Super Mom: Is this label making us magnificent or weighing us down with worry?
By Yasmin Shiraz
I recently accompanied my seven-year old daughter and her Brownie troop on an activity. As I arrived at her school to pick up the girls, a teacher patted me on the back and said, "You're being the chaperone. That's great. You're a super mom." I gently nodded my head and smiled, but silently I wondered why helping out with my daughter's group qualified me for Super Mom status. Had I not volunteered would I have been a less-than-super mom?
I began to research and look up the many times that women are labeled as "super moms" and I wondered if this label is helping us at all. If you can cook dinner, help with homework and take your kids to soccer practice, you are called "super." But what happens if your infant gets sick and everybody has to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, you can't help with the homework because you don't understand it and the car breaks down on the way to practice? Are you somehow any less "super"? I don't think so.
As a sociologist I have often questioned labels and their power. The media's embrace of the "Super" label brings to question all of the times when as a mom we're having days that aren't so super. On those lackluster days we begin to feel that we're not doing enough. We start to think that we could have or should have done more to prevent any situation that is happening around us. Perhaps, if we wouldn't have let Jessica kiss the baby, the baby wouldn't be sick. Perhaps, if we would have studied harder in Mr. Jones' high school math class, we'd be able to explain geometry to our 9th grader. Perhaps if we would have driven to the mall less, the tires wouldn't have gone flat on the way to soccer practice. This is the problem with labels. The minute that we begin to accept them, we have to accept how we feel when situations happen beyond our control.
I enjoy being able to help my daughter with extra-curricular activities but I don't like feeling that I'm inadequate if I cannot assist her on any particular day. I encourage all moms to make the most balanced meals that they can for their families, but I don't want any mom to feel bad on the day that the family eats fast food. The reality is: Moms have so much to do and so little time, resources, and energy by which to complete all of the tasks. It is a fact. When I see moms who are worrying that they haven't done enough for their families and yet I know that they've put forth Herculean efforts every single day of the year, it truly makes me sad. Most women are terrific and awesome especially when it comes to their families. Whether or not you embrace the "Super Mom" label or not doesn't mean that you're not being the best mom that you can be. Being a magnificent mother is about doing all that you can with all that you have. In my opinion, that's the only thing that matters.
Key points to remember in your journey as a mother:
- Giving the best of you is the most important thing that you can offer.
- You are one person. Though you're good enough to be cloned, the government isn't going to allow it any time soon.
- If you wear yourself down, you will not have the strength to assist anyone.
- Have a support system of other mothers for the tough days that lie ahead. You'll need them as much as they need you.
- You are not alone. Many moms are going through the same thing.
- Know that your kids love you and believe in what you're trying to do. (Even when they're whining!)
About the author: Yasmin Shiraz is an empowerment speaker, entertainment journalist, entrepreneur, and author. A graduate of Hampton University and Morehead State University, she uses her sociology training to empower young people through her writings and workshops. For many years she owned the leading urban entertainment magazine on college campuses, Mad Rhythms, which reached over four million students. She currently runs her own marketing and management firm, The Signals Agency, which specializes in entertainment marketing and youth event programming. Yasmin resides in the suburbs of Washington, DC. Yasmin is also the author of The Blueprint for My Girls: How To Build a Life Full of Courage, Determination & Self-Love. You can visit her website at www.yasminshiraz.net. Read our guest interview with Yasmin Shiraz!
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