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Articles Home-&-Family Parenting

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What is it in moms that makes us feel we have to take on the SuperMom identity? What makes us put on that cape?

If you talk to working mothers that you know, or even examine your own experiences, falling into the SuperMom trap is common. We all know SuperMom: faster than the microwave, more powerful than steel wool, able to fold laundry in a single bound. SuperMoms' scare away the monsters under the bed, creates wonderful family meals, as she works, runs a business, or fosters a career either outside or inside the home.

I have tried to be SuperMom, but the cape kept getting caught under the wheels of my office chair, it did not take long to realize that persona was not for me. I was not going to fit into the kind of mother or woman "they" thought I should be. Now, when I say "they," I am talking about, television, movies, the experts, the writers, parents, relatives, friends, and the neighbor next door, there is this exaggerated set of standards that has been generated that women hold themselves to, so they put on the cape to try to live up to everyone's expectations.

Being a wife and mother are important jobs; we are the ones that not only carry sometimes the majority of the home and childcare responsibilities, but also the majority of the "emotional labor." The hugs of reassurance, the kisses that make the hurts better. We are the ones that cry at night after the children go to bed because our little ones had to learn one of life's lessons the hard way. We are the nurturers, we hold those little hands throughout their lives, no matter how big they are, we always see those tiny hands in our own. No mother takes that responsibility lightly. It is our job to provide our children with emotional sustenance, and so we put on the cape to give our children everything we can, and everything we are.

We forget that we are women: individuals; we struggle with the duality of our work selves and mommy selves as the two selves collide in conflict again and again. As guilt starts to overwhelm us for wanting something for ourselves, we are tempted to give in to be Supermom and leave a huge part of ourselves behind. We ignore our own needs because we were taught to give to others continuously and keep nothing for ourselves. We are haunted by the images we see on TV, in movies, maybe even the examples we saw in our lives of what a mom is suppose to be. These images have a hold on us, as a whisper in our head that feeds on the very concept of ourselves. We put the cape on and assume the role to try to make peace with the inner conflict.

Like the famous man of steel, we take on a cover identity, one that is not real, because we sacrifice ourselves for mommy hood and for careers. We get lost in conference calls, paperwork, school plays and soccer practices. We forget about ourselves as we stay up into the early hours finishing work, or sewing that Halloween costume that was not done even though we were on the go non-stop all day. Therefore, we put on the cape, just to maintain.

By understanding what makes us buy into the illusion that the way to happiness is through being SuperMom, then maybe we can start to understand why we neglect who we are and where we want our lives to go. The understanding will reveal clarity, a hope, and a desire to reclaim ourselves, our real selves and not just the mild manner identity that we created. It takes a desire to reconnect with our inner selves, a willingness to abandon the out dated expectations and the commitment to stop trying to fit into a unrealistic mold.

You do not need to be someone you are not. Leave behind the thinking that life is an either or proposition. When we realize we can merge our duality back into one, healthy identity, then and only then can we take off the cape and let our true selves live and find the life we deserve.
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