Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Unachiveable Myth of The Super-Mom

One of the things my wife does a good job doing is telling other mom's that they're doing a good job.

We live in the land of toddlers, and so a lot of our mom exposure comes from toddler-mom-land as well.

It seems that we encounter a lot of stressed moms...whether they're stay at home moms, working moms, young moms or old moms, most moms seem to carry a burden that they're not doing enough, failing, or not rising to the occasion.

Yet, when it comes to a day like Mother's Day there is an overwhelming sense that most moms are doing something right...a sentiment that it's always shared with Father's Day.

The bar for mom's is set quite high - it's set there by a number of people, but primarily my mom's themselves.

I can come home from work and ask my wife about the day with the kids and she will often share a sentiment that the day lacked something. She might express that she felt like she lost in the world of discipline, or that there wasn't enough high quality encounters with each of our three children, or that something else wasn't quite right.

I usually listen and reassure her. Yet, when my wife is gone and I'm with the kids, I generally feel like the time was a great success. It's not that the day is actually better (it's probably far less productive, coordinated, and organized) but my attitude is different as a father. I reward myself for being there, and don't put the day through two dozen different subjective quality metrics to evaluate the day.

Comparatively, I can look at other dad's and pat myself on the back and reward myself simply for my presence. "I was there, and the kids were lucky for that," I tell myself.

Yet the bar for a woman does not seem to be set so low. Not on account of where other's have placed it, but where the mom has placed it.

The greatest mom's seem to give themselves a "C" score...barely passing, could do better.

Yet, the reality is, they're performing (generally) at an amazingly high level. Mom's make it happen, and do the very best they can, all the time, so unselfishly. My mom certainly did/does that, and my wife does as well. Yet, they are their own worst critic.

There is a myth of a super-mom that seems to pull the best of all moms into a bionic woman who does not exist, yet every (most) mom's are attempting to be.

This might be part of what make's mom's so great...but I hope mom's take time to hear the words "You're doing a great job" and believe it.