Who invented the word supermom anyway?

I keep seeing and reading a lot of blog posts about the term supermom lately. Refreshingly, what I am reading the most about is confessions from mothers who are NOT self-proclaimed supermoms. Thank you mom’s of the world for disclosing the real and imperfect you, being honest about failures, and laughing at yourselves on the days where nothing, absolutely nothing, works out the way you planned. Thank you ladies, because I am not a supermom either, and you have given me hope. Hope that no one is a supermom. Not me, not you, not the mom sitting next to you.

I don’t know when or why this term became so popular and such a sought out goal, because being a supermom is an unachievable, pressure-ridden goal, that quite frankly, has become destructive to many mom’s confidence in raising their kids. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines supermom as, “an exemplary mother; also : a woman who performs the traditional duties of housekeeping and child-rearing while also having a full-time job.” Yes, believe it or not it’s in the mother freakin’ dictionary. Barf. And not only do working mother’s feel the supermom pressure, stay at home moms feel it, too.

Five minutes after I put on a clean shirt.

Speaking of barf.

So what are we going to do about this ladies? I say we begin by rewriting the definition of the word supermom.

We can start by lowering our standards of the word supermom.  We can keep it simple and humorous. For example, a supermom is someone who loves her children. A supermom is someone who gets at least one leg shaved in the shower before someone calls out due to a fall off the couch after you’ve told him “We don’t jump on the couch in our house,” for the umpteenth time, and then has to run out into the living room dripping wet to wipe off tears and “kiss it better.” A supermom is someone who does her best day after day after day. A supermom is someone who forgets to fill out paperwork for the fifth day in a row, but when she finally gets it done gives herself a pat on the back because she can now check it off her endless to-do list. A supermom is a someone who peeks at her children every night before bed and lovingly admires their angelic faces after a day of tantrums and knowing she might get woken up with an “I need you” at any point in the night. A supermom is someone who only has to reheat her coffee once in the morning because she’s finally gotten the last mouth wiped and she can now simultaneously drink her coffee while cleaning up the breakfast dishes.

Sure you can and should rejoice on the days when your kids hands and feet are clean for more than 10 minutes, when you’ve exercised first thing in the morning, when you’ve had a shower before 10 p.m. at night, when your hair looks nice, or when your child actually listens to you in public and you feel like all your dreams have come true – we all like to feel good about ourselves and our parenting skills. So yes, you should feel success when your child brings home an A, kicks the winning goal, or when you dream up a new craft. But it’s ok if you are lacking in one area or the other. Surround yourselves by other mom’s who aren’t afraid to share their imperfections either

I’ll start. I am the mom who feels accomplished if I get the dishwasher unloaded before it’s time to open canned soup for dinner because I’m tired of cooking. I am the mom who drives around town with a sticky note taped to my steering wheel so I won’t forget to buy milk on the way home, but forget it anyway. I am the mom who has armpit stains on more shirts than I’d like to admit. I am the mom who *attempts* to get up at 6 a.m. three days a week to run for 25 minutes just so I can have some alone time. I am the mom who had to give up breastfeeding because I had postpartum psychosis. I am the mom who walks the dog  braless with my baby on my hip, chasing my two-year-old on the occasion my husband is out-of-town because I am the only one who can do it that day. I am the mom who takes a nap in the afternoon while my kids are napping instead of doing laundry. I am the mom who occasionally lets her baby sleep in her car seat just so I can “get a few things done” instead of waking her up and transporting her to crib out of fear of waking her up and dealing with a cranky baby. I am the mom who feels satisfied by getting my hair washed, “scrunching” it, then running out the door with a not-straight-yet-not-curly-but-messy-frizzy-sort-of-look just so I don’t have to wear a pony tail for the third day in a row. I am the mom with the small house full of mismatched patterns, colors, memorabilia, pictures, child artwork, and toys filling every inch. I am the mom whose kids have never had their own closets.

I'd say it's time to take a nap!

I’d say it’s time to take a nap!

The point is it’s ok to make these confessions, and it’s nice to see so many women fighting back against the supermom pressure by disclosing their own imperfections instead of straining to uphold an unrealistic facade. So ladies let’s join forces and rewrite the definition of supermom. Let’s rid ourselves of negative feelings that we do not measure up and encourage a friend who is beating herself up because her kids aren’t as disciplined as someone else’s or her kid isn’t athletic as someone else’s or her countertops are never clean or she isn’t creative or she lets her kids watch TV in the afternoon just so she can sit in the recliner in the other room and eat a leftover slice of pizza without interruption. And for the love of God, let’s laugh at these imperfections! I have found a great group of Mommy friends. We share and we listen and we disclose war stories and we encourage and we pull back the curtains of our imperfect worlds and we love each other’s children, but I know there are many women out there who could use this type of cushion against the parenting challenges and always-put-together ideals we all face. Find those non-supermom women and reach out to those in need.

In our jammies. Wrapped in a Christmas blanket. In September.

In our jammies. Wrapped in a Christmas blanket. In September.

Ladies, let’s love ourselves and our kids and each other in the best way that we know how. Aibileen (Viola Davis) exemplifies love with two-year-old Mae Mobley (Emma Henry) in Kathryn Stockett’s The Help by telling her: “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” What great ideals to teach a young girl. If I could turn it around and talk to non-supermoms of the world, I would say: “You is amazing. You is self-sacrificing . You is doing just fine.” Because let me tell you something else – if you love your children and are trying your damnedest to bring them up with good values and moral integrity, then you are kicking ass.

Now I am curious – what makes you a “supermom” in a beautifully imperfect way? I’d love to hear from you!

Please share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter if you are not the Merriam-Webster’s definition of supermom.

About britta326

blogger, picture-taker, diaper-changer, runner

6 thoughts on “Who invented the word supermom anyway?

  1. Sure makes me feel most normal as I lay under a blanket on the couch watching Fried Green Tomatoes and thinking of whether to give the kids Mac-n-cheese for supper or go get Jap! Love your realization that we should never strive to be an unrealistic version of a super mom… I just need to be a plain old mom… Nothing more. ❤

  2. I am also the mom who lets her baby sleep in the car seat instead of waking her. I am the mom who goes to work in wrinkly clothes because the dryer didn’t get the wrinkles out and there’s no time to iron. I’m the mom who let her kids keep a pacifier until age 3 because it bought me peace and quiet. I aloow my babies to sleep w me despite the professional advice and I love every minute of snuggling with them!
    Could go on forever!

    • These are all great “supermom” moments!! After writing this post I kept think of more “I am the mom who…” moments. But in the end, all of those quirky, imperfect, unique mother traits are funny and great. And I agree, I love every moment of snuggling, too!

  3. Pingback: First of the year | Britta's Banter

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