Why Yes, I Am Super Mom (and So Are You)

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Perhaps it's because I have three pretty awesome kids that I haven't managed to totally screw up yet. Or perhaps it's because I often look frazzled and harried and desperate for positive reinforcement. Whatever the reason, my kind-hearted friends and family members frequently compliment my various mom-related activities and abilities. And, God love 'em, some even toss around the loaded term "SuperMom."

And my response, always, is to promptly laugh in their faces before spewing out a mile-long list of my weaknesses and failures as a mother, teacher, homemaker, and wife.

It's not false modesty. My house is truly a disaster more often than not, despite my having read every organizational book on the planet. I start too many projects I don't finish. I've paid enough money in overdue library fines to send at least one of my kids to college. I finally just got around to teaching my 7-year-old to tie her shoes. I've not been able to get a single one of my moppets potty trained before the age of three. The only reason I can type this right now is because I put a Shaun the Sheep video on for my toddler, rather than letting him empty yet another one of my tape dispensers.

So . . . No, I always respond. I am anything but a SuperMom.

Then yesterday, as I was cleaning out a closet, I came across this poster my uber-talented friend Geoff drew me for my 17th birthday.

That's me. Annie G. Superheroine! The pre-kids super me. Pretty impressive, right? As I was admiring my friend's artistic abilities, I thought, "Wow, Geoff was rather generous with my . . . uh . . . bosoms. But it's kind of fitting, really. It's like a foreshadowing of my real superpower."

And that's when it hit me. I do have superpowers. Real, honest-to-goodness, mom superpowers. And it's not just my amazing A-cup breastfeeding abilities. Among other things, I make a mean, mean vegetable soup from scratch. I can kiss boo-boos and make owies magically disappear. I've taught my children to read and write, to say please and thank you, and to (usually) follow the Golden Rule. I manage to work from home, educate my kids, clothe and feed my family, keep my marriage in tact, and even throw my musings about motherhood up on the Internet a couple of times a week. Do my faults and weaknesses really negate those things?

No. They do not.

I think it's time I embrace the fact that maybe, perhaps, there's at least a slight chance that I just might be a SuperMom.

Here's how I figure it. Up until yesterday, my definition of a SuperMom would have been a woman who embodied the following qualities: (Take a deep breath -- the list is long.)

  • has more than one child (with the number of children directly proportional to her degree of "superness")
  • plans meals and cooks them from scratch (preferably with organic ingredients grown in her own garden)
  • cheerfully cooks and bakes with her kids (again, with organic ingredients from her own garden)
  • cheerfully helps her kids with their schoolwork
  • attends all of her kids' sporting, music, and miscellaneous events
  • keeps a perfectly clean and organized house
  • never forgets her cloth grocery bags when she goes to the store
  • brings creative snacks to parties
  • volunteers at her kids' schools or homeschools her kids (again, cheerfully)
  • volunteers in her religious community, homeless shelters, animal shelters, food pantries, and/or nursing homes
  • exercises six days a week
  • reads quality literature, ideally as part of a cool book club
  • prescreens all of her kids' viewing and reading material
  • organizes family game nights
  • keeps up with her friends
  • throws fantastic kids' birthday parties
  • keeps elaborate scrapbooks for each kid
  • spends special one-on-one time with each child every week
  • calmly solves all behavioral issues with natural and logical consequences
  • writes in a gratitude journal
  • does her hair and make-up every day
  • wears matching bras and underwear
  • has regular date nights with her spouse
  • gets intimate with her spouse at least three times a week
  • works some kind of paying job, either part or full-time, in or out of the house
  • somehow manages to find time to follow her passions and nurture her own spirit

I'm sure I'm missing some things. This list may seem over the top, but these are things moms are told time and again that we should strive for. And so the picture of SuperMom is painted. Doing it all and doing it well. Professional, parental, and domestic perfection, with an organic garden thrown in for good measure. That's a SuperMom, right? Or at least something close to it? 

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