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Supermom Redux

September 25, 2011

If a more offensive adjective for a mom exists, I am not sure what it is.  According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the term “supermom” was first used in 1974 and is defined as:

“an exemplary mother; also : a woman who performs the traditional duties of housekeeping and child-rearing while also having a full-time job”

By definition, in order for a mother to be “super” she must not only be “exemplary” (a/k/a representing the “best of its kind”) as a mother but perform all the traditional home duties while having a full-time job.  So, essentially, stay-at-home mom’s have been made to feel that they are not “super” because they do not work and working mom’s are made to feel that in order to be “super” they must always be the perfect mom as well as doing all the house work and be as successful as Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. Of course it’s seriously debatable if Meryl Streep’s character was a good mom in that movie but by god she was successful in her career.

The worst part is that many believe it is impossible to be an exemplary mom if you are not staying at home and many bosses (note: I am not one of them), feel it is impossible to be successful, or even a good employee, if you are also a mom without a stay at home dad!  Thus, at the end of the day, according to today’s society it is impossible to truly be a supermom yet all women are expected to aspire to this “holy grail” of motherhood.  We thought that the women’s liberation movement would help free women from societal expectations yet we (women) trapped ourselves into one that is even worse than when the expectation was just to stay at home raise kids.  We did not give anything up, we acquired even more responsibilities and embraced them as a challenge…..when will we learn?

I say it is time to abandon this adjective and instead just be “moms” doing the best that we can and admit that we will never be perfect.  It’s not easy but we must try so we do not teach our daughters that this is what they must aspire to or our sons that this is what they should expect from their wives.

Instead, I would like to petition that Merriam-Webster  include the words “Mom” and “Dad” to the definition of the word “super.” The reality is, that the doll in this post is as close to a “supermom” as anyone will get.  Anyone else with me?

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