Have you ever been called a supermom? Do you wish you were a supermom? You may have supermom syndrome.
- Hiding what’s not so super
Being a supermom can mean hiding the ways that we’re not so super or hiding the things that aren’t so super in our life. Supermom syndrome creates a label of supermom and a super persona that we feel we have to live up to. When we have to live up to that unattainable persona in can create a dissonance in which we feel we have to hide the more vulnerable parts of ourselves or our lives.When you see someone else and think she’s a supermom it might mean she’s hiding the ways she’s not so great. Often under that facade of superhero we’re actually hiding a sense of being unworthy, of not being good enough, of fear that we’ll be found out (for more on that fear checkout my podcast all about imposter syndrome in parenting).Super capes might cover up human stress, but they cannot solve them.Instead choose to be proudly human. Wear your vulnerabilities on your sleeve or at least try not to cover them up and hide them. It is 100 percent okay to own your humanness. Transparency and authenticity are what connect us, not trying to make it seem like we have it all figured out.
- Forgetting what it took
Being a supermom doesn’t acknowledge what it takes to get there. Did the areas of your life that you are rocking happen overnight? I’m guessing it took effort on your part to get to the place you are at where you feel like you are rocking it. When you label someone else as a supermom you also tend to think she’s lucky or things just workout for her. Doing so discounts all of the things she has done to get the pieces in place to be rocking that aspect of her life.Rather than fall into supermom syndrome we should break it down instead. Apply growth mindset to figuring out what steps that mother took to get to where it appears as though she is rocking this season of her life. What does it take for a parent to enjoy parenting and parent from a loving place? What does it take to have a great career and home they love? If you simply label her a supermom it assumes getting there was easy.Instead, take a peek under the perceived cape. What you will most likely see is an invisible network that has built her up to this place and allows her to stay there, thrive, and grow. Things like:
Maybe she has a whole list of resources that make it seem like she can do it all but in fact are helping her to do it all together. No achievement in life is ever built up by one person alone.Whenever you see a story of success from the outside, you can be sure that there was a very long series of events and circumstances, people, places, networks, and resources that allowed that person to reach that level of success. In addition, none of us start from the same starting point. We all have different privileges and different challenges along the journey.We all come from different places. Our parents all gave us different skills and different challenges, that we have to either overcome or that we get to leverage. We all have different journeys.It’s often the no’s in life, the difficult parts, that are the catalysts for our greatest strengths and growth.
- Alienating others
Being a superhero is something we feel intimidated by. First of all, people feel like they can’t help you because you’ve got it all. Your partner may feel like he or she can never do anything right or cannot help you in any way and therefore just stop offering to help. Your child might feel like there is nothing she can contribute. Or, if she does try she may think it isn’t perfect enough compared to her supermom and back away from helping anymore.Your family members may be concerned about your health and worry that you are going to eventually burn out (if you or someone you know is burnt out checkout my podcast episode on how to avoid parental burnout).Then what happens when you do need help? Everyone has backed away because you’re supermom and therefore don’t need help. Now when you really do need help you have no support in place.When we say I’ve got this, I can do it all, or I can only trust myself (feel like you can’t trust anyone with your kids? – checkout my podcast episode on that here) you alienate others. They feel unhelpful, inadequate, intimidated, alienated, and eventually they’ll give up trying to be of service to us. This is a big downfall of supermom syndrome because helping each other and being of service to each other is how we find meaning within our relationships.
- Some mothers aren’t super?
Being a supermom suggests that there are mothers who are not super. Saying some mothers are supermoms implies there are others who are not. Doing so dishonors struggle. It doesn’t recognize that there are simply many different ways of living, excelling and succeeding.When we say that some people are supermoms or should get the “mom of the year award,” we are suggesting that this is a game. And in this game of parenting there are therefore winners and losers. The truth however is that we all win when everyone feels comfortable in their own skin. We all win, not by categorizing each other and ourselves but by suggesting that there are many different ways of being a good person and living a good life.Let’s instead realize that we’re all unique and we’re all doing the best we can with what we have. If someone calls you a supermom, don’t dismiss their compliment but instead just add a humanizing touch like we’re all doing the best we can.
- What does it teach your children?
Your kids don’t need a supermom. Children cannot learn from a supermom. With the facade of super mom your kids aren’t allowed to see what it’s like to be human. Your children need a real model, not someone who’s fake and eventually is going to crack under the pressure because there is no such thing as a supermom.We all struggle and we all have ups and downs. Instead, drop your supermom syndrome and choose to show your children what it means to overcome struggle. If you hide your struggles and your imperfections you rob your children of deep modeling. Deep modeling allows your children to see what’s going on behind the scenes. Instead of saying, “I’m fine” you can explain what’s really going on. “This is really challenging for me. I feel very inadequate right now. Here’s my plan of action as to how I’m going to overcome this. Here is how I’m going to be brave.”Rather than being a supermom for your child, how about being a brave one. Not being a supermom doesn’t mean you’re not an excellent, wonderful, good, and good enough mother. It just means you don’t have to have a superpower. You can just be human.
I would love to hear from you! Do you struggle with supermom syndrome? Do you label others as supermom or strive to be one? Are you willing to let it go? Please leave your comments below or over in our (free & awesome) FB community Love Parenting with Avital.
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