I hear this term a lot passed around amongst my friends, on blogs, when I'm out with all my children, and especially in Hollywood. I always cringe a bit because this seems like such a bad term for the nature of the work we have been asked by God to do. Most would classify the term "supermom" has one is crafty, creative, gets things done, beautiful, skinny, never loses her patience, constantly involved in her child or childrens' lives, always has a fabulous meal ready, never has an unclean home or at the least has a perfect cleaning schedule which rotates nicely on a weekly basis, throws fabulous birthday parties, has her prayers said by 6:00 AM because a hot breakfast must be ready by 7:00, has managed to produce well-mannered children who NEVER act out, etc., etc. Basically, ONE WHO CAN DO IT ALL.
The pressure it puts on young mothers is dangerous. I had the extreme privilege of talking with a woman a couple days ago who buried her only daughter recently. I sat sobbing listening to this woman describe her grief and her current state. Where is super mom now? Where does this term leave her? She has been dealt the biggest cross that could be asked of a mother. Her world is crumbling. I sat staring at her in her beautiful Pottery Barn decorated home and all of it means nothing. Where does the term super mom leave my good friend whose oldest child is severely autistic and she has three little ones to care for a top of the intensity of dealing with beautiful Regina and her needs. Sarah is a saint. SHE is a supermom. She has no time to plan elaborate parties. She has no time for anything because for the rest of her earthly existence God has asked her and her husband to be holy parents to Regina and love her so patiently everyday. I am always edified by them and their joy. Where does it leave my cousin Jamie whose son has seizures several times a day. They average a trip to the E.R. around 3-4 times A WEEK because he stops breathing. He is almost five years old and has NEVER slept even remotely through the night. He screams most nights all night because of his seizures. Jamie and Nick have three other children. They are saints!
Where does the term leave mothers who struggle simply with self-doubt in their ability to mother small children or several children? The very nature of motherhood is sacrificial...a true gift of our body, mind, and soul. We give ourselves to each child from the moment of conception, throughout pregnancy, through labor and delivery and then the true work begins until the end of our days. We will never be the same. I will constantly wonder if I'm nurturing them enough, praying for them enough, making them feel special and loved enough, showing them the right way enough, telling them they are wonderful enough, being patient enough. There are so many avenues to take in this beautiful yet often unguided journey. Never before have you loved someone so intensely. I have met several mothers whose personalities don't clash with one or more of the children. There is a constant battle EVERY day trying to maintain just plain sanity in dealing with a difficult temperament. Where does this term leave them?
Once we begin to portray this perfect "mom-ness", then the hard part begins of maintaining perfect "mom-ness." What will they think of me? What if my once current state of perfection begins to slip? Then we begin our own "little Hollywood" of destruction. You see it time and time again. Stars who start out wholesome with good intentions and within a short while we are reading about how their life went south. Why? Why do people in "superness" usually burn out and go south? The pressure to maintain our status or their status is overwhelming and they start to compromise. When the new star is coming up and they are fading away, they and we panic. If our bumps and bruises begin to be exposed, what will we do?
Only through my early motherhood failures have I been humbled. I've never understood mothers who look down upon other mothers. When I hear someone comment about so and so saying they are "overwhelmed" or "not confident," my immediate reaction is sympathy. I've been there. My goal now is to be positively real. I never want to portray life in such a way that our grass never needs cut, every family picture turns out just right because our kids smile when they are told, our kids never disobey, I'm never overwhelmed or even remotely tempted with impatience. I handle every situation with calmness and love. What will happen when my Calvary hits, when I'm being nailed to the cross?
The Blessed Mother is the ultimate supermom. She is what every woman should be. She was afraid. If you have ever seen how she was portrayed in the Passion of Christ, you will remember her fear, her tears, her sorrow. Then we will remember her getting strength to do what she has been asked to do. To stand at the foot of the cross and hold her Son. That is superness. Her beauty was outwardly, but more importantly she had a heart toward Our Lord. That alone is superness. Once again, I encourage all mothers to realize your true beauty lies only in your heart. You brought a soul into the world, brought them to the waters of baptism, and are trying every day to love this person through difficult temperments, trials, and tribulations! You are being a supermom! You are giving of your body with each baby to be subject to weight gain, sleepless nights, worry of health of the baby throughout pregnancy! You are a super person! The world fights LIFE with all its being! Nothing is more under attack! The very fact that you are open to LIFE puts you in a completely different category! Let us fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep our faith!
(For clarification sake, I spend a great amount of time pouring over Pottery Barn catalogs, decorating our home, planning birthday parties, reading blogs about what people do to their homes, etc., etc. BUT, I hope by no means it is a measure of what type of mother I am. I hope by the end of my life I have spent more time reflecting upon our Lady then on Pottery Barn and the efficiency of how well my home runs. That is the goal!:)