Who Wants to be a Super Mom?

There is a Jewish expression that says: “God could not be there all of the time; therefore he created mothers.” Oy. I blame the Talmudic scholars for creating the original Super Mom and all of the meshugas that goes along with it.

 

Today’s moms have it easier than our own moms in so many ways. Yet moms today seem so much more overwhelmed. Whatever decision we make we’re often left feeling guilty or conflicted. With a smorgasborg of choices available to us, motherhood has become much more complicated. Our mothers had fewer options, lower expectations and often a simpler life. For the most part, they had children in their 20s and then moved into their careers, or didn’t. They did things serially; we do them simultaneously with cell phones ringing, and the blue light of the BlackBerry beckoning. Technology has created a 24/7 work week with longer hours and no boundaries. No wonder why it just feels harder than it used to. It is.

 

My friend Angela, coincidentally a rabbi, told me that was struggling with how to balance her nutty schedule and care for her two small boys. She said that she felt like a failure because she clearly couldn’t juggle it all as effortlessly as her own mom had done. Angela’s mom apparently not only raised three children but taught English, founded the Korean women’s association, the Korean library and a Korean school in Seattle. She did all of that AND managed to be home by 5:30 pm and cook massive six-course Korean dinners each night. Angela could barely get the chicken nuggets in the toaster on time.

 

Most of us don’t want to become our mothers, but we can’t escape their influence. We see ourselves through the prism of our own mother’s experiences and it sweeps into every corner of our lives from career and family to a sense of self worth and identity.

 

On every birthday since I can remember, my mother has recited the dramatic story of my birth. As the story goes, after giving herself a pedicure, my mom got to the hospital just in the knick of time to deliver me. As they rushed her down the corridor to the operating room (in the days before plush delivery rooms), she called out to my dad who was unwrapping a cigar and settling in to watch a basketball game and announced, “I’ve changed my mind, I don’t want to have a baby!” But after she delivered me in the pioneering style of natural childbirth sans epidural, she changed her mind. She swears I was the most beautiful baby in the world and it was love at first sight.

 

But soon after arriving, I stopped breathing. Obviously, I survived and they let my mom take me home from the hospital but warned that if I cried I could suffocate to death. My dramatic birth tale is always punctuated by my 22-year-old mother leaving the hospital wearing her Hot Pants (it was 1971). Apparently, her waistline had contracted to its pre-pregnancy size in a matter of days.

 

So my mom’s life’s work for the nine months until I healed was making sure that I didn’t cry. She held me and rocked me and didn’t leave my side. Wow…that mother-daughter love story is hard stuff with which to compete.

 

wtxmom3
10.23.09

WOW I am actually not alone in this world. :)
I do not know how our mothers accomplished so much with only 24 hours in a day plus all the other commitments in their lives...

Mothers are the glue in which holds our world together..

Corbinmama
02.28.09

Even as a Stay-At-Home mom of 5 it is a struggle to find balance. I recently joined the Mom team and am so grateful for their support as I endeavour to have a home business and care for my 5 kids 8 and younger. It is a blessing to have a way to help financially and still be with my kids. www.BusyMomsBiz.com

lifeisgood
12.19.08

I love this site, soooo glad to realize that I'm not alone! As someone who never had an interest in having kids, in fact once commented to friends that I'd never hire a "mom" because they can't give 100% at work, (then the hormones kicked in about age 33 and now at age 40 I have 3 under the age of 5), I was despondent over my perceived inability to "give 100% at work AND to my kids/family". THEN I read Ann Crittenden's books "If You've Raised Kids, You Can Manage Anything" and "The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World is Still the Least Valued" among others. I no longer feel bad, well at least not as bad. Talking with colleagues now, I know the tremendous advantage working moms can offer their workplace because of the mom component of their existence/experience. For me, I know I'm a better mom because of my working and also a better employee because of being a mom, though my definitions of success at both is different than before I was a mom.

LuvBingMommy
12.17.08

Schneepy...Are we the same person? Ditto everything you said. Everything! I went from being the model employee to a minimalist. I feel guilty about short changing my job and guilty for not being home. This was a great article.

schneepy
12.16.08

This was the right day for me to get this article! I have a 1 year old, and have been back at work full time for six months. I call working motherhood "my constant struggle." I feel like I'm short-changing my job sometimes by speeding out of work at the first opportunity to get home to my son, and I'm not used to not being the stellar employee, but if I didn't do it, I'd feel worse- short-changing my baby is not an option! Mondays are always the worst- tearing myself away after the bonding of the weekend. I do feel proud of my income and my contributions to the corporate world, but that doesn't seem to make it any easier.

Thanks for reminding me that there are a lot of other moms doing this dance. It's not just a cliche that mothers are amazing!