week but she had surgery and I miss her SO much. Got to find a way to get help again.

  57. Nice article! I am trying to get organized so that I can spend more time just being with my children rather than being busy around the house.

  58. Carol Smith says:

    I would love a get-away! Plus, I would love the opportunity to get to meet other moms! A weekend at Pine Cove would be perfect!

  59. I hired a cleaning gal about two years ago after major surgery – and I STILL felt a bit guilty!! I look back and shake my head at myself – here I was, major surgery – house getting dirtier because I couldn't even operate a broom, and I felt guilty – like I SHOULD be able to – somehow – manage it myself. (And, no, I don't have children – we wish, but…) So, I had that going around in my head, too – the extra guilt because I couldn't "do for myself or my house" and I don't even have kids to contend with. Oh, and did I mention – I didn't work at the time…I was a stay-at-home WIFE. (Still am – and I LOVE it…and yes, I still have weekly help.)

    I'd like to offer this perspective on trying to do it all/hiring help:

    I currently live in Italy. When I first hired the gal that helps me – whom I love – I noticed a vastly different attitude about hiring help.

    Keep in mind that these ladies are Italian and uber-traditional when it comes to gender roles. (My landlady and her daughter introduced me to the gal that helps them and has helped them for many years.)

    Their attitude is not what I expected. It may surprise you, too – and give you perspective on ALL you are trying to do and how much that really is.

    I mentioned to the daughter that this was highly unusual to hire help to clean the house, that women in the states believe they should do all the housework (and everything else) themselves – and usually do (or try to).

    She was shocked – literally…The thought of trying to do it all herself had never entered her brain. Why?? Because in her head, trying to take care a house, work, cook, do laundry – was insane. Literally…kids or not.

    She seemed genuinely confused about why any woman would attempt this. (And in the states, there may be financial considerations to hiring cleaning help, but I've determined that no matter what – when we return to the states – I will figure out a way to continue to have help.) It frees up time – and money – in other areas. Really.

    Is it possible to take care of a home, kids, and everything else yourself? Yes – I had cleaning schedules and routines, etc. Did it for years myself. No kids at the time, but I worked. (I still do have routines and schedules. I've just turned over pieces of it to someone else.)

    But ask yourself why you think you should be doing this all yourself – you, alone? Guilt…or pride?

    Having help has freed me up to do other things in the house. It's also freed me up to start freelancing again this year – and know that I'm not neglecting more important duties.

    The best part is: I'm now guilt-free about having help and am looking at turning over a couple of other things in the house…like ironing. (Takes me hours and I'm AWFUL at it..)

    Having help is good for my home, good for me, good for my husband, good for our marriage – and you know what, it's good for the gal that helps me.

    I'm not saying you have to hire help – but don't let guilt or pride stop you from doing what's best for you and for your family…and once you get over the guilt, I'll bet you find the money (or some other way to have the help you want/need).

    Think about the value of the time (and energy) you'll get back – and what that's worth to your family/kids. It's more that you can give to them, and what's that worth?

    Being a good steward/wife is about managing your home and responsibilities well – it's not about DOING it all yourself.

  60. Thank you for your article and the chance to win the mom boot camp. Because of that opportunity so many woman commented, which I really enjoyed reading! Some made me thankful for what I have that I consider a challenge is minor compared to what it could be. Some convicted me to put down the dustrags and play with the kids more! I need to prioritize and make my children know they are more important than a clean house, laundry, etc. Thank you for everything you do!

  61. I'd love a weekend away!

  62. I've never gotten away by myself. Ever. I can't afford to get to Texas anyway, nor do I live near relatives to help take care of my kids while I'm gone, but I appreciate this article, Crystal. I LOVE the fact that you searched for biblical proof in regards to scrubbing toilets. I'm a pastor's wife and I've never thought to actually do that! I knew following you was a smart decision. 🙂 I struggle with constant thoughts of inefficiency and have to remind myself daily that God loves me anyway. Reading your blog posts is like talking to a friend. I don't have close friends who actually live near me anymore (3 moves and 2 kids) so it can be pretty isolating feeling like you're the only one failing at keeping it altogether. I have to claim Proverbs 3:5-6 and Isaiah 40:31 daily. Thanks for the encouragement today.

  63. I never knew there were retreats like this available! I have three young children (2.5, 1.5, and 2 months) and am craving a getaway to be refreshed. What a blessing this would be!

  64. Great reminder, thanks! And a mom's getaway sounds….wonderful!!!

  65. Oh the honesty is so refreshing! Thank you for that. I recently started a blog allowing me to be honest about what a house with three kids is really like. What a wonderful outlet for me and I hope it will let other mommy's breathe easier too. We are all amazing, sometimes we just aren't pretty about it! Thank you!!!

  66. What a great post and something i think we all need to be reminded of as we try to balance everything that comes under "being a mom"!!

  67. Ashley - Embracing Beauty says:

    This is such an encouragement. I’m in tears right now…thank you!