I’d like to share a little story. One day I was at an event for one of my children. I was chatting with a lovely woman who I am friends with. Up walks another woman whom I do not know but my friend does. My friend proceeds to introduce me: “Cathy, let me introduce you to my friend Jennifer. She is the most amazing Supermom! She does all kinds of great stuff, and she homeschools her kids, and she is just awesome at everything!”
My friend is so sweet! She is an incredibly intelligent, driven, successful woman and mother but she talks me up like I am the greatest thing out there. I really do appreciate her high opinion of me but there is just one problem: If you were Cathy, would you want to be friends with me?
I wouldn’t! Not after that glowing review!
I would definitely not want to be too near this pinnacle of fabulouseness for fear of suffering by comparison. Who can live up to that description?! So what did I say?
Of course I laughed it off and told them both that my freind was highly exaggerating my abilities but I continued to think about the incident for quite a long time afterwards. I think it really bothered me that this happened because it is a classic example of how we women, mothers especially, separate ourselves from others by comparisons and expectations. In our culture the last thing mamas need is more division! We don’t need another heroine setting unattainable goals and standards. We need friends by our sides who will show us their weaknesses and failures. Friends that will model compassion, not comparison.
Of course that is exactly the problem isn’t it? Comparing. If we all stop comparing and start appreciating each other then suddenly the world seems less intimidating and we all seem a bit nicer to each other.
There are of course a million posts out there about SuperMom and how she cripples other mamas from appreciating themselves and each other. There are rants and raves galore and yet we still seem to do it.
One of my favorites is one I saw on BabyCenter recently. You can read the whole thing here but one of my favorite parts is:
“She can fold fitted sheets into a perfect square and iron her husband’s shirts while using her thigh master, plucking her eyebrows and doing Kegel exercises. When she’s done, she roasts the leg of lamb she remembered to pull out of the freezer that morning, whips up an amazing mint sauce and garlic mashed potatoes to go with it, all the while reading Fairy Tales to her children in French.”
How great is this woman’s fabulous imagination?
The funny thing is, I don’t think this is something really new – she just has a newer name.
My mother calls this ideal persona “Soccer Mom”. Others might call her “Susie Homemaker”. Or even the ever-present “Joneses”. What I’m saying is that this comparison gig is nothing new and the answer to this stressful experience is still:
What I can do is probably not what you can do. I could probably not do what you do either. Then again, we might just be able to handle more than we think with no great shakes. But it doesn’t really matter. I’m good at things, my friends are good at other things, and that makes life just great. So my little darlings can have the most awesome birthday cake if I rely on my friend’s amazing cake decorating skills and that leaves me to bake my family’s bread with my eyes closed because that’s just what I’m good at and like to do.
Isn’t this a wonderful world?! So kick that SuperMom to the curb and enjoy what other mamas can do. Enjoy even more what you can do. You are a super great, super cool, super talented mom. Or maybe you are just super regular like the rest of us, but you love your kids a super bunch and they love you right back, no matter what. 🙂
Peace and health,