Efia is a mother of two kids and a full time career woman, she has a nanny and help at home which gives her the opportunity and time to focus on her work. Her career growth has been great over the years coupled with promotions and salary increases. She is the typical definition of who a star worker is. Aside her devotion to her career, she still manages to set aside quality time for her kids and family. Don’t judge her because she chose to delegate care for her kids while she focused on her work.
Aku is another mother of two kids, she has no help at home and a full time career woman constantly juggling career with time for the family. Unfortunately for her, she is unable to put in more time at work due to competing family needs although her work output is good. This has unfortunately slowed down her career growth relative to her peers. She is always running around and on the move. Don’t judge her because of her mood swings and her seemingly disorganised state of mind.
Last but not the least, Zenabu is also a mother of two kids. She is what we will describe as a full time stay-at-home mom. She has no help at home and focuses entirely on the upkeep and care of the home and her family. She quit her career years ago when she was pregnant with her first child. Don’t judge her because she has no career.
Finally, meet Naa mother of two kids with no help at home working with a company that offers flexible working arrangements. Her situation is similar to Aku, however her work is more understanding of her situation making her less stressed and effective both at work and at home. She is actually the envy of her fellow moms. Don’t judge her for having it all.
Now you have met our 4 mothers and before you proceed with the rest of the post, I need you to answer these two questions: What are the characteristics that define a supermom? Which of these moms has these SUPERMOM characteristics?.
Take a minute to think through it……………………..
Generally, society defines a SUPERMOM as one who is seen to exhibit a number of characteristics which I will go on to list shortly. We would also normally accord a “normal” MOM with the title of a SUPERMOM if they meet our highly set expectations of the kind of SUPERPOWER abilities they are supposed to exhibit.
She should be able to wake up early every day to get the house in order and care for the kids.
She should never complain of tiredness and stress. It only gives credence to her lack of strength.
She should excel both at work and at home.
She should never allow the thought of giving up to ever cross her mind.
She should not cry and must always be a tough cookie.
She should be able to multi-task on a daily basis without any failure.
She should be the perfect mother.
She should be the perfect wife.
She should be the perfect in-law.
Her house should never be in a mess.
She does not require help at home because she can handle it all.
She is expected to silence her emotions and feelings regardless of its negative psychological implications.
You might agree with these characteristics or not agree with them. You might also find some of them to be on the extreme end, however I have come to realise from my personal experience and interactions with other moms that society’s expectations whether directly or indirectly tends to have an impact on our roles as mothers. There are real stories that have resulted in the death of mothers due to these expectations, they are forced to outstretch themselves to meet them. But my question is, why should mothers be burdened with such high expectations? There are mothers caught up in jobs they hate because they do not want to be seen as losers…..others are also struggling without help because of what society would think of them…….even the stay-at-home moms are scared to ask for help at home because after all why did they quit work?
Personally, my ideal definition of a SUPERMOM is highlighted below in these 8 points:
- She is not perfect and her brain functions like the Systems Unit of a computer. It is always working until it is forced to shut down. Sacrifices! Sacrifices! Sacrifices! She is always planning the kids menu, work schedules, personal goals, social commitments etc. She is not let off the hook for forgetting some of these engagements and activities.
“A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.”
– Tenneva Jordan
- She is Unstoppable when it gets to her kids and family. She goes through all lengths for them to the extent of always surprising herself when she looks back on her life.
“To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power.”
– Maya Angelou
- A short period of Privacy is all she craves and wishes for but hardly gets it. She can get all moody when she is overwhelmed with everything and its normal with any mom. Don’t be pushed to suppress this for the fear of being seen as a bad and whiny mom. You have to let it all out sometimes.
“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.”
– Sophia Loren
- She gets easily Excited at the little achievements. A little task such as getting the kids to brush their teeth and get to bed early can be her EUREKA moment, but does not mean that she is an underachiever because her goals are not big enough in your view. If you can’t make it better for her, then don’t kill the moment for her.
“A mother’s heart is the child’s classroom.”
– Henry Ward Beecher
- She is always in a Race against time considering her many tasks and responsibilities. She has no time to think of how bad the day was because she has another task in waiting to attend to.
“She never quite leaves her children at home, even when she doesn’t take them along.”
– Margaret Culkin Banning
- When the stress and pressures gets to her, she has no choice but to Muffle her cries for the sake of the young ones. Yes! there are moments mothers cry behind closed doors but they have to quickly adjust because at the same time her child needs her and she has no option back to shelf her tears and let out a smile. Shedding tears doesn’t make her a bad mom either, it only means she is a normal mom.
“Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.”
— Barbara Kingsolver
- She can be easily Overwhelmed by the expectations of society and that might lead to her death. Let’s help them by cutting them some slack.
“By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular time off. They are the great vacation-less class.”
— Anne Morrow Lindbergh
- She can be a Mess. From forgetting her kids packed lunch at home, leaving her laptop at home, forgetting what day of the week it is, presenting documents to her boss with little crayon marks on it.
“There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one”
– Jill Churchill
Let’s go back to the second part of my earlier question, which of the 4 moms is the supermom? Don’t know what your answer was but my answer to this is all 4, they all find themselves in different situations but they all share something in common which is the love for their kids and the daily sacrifices they make to have a happy family.
Having Supermom abilities is not about having a perfect work-life balance or being a perfect person, it is about being a mom who is there for her family on a daily basis irrespective of the challenges she encounters. She sacrifices herself for the benefit of her family. Think about this the next time you are tempted to judge a mom because she didn’t do something right because a Mom on its own can be the hardest work and adding any judgement can easily trigger psychological issues.