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The "Super-Mommy" Myth

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You're such a super mom. I really don't know how you are able to work on this project, write a blog, and be a full time parent all at the same time.

I copy pasted this sentence from an email sent by a very good friend.

I love that this friends actually thinks I'm a super-mom, even if it's because she hasn't realized the truth yet...the truth that I'm an imposter.

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But the imposter syndrome, you see, isn't just for those who are or once were climbing the professional ladder. Its hand reaches into motherhood as well.

So while my initial reaction to my friend's comment was pride, my gut instinct was that I had simply fooled her and everyone else I knew.

I began to type a response:

"I manage to be 'super-mom' by not being such a good mom.

I'm always stressed, my oldest constantly uses the iPad, I forget to give my youngest her vitamins at least once a week. I let my toddler eat chips and pizza, and I don't take my baby to yoga or long walks like I did with my first."

I realized when I wrote those things down how silly they sounded. But even if they didn't make me such a bad mom, they were enough to shake my confidence and make me question the kind of mother I am.

Because like most mothers, I have this idea in my head of what a super mom is:

Myth: Super mom is beautiful and in shape, she dresses up and always does her hair, she wears heels and always has make up on. Simply put, she looks perfect.

Fact: Your body nurtured another soul for 9 months, it stretched and softened and grew and yoga pants are what comfort you. Your flabby arms lifted a toddler out of a bad dream, your messy hair caught your crying baby's tears, and your sneaker-clad feet ran to snatch your child before falling off the swings. YOU ARE SUPER MOM

Myth: Super mom works at a prestigious firm but hand bakes her children's snacks. She's a stay-at-home mom but runs her own little business on the side. Simply put, she can do it all.

Fact: You work to make ends meet or you work to give your children a role model. You stay at home because you couldn't afford childcare, because one of your children is sick, or because spending time with your kids is what gives you joy and purpose. You hand bake or your store buy, you run a business or you run your home. YOU ARE SUPER MOM.

Myth: Super mom breastfeeds, she cooks all her kids meals - organic and locally sourced. She focuses 100% of her energy on her children, her kids sleep through the night since the day they were born, and they are disciplined and well-behaved. Simply put, she does everything right.

Fact: You breast-fed or you formula fed - you kids never went without. You give more than you possible can yet suspect it's not enough. Your kids eat what you cook and sometimes they don't, sometimes they thank you and sometimes they don't, but you get up and do it all over again. Some nights they sleep through and other nights the only thing that makes a bad dream go away is you. They throw tantrums because they are learning and growing and know despite it all they are loved unconditionally...by you. YOU ARE SUPER MOM.

Myth: Super mom is always happy, she's never stressed, she never yells. She has the perfect relationship with her husband and she has a spotless house. Simply put, she has everything.

Fact: You're tired from years of waking up to tend to someone's needs. You're stressed from concern for your family. You are a single mom or a married mom. Your house may be tidy or it may be messy, but it's filled with love. YOU ARE SUPERMOM

Supermom doesn't exist.

She's none of us, and all of us, at the same time.

She's perfect because of her imperfections.

So I try to remember, whatever choices we make as mothers, something will have to give.

But as long as we get up each day, as long as we mother those beautiful souls we brought into this world, as long as we give our best - WE ARE ALL SUPERMOM.