Love, Mommy

Letters, thoughts and musings for my girls

Redefining Supermom

on January 30, 2012

In my regular quest for fantastic parenting articles, blogs and pieces, I came across one in particular that really got me thinking.  In this piece, the author stated that there are very clearly two types of mothers: supermoms that have spotless homes, gourmet meals, scheduled extracurriculars and a flawless appearance and then ‘other’ mothers that are throwing together haphazard meals, forget the regular schedule, and mismatch their own and their kids’ shoes on the way out the door.  Admittedly, I did not finish this particular article, because I could not get past the gagging and nausea that had overwhelmed me about a third of the way through, but, days later, I cannot get past the annoyance of this misguided and untrue classification.  What, really, defines a supermom?

I do believe that there is an idolized image of the supermom and that many of us have her sitting on our shoulder throughout the day.  She is fit because she works out every day, her hair is perfectly coiffed without a strand astray, her apron is pressed while she concocts yet another gourmet meal, and her children are well behaved angels.  She’s authoritative when necessary, but still manages to bring homemade cookies to the PTA meeting.  She is successful in her job, makes love to her husband every night and has the cleanest home on the block.  And she has energy to spare.  Do we, as women and mothers, honestly believe that there are two types of mothers and that this is one of them?  Newsflash- this woman does not really exist.  You may think she does, but trust me, she does not.  So why do we continue perpetuating the image and, by extension, a mother’s guilt for not measuring up?

I recommend that we redefine what it means to be a supermom.  We must work hard every day to be the kinds of mothers our children need us to be.  This supermom puts her children’s needs above her own, provides a safe and nurturing environment, ensures proper nutrition, encourages young minds to open and blossom, and teaches lessons in wrong, right and shades of gray.  She encourages her children to believe in themselves, to empathize with others and to think independently.  She does not need to do this in an immaculate home, or with matching shoes on, or over a gourmet meal.  She may choose to do so, but these are certainly not prerequisites for supermom status.

I think it’s time we knock that old supermom off of our shoulders.  Not everyone is a supermom, but it is a status that should be attainable.  And it’s certainly a status that should be defined by real moms and encouraged by all moms.  It is not the job of a mother to classify other mothers, nor to set unrealistic and unreachable goals for herself or others.  It is her job to be a better mother today than she was yesterday and be the best supermom that she can be.

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