To Be, or Not to Be, a Super Mom
By Lisa Virtue
Should we call women “Super Mom”?
Is that title fair?
Is it putting undue pressure on women?
Is being a super mom even possible, or is it a myth?
We’re at the point in the story that the superhero feels defeated, is tired, and overwhelmed; she wants to give up. She may feel too much pressure from the expectations that come along with the title “superhero.” Like any superhero story, there is always a time when the hero feels like they don’t want to shoulder the responsibility of what feels like a most daunting, impossible task. They get worn out and feel like they don’t possess the skills or desire to continue the good fight. Or their situation and powers change. Mothers, as a collective, are in this situation right now.
Mamas are tired. Now, more than ever. They are stretched too thin. Due to the pandemic lockdown, the U.S. went backward regarding women’s progress in the workplace, particularly with working mothers. This has resulted in larger gaps in pay equity, job opportunities, and an unbalance with home responsibilities. This period of time is overwhelming, and it can feel impossible to get through each day sane, let alone thriving. Women lack confidence in their superpowers and the tasks set before them. It is difficult and overwhelming to rise up, advocate, and fight for themselves because they are busy keeping everyone and everything together in their households. They need a break. They need support.
Now, in the U.S., the number of women who have left the workforce due to the pandemic has been deemed a national emergency. The conversation has struck a chord for families across the United States, exposing several underlying issues and sparked a push for political policy on a national scale to support working mothers and families.
Now more than ever, our heroes need the support to keep going. By referring to moms as superheroes, it’s telling them: we see you, we believe in you, you are a force, and your efforts make a difference. Being a superhero mama is not a myth – these women are accomplishing the impossible and will beat the odds because women always do.
Just consider for a moment what would have happened in the story if Wonder Woman had given up on humanity and went back to Themyscira? If Superman had said “nope, can’t do it; I’m out” and never used his powers for good or fought against his kryptonite? You see, heroes need breaks, rejuvenation, and support too. They need reminders that they matter and their efforts are appreciated and necessary.
This is where we’re at with the motherhood story here in the U.S. Mamas, as a collective, are fighting against the odds and developing new superpowers many didn’t know they possessed. And most of their lives and situations look different than they did one year ago. Our society needs these heroes to be fueled and rejuvenated and acknowledged for their efforts. AND they need help!
Now, more than ever, society needs the superpowers of mothers. Children need to continue to see that women are resilient, and they need to see that society appreciates them and supports them and that no superhero can do it alone. It takes a village. We need their motherly ways to help heal our divided country.
So mamas, please, when your children call you “super mom,” tell them: “Superheroes need help too – they need rest, rejuvenation to keep going. They also have tough days, and you will see them cry. But that is okay! They work hard. They don’t give up on their loved ones, and they don’t give up on humanity. And, one day, when you are the superhero, make sure to take care of yourself first.”
When watching or reading inspiring stories with your children, talk about how the character(s) handled the problems they faced and where they got their strength and point out their challenges.
If you aren’t a superhero mama, how can you help? Don’t simply tell a mom you know that she is a superhero; take action to help her rejuvenate her powers. Give her time to rejuvenate. Send her an impactful gift that has products for rejuvenation and empowerment. Volunteer to watch the kids. Let her take that overdue bath. Clean her house. Make dinner for the family, or send a delivered meal. Just be there to listen. Vote yes on bills that support caregivers so that they can take care of the next generation of superheroes properly. Hire a mom.
Keep up the good fight, mamas! Don’t let these setbacks deter you or let you give up. Take care of yourself, ask for help, and advocate!
Need a boost? For your next movie night, watch a female superhero kick some butt and find her courage and energy to do so. While you are inspiring those around you, you need a little inspiration too.