“Happy Mom” vs. “Supermom”

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Happy mom vs Supermom www.theshortesttallman.com

Guest post by Momma D

I love words. I love the sounds they make: “bubbling”, “lugubrious”, “exuberance.” I love the images they conjure: “the snow dusted the ground, a thin layer of confectioner’s sugar.”

There are a few words I don’t love, however. Words like “hate”, “selfish”, “worthless.” I’ve recently added a word to this list of unloved terms – “Supermom.” Supermom summons images of crisp capability, sustained smiles, a clean house, laundry folded and put away, homemade organic snacks and Pinterest-worthy craft projects. Perfection.

I’m older than most of the moms of my kids’ friends, so maybe I’ve had more time to think about this, or more time to struggle to achieve Supermom status. But I’ve realized something. Supermom is a myth. She doesn’t actually exist. But her fictional shadow looms large over kind, wonderful, tired, struggling, real moms. How many of us, at bedtime, have to choose – snuggling and another story or folding laundry? Or how many of us spend Saturday running errands we couldn’t get to during the week, only to find the list half completed on Saturday night? Or if we take the time to do something fun on Saturday, we feel the need to stay up late to complete the chores we didn’t do during the day?

I find myself, when people come over to my house, feeling the need to apologize – for the baskets of clean laundry that haven’t gotten folded yet, for dust bunnies, or take-out pizza instead of a homemade “clean eating” meal. Why? Surely my guests know that although dusting and laundry and cooking need to get done, I have kids and a husband with needs too, and they will take priority.

But there are “those moms” you will tell me, “those moms” who seem to get everything done, easily, and with a minimum of fuss, and still have time for a 2-hour workout at night. Please believe me when I tell you that no one, not even the moms who do manage homemade organic bulgur wheat brownies in the midst of papiêr maché science projects and a pristine house, have attained Supermom status. Even these moms express dissatisfaction, complaining about how busy they are, hectic extra-curricular schedule, being tired, or listing things that haven’t gotten done yet. One of my acquaintances regularly writes the same rotation of posts on social media: how much she has to do, how she can get it all done if she just plans her time better and eats better, how crazy her schedule is, how tired she is. (Rinse, repeat. Month after month.) A friend commented on her page, “You are Supermom!” to which she responded, “I’m trying!” In the accompanying pictures of my acquaintance, I see the tired lines at the corners of her mouth, on her forehead above her nose, and the shadows under her eyes. I worry how hard she is pushing herself. I see myself, filled with mental to-do-lists, anxiety, and self-doubt, and sometimes tired to the marrow of my bones.

If I could do one thing for any mom, I would obliterate Supermom once and for all.

She is vicious. The expectations Supermom sets are impossible to fulfill without losing ourselves. Her fictional exploits, carefully logged on social media, diminish the tangible good accomplished by other moms, and undermine their self-confidence. And who can say the damage Supermom causes to the self-image of moms who face real struggles in their or their families’ lives. In trying to meet these impossible goals, what are moms sacrificing? Our own joy, our sense of self-worth, our faith in our instincts, or worse yet, our health?

We have the ability to bring joy, laughter, fun, innovation, quirkiness, stability, originality and love to the world. We have the privilege of nurturing beautiful, amazing, talented and loving kids. We deserve to be confident and happy, to relax and have time for ourselves – not once in a while, but every day. So do me a favor. Recognize that you are a real woman living in the real world with a real family. IT ISN’T ALL GOING TO GET DONE. And that’s ok. In fact, that’s perfect! Trust yourself, and trust each other, to decide which things you and your family need most in a given day, and which can go by the wayside. Without guilt, choose what is and isn’t getting done today. Leave the dishes in the sink and have a dance party with your kids. Let the kids watch tv so you can have enough quiet time to balance the checkbook. Serve chicken nuggets from the freezer and snuggle with your honey for the night.

Accept that choices have to be made. Accept yourself and celebrate your ability to prioritize for yourself, and for your family. Accept that it’s ok that it won’t all get done, and it’s ok if it isn’t Pinterest-worthy. Ask for help without feeling guilty or obsessing over the details. (My 8-year-old folds her own laundry. It looks like a disorganized lumpy mess in her dresser, but it’s clean and put away.) You may be amazed how freeing it is, and how you may open yourself up to experience moments of unexpected joy since you can focus on the “now” rather than the “what’s next”. You may be amazed how much happier you are.

“Happy Mom.” Talk about a power for good. Think of how “Happy You” can enrich your family, nurture the world, and buoy up other moms. “Happy Mom.” Just the thought of this heroic force makes me smile.

As far as I’m concerned, “Happy Mom” kicks “Supermom’s” booty every time.

-Momma D

Happy mom vs Supermom www.theshortesttallman.com

Do you find yourself trying to achieve the Supermom ideal?

1 Comment

  • Alie May 23, 2016 at 2:10 am

    Thank you!! I love everything about this, you were so right Maggie 😍


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