Wednesday, April 07, 2010

A Tangent In Two Acts: Act Two, Super Mom

Act Two, Super Mom
I've groan to detest the term "Super Mom."
(Did you catch the purposeful misspelling of "grown," by the way?  Just checkin.')

First off (because Act One had a first off, I presume Act Two should be styled the same), what's wrong with adding "Super" to the word "Mom?"  Well, nothing, really.  Super is a fantastic word.  Super is a super way to turn something ordinary into something extraordinary.  Like, "Hey, you're super!" Or, "That soup you made sure is super!"  So, naturally, when someone refers to a woman as a "Super Mom," they're trying to say that the referential mom is entitled to the adjective "super" because they have done, or are, something extraordinary.

Except, being a Super Mom  is no longer about being extraordinary.  It's about being other-worldly heroic and impossibly perfect.

Second off, how did the Super Mom become so disgustingly unobtainable?  I think it has everything to do with classic female one-uppery and the magazines and the churches.  All the woman magazines and all the churches and all the kings men 'n horses have featured a Super Mom here and there.  It usually goes something like this:
Shelly Doesalot lives in Manchester, Oregon with her husband Russel and their five beautiful children. Shelly, a top-secret research specialist, has a PhD in microbiology from Yale (I chose Yale because Spouse's papa has a PhD from Yale and well, that, right there, should make me a Super Mom, yes?)  While pregnant with her first child Rangoon, Shelly spent most of her time learning how to repair the vehicles at the local dump.  This led to an honorary PhD from Popular Mechanics and a moonlighting career with VW.  Shelly is a former Olympic swimmer who has swam (swum) the English Channel eight times.  She learned to swim at the local Y.M.C.A. and feels it necessary to pay her talents forward.  On weekends, she gets the local fraidy cats to go off of the high dive -- usually by just throwing them in!  Shelly is currently training for her third Ironman triathlon and hopes to compete at the grand national pooh-bah Ironman in Hawaii.
Shelly didn't always have it easy.  Not only was she born on the wrong side of the tracks, she was born on the tracks.  Her parents used the heat from the tracks to keep her warm.  Shelly's father was a drunk who couldn't keep a job, but her mother Gretta, a Super Mom herself, was a teacher.  Gretta helped Sheila see the value of discipline and education by insisting Sheila play the piano, ukulele, and accordion, and study eight hours a night since kindergarten. 

In her spare time, Shelly gardens her holy-organic acre, milks her own cows and raises her own eggs.  Shelly enjoys a clean and tidy house and believes organization is her strong point.  So dedicated to organization is she, that Shelly has the next three years' calendars tattooed to her belly.  If one of her five children has forgotten the time and place for the next soccer practice, why, they just lift up her shirt and find out for themselves!

Shelly is patient, loving and attentive.  She never loses her temper and is always up for a rousing game of Risk.  When asked how she does it, she replies with, "I fit it all in by sleeping three hours a night.  I'm on this new special diet. I juice three pounds of carrots and mix it with the pound of coffee I drink each day.  This allows me to get by on only three hours of sleep.  Don't be misled, I have hard days.  But I always just read some Tolstoy or Buddha then smile and everything is just all-right!"

Just once, I'd like to hear one of those Super Mom's say, "You know what?  I lose it.  I have to put myself in time-out before my very own blood boils me into a dragon.  And all that crap I do?  It's a farce.  We have a staff of 30."

Third off (because there's a first and second off, I'll use a third off, even though it doesn't flow or fit), most women I know (and myself) are always thinking, "More, more, more.  I need to be doing more!"  Most women I know would read the above overachieving narrative and think, "I've never swam (swum) the English Channel!  And I cannot even change the oil in my car, let alone fix all the cars in an entire dump!"

Truth is, that aside from a known hand-full of drug addicts, every last mom I know, even the mom or two I don't like, is doing their very best and their very most.   How can they possibly do more?  Why do they need to do or be more?

They don't!
The woman and the man differ when it comes to this super parenting stuff.  After finishing another one of those "Super Mom" articles in a magazine the other day (doing some research, you know), I turned to Spouse and said, "Why don't you ever see an article about Super Dads?"

You know what Spouse said? "It's 'cause we're all super."  

You know what I think ladies?  It's time we start thinking we're all super too!  So get out there, throw on a cape, and you be super!

P.S. I want a Super Mom cape for Mother's day.  That will go nicely with the PMS Avenger cape that the sister has promised...


C.C. said...

Do I need to do more posts on junkie mothers that whore off their offspring? I will. Mothers in which you posted do not exist. Your Yahoos are damn lucky to have a spontaneous, kick-ass, fun, loving, awesome, mom who cares about them.

rabidrunner said...

Oh! Do I have you fooled! Cackle, cackle, cackle, cackle...

tom lindsey said...

Who do you imagine writing these super-mom articles? A husband who will at some point in the future want food and sex and someone to take care of the kids; these white lie fantasies keep us from killing and eating one another. Here is something to think about.

BTW-- Am I the only one that regularly receives home delivery of the Utah Valley Magazine?

rabidrunner said...

Where on earth do you find this stuff Tom? Where? This was my favorite:

"More women lose pride in their motherly duties and think less of themselves when their husbands take over the household chores"

Um. Yeah. My self esteem is lodged deeply in my diaper changing abilities...

And Yes. You are the only one that gets the home-delivered Utah Valley Fluff.

C.C. said...

I do make them do chores. So mean.

My co-worker won't let his wife do the dishes. Only because he has a preference to how tidy he keeps the kitchen. Nice eh? I could live with that

Jessica said...

This was my favorite:

"The study, published in the March edition Personal Relationships, also revealed that women’s self-competence (the degree to which they feel capable of accomplishing goals) diminishes when their husbands had more alone time with the kids. However, if the wives thought their husbands were less helpful, they would feel less inferior."

Um, I'm gonna blame this on Texas. Seriously, I'm concerned about this study. I'd like to look at their methodology because this can not be for real.

Thanks for the post. Awesome.

Makell said...

I will give you my golden super boots to go with your super cape for Mother's Day. I'm throwing them out -like trout. You'll look just like Wonder Woman!

Super Moms drive me bananas, bonkers, yonkers and crazy all at the same time. Believe me, I know a few.
Perfect = boring. Too perfect = nauseating.
Facade of perfectness = pure entertainment!

Quirky, eccentric, odd, relatable, funny, intelligent, kind, resourceful and spastic are all preferred qualities in my book.

Winder said...

Today I let The Menace watch 3+ hours of T.V. and eat French Fries from McDonald's. How's that for Super Mom type achievements?

rabidrunner said...

Makell, do you really have golden super boots? Oh that would rock. I want golden super boots. You're right about the facade of perfectness=pure entertainment. It's the truth. Incidentally, any time someone calls me odd or spastic (happens quite a bit actually), I take it as a compliment.

Winder, you be careful what you admit. Someone might pull your teaching certificate. And speaking of TV, it's time we expose the Menace to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

rookie cookie said...

I don't know what all you imbeciles are talking about. I am a Super Mom myself. Don't be jealous.

I am quite pregnant and the other day I cleaned my bathroom and mopped the kitchen floor. And my friend was genuinely impressed. Like I "must be nesting" to have cleaned. No friend, I just have a really messy family. So of course, I was judging her. She is so the opposite of super. She is a Sluggish Mom.