It was the upcoming Mother's Day which prompted the theme of this blog, but to be honest it annoys me at any time of the year, not just this particular day!
I've have mixed feelings about Mother's Day anyway after our years of fostering, but that's another story..
This issue is based on something which I'm seeing which seems harmless or even a nice compliment, but is actually anything but helpful.
So what annoys me so much?
What's this terrible thing you could call me?
What's so bad about that? I hear you ask.
For me this well intended word has stopped being an uplifting and become loaded with a weight of expectation. I'm increasingly seeing mums just expected to be super all the time and its leaving us on our knees.
Great mums who are loving and dedicated and who accomplish so much. Yet, however much they do there's always more and supermum has started to become the expectation.
Ask any stay at home mum about the response they get from some people for not being out at work or the pressure to keep the house looking perfect, even if they gave up work to be with their children and not to dust!
Ask any part time working mum about constantly feeling torn and the endless juggle.
Ask and full time working mum about the guilt and the pressure and the exhaustion.
Ask the mum of the child with additional needs who has a huge hidden workload.just to keep everyone's head above water.
Look at the last two years - who has born the brunt of adapting and flexing in family life?
I'm not saying dads haven't felt the fall out, only that I increasingly see the negative impact of this "supermum" pressure and I don't currently see many dad's feeling the same pressure from "superdad".
(To the dads reading this I'd love to know how this feels for you). The expectation that mums can take on more and more in our overstretched lives and still, somehow come up with the goods seems to prevail.
And it's taking its toll.
Behind supermum I'm seeing women who are completely exhausted all the time.
Women who feel ashamed because their house looks like a whirlwind just passed through it rather than an Instagram oasis.
Women whose wellbeing constantly drops to the bottom of the pile in the midst of everyone else's needs.
Women constantly labouring under the burden of guilt or resentment about some area they've had to compromise in order to accomplish this.
I'd love to tell you that I have this area nailed, but I'm a work in progress on this one. I get how intense all the feelings which come with these pressures can be.
This supermum pressure stops mums valuing all they do and instead sets a relentlessly high standard with a dose of unhelpful judgement for those brave enough to accept help..
So if "supermum" is out what can I say and do?
For me, the starting point isn't the offer of help or advice on what I should drop. Trust me most mums think about this a lot!
The thing I really want to see more of is recognition that this load is big and heavy - not just practically, but the mental and emotion load. Sometimes can feel completely overwhelming "I can see you've got a lot on your plate" and a bit of grace when things get forgotten goes way further than a glib "you're supermum" comment.
Most of all, recognising that raising small humans is an important job in so many ways and not one which can just be squeezed into the gaps between everything else which needs doing.
It takes time, energy and huge amounts of remembering where the hell everything is! When that work load and it's importance is acknowledged then I feel truly valued in a way in which "supermum" can't even touch.
Most mums don't need parenthood to be glamourous or easy. They can even live without extra flowers and chocolate (although that's not to say they're not welcome), but they do want all the drudge and challenges which come with raising the next generation to be valued - properly valued and seen, because parenthood can be costly. In truth we're all just trying our best and muddling through in one of the most significant, influential jobs we'll ever have and a bit of understanding really helps..
So here's a reminder that it is hard, huge and sometimes a bit... ok a lot overwhelming. Whether all that you do is seen or unseen by those around you the work you do is important and valuable and an investment in the next generation.
Wishing you a mother's day where you feel truly valued and seen.
PS If you know the supermum pressure isn't helping you right now and you need some support as you work out how to make changes then book a chat to find out how Optimum Parent & Family Coaching Services can help.
Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/users/erikawittlieb-427626/