This originally appeared on Mamamia. Republished here with permission.
I’d like to think if I didn’t work I’d be helping out at school or just doing something righteous. Often though, I feel like I’m just trying to keep up. And not let my kids down.
I overheard some ladies at school the other day declaring loudly that another woman “is a total Supermom, so organized and always immaculate.”
Oh, they weren’t talking about me, no they were discussing some other mother that is on the parents committee, helps in the classroom on a daily basis, and who had just dropped off some homemade biscuits en route to her personal training session. And I was suddenly wondering, what then, exactly determines the calibre of a ‘Supermom.’ I mean, is she easily identified with a cape and kick ass boots? What would her kryptonite be—projectile vomit and upturned Legos?
More to the point, what do I have to do to be considered a Supermom?
My own life is kinda nuts. I have three children and I have a full time day job, plus I write for various establishments in my “spare” time. When I get home, usually around 6:30pm, I am generally greeted with at least one semi-naked child kicking a football perilously close to the television and another one who has a thousand tales about his day that he needs to deliver, right to my face, as I walk in. The other one, the teenager, is usually AWOL. Presumably in her room ragging on me to her friends via Skype about how I STILL won’t allow her to buy a thousand dollar smartphone. My husband is in the fetal position in the corner. Kidding, he’s on the couch, watching “Antiques Roadshow.”
We then generally eat dinner that has been prepared by my husband (he does nights, I do mornings). We all sit and we talk about our days, generally shouting to be heard over one another or above the TV, which is kept on as background noise. One of us will wash up or no one does. Then one of the adults will run a bath and one of us will help the 6-year-old with his homework and occasionally I’ll have to help the 13-year-old with her Algebra, and even though I work with numbers all day, I generally have no friggin’ clue how to do this.
Around 1.5 hours after arriving home, the children go to bed. They don’t go to sleep, of course. They dick around doing god-knows-what and are given at least three empty threats before they pass out for the night. This is around the time my husband and I look at each other lovingly on the couch and make out. TOTALLY KIDDING. We just sit and exhale. And then I mostly start working on the other stuff. And he puts back on “Antiques Roadshow.”
I’m the first one to say here: None of the above is putting me in the contention for the title of Supermom.
A few examples:
1. Only this week I sent my son to school packed for a two-day excursion only to receive a phone call to alert me to the fact that if I’d read the latest notes in my son’s bag, I would have known that this trip had been postposed. For a month.
2. My children don’t always eat meals that would be given the American Heart Association’s seal of approval.
3. I’ll admit we don’t always check on their tooth-brushing techniques.
4. When my children have had to bring a “plate” for certain events at school, they’ve occasionally turned up with a bag of Doritos.
5. On more than one occasion I’ve sent them to school with a 50/50 chance that I’m going to get a call to collect them when the cold medicine wears off.
6. I’ve never helped at the cafeteria, not because I don’t want to, but because I’ve just never been able to.
Here’s the thing: I think we are all, as parents, just trying to do our best in the circumstances in which we’ve found ourselves. I’d like to think if I didn’t work I’d be helping out at school or just doing something righteous. Often though, I feel like I’m just trying to keep up. And not let them down.
The worst thing is that a lot of moms think they have to keep up the illusion of how on top of things they are, the illusion of how “together” they are. This is mainly though just to fool each other, when in reality, all they are doing is fooling themselves. It’s like they are trying to almost “out-mom” each other.
Can I tell you though, how nice it is, and this is from experience, to just flop down on a couch, shove some chocolate in your face and admit that things are kind of shitty? That sometimes little Katherine drives you up the fucking wall with her 100th rendition of “I’m a Little Teapot,” and this is totally OK.
I think, and hey, I’m no expert, but I think, if you are teaching your child to be tolerant, fair, loving, and compassionate, then you are a freaking Supermom. Don’t get me wrong, the homemade biscuits are nice touch, sure, but nothing beats just loving your kids and doing the best you can for them with what you’ve got.
Photo courtesy of the author
Bern is a Gen X, child of the ’80s. Kept busy being a working mother of three children, one with Aspergers, renovating the original money pit and drinking too many coffees in the space of 24 hours. She writes beautiful and amusing posts on her blog, which you can find here http://bernmorley.blogspot.com/.