Jan 23, 2011

Killing off "SUPERMOM"

I thought this was hilarious and am quite certain so many of us can relate to this!
A friend sent it to me and I had to share...
by Lisa Quinn
Lisa Quinn is a recovering Martha-holic, Emmy Award winning TV host, mother of two and the author of "Life's Too Short To Fold Fitted Sheets; Your Ultimate Guide to Domestic Liberation"

I'll be honest with you. In my house, the beds are rarely made unless someone is coming to visit. Sometimes I yell. My closet is a disaster and I feel guilty that I work too much. My kids watch more TV than they should. And I simply cannot afford to go all organic right now. There is a sticky shelf in my refrigerator that I keep hoping will evaporate on its own, and this morning I had to send my son off to camp with a PB&J made with frozen waffles because I forgot to buy bread. I'm not perfect. There, I said it.

Bye Bye Supermom

This whole supermom thing has become cliché, and frankly, I'm getting too old for it. It was a fascinating social experiment, watching the women's movement evolve from "you can have it all" to "you need to do it all (and do it all perfectly)". No, you can't. I'm calling B.S. Show me a woman who can do it all, and I'll show you a woman who has hired help (and something to prove). Supermom, as a subspecies, has outlived her usefulness. It is time for her to go.

Perfection Doesn't Exist

Here's the thing: Perfection doesn't exist. Perfectionism is purely a mental, alienating, and unnatural state. It causes judgment and makes people feel bad. How can that be "a good thing"? We kid ourselves (and do a disservice to our kids) by thinking anything will ever be perfect. Everyone struggles at some point in life. It is our duty as moms to make sure our kids know that, and are prepared for the hurdles life is bound to throw them. Supermom may have the best-dressed, most mild-mannered, educated children ever, but mine know how to make their lunch, dress a wound, and pick a lock. Who's laughing now?

Picture Perfect

Just the other day, I was on a plane and saw Gwyneth Paltrow in this month's Vogue. She's striking a glamorous pose in her kitchen, preparing "easy!" locally grown, organic, vegan, after school snacks in an $865 Michael Kors crepe flounce skirt and 7-inch Louboutins. Her hair looks amazing, and there are a few toys tossed about (but not a kid to be found). Really Gwyneth? Is this how we're going to play? I didn't look that elegant at my wedding, dammit. Thanks for making me feel bad.

Celebrating the Imperfect Mom

I get it; it's Vogue. I would like to publish my own magazine called, "Half-Assed". It would celebrate the imperfect mom - the renegade who can make an impromptu gift bag out of a Happy Meal box on the way to the party. The mom who believes if somebody made it, then it's homemade. Need a cave-man costume for school - TODAY? Our gal's got a pair of scissors, a sharpie, and paper grocery bag at the ready.

I Used to Be One

One last confession: I used to be a Supermom (well, I tried really hard). I used to throw these crazy Dios de los Muertos parties every year. It was what I lived for. Very much like the Olympics, preparations began far in advance, and I was a total mess the whole time. It took a fairly serious party injury for me to realize that maybe I was in over my head. The day of the party had arrived. A 185 of our closest friends would be showing up at my doorstep any minute. As usual, I was determined to make sure every last one of them would be thoroughly impressed and amazed by my domestic superiority. I'd spent weeks pouring over every detail, and it was finally coming together. Freshly squeezed lime juice and crushed mint for the mojitos? Check. Authentic Oaxacan festival masks hung on the foyer staircase with care? Check. Homicidal threats made to any child who might decide to trash their room? Check.

The Eye-Opening Incident

As I glanced at my reflection just moments before the first guests were to arrive, I noticed a tiny smudge at the very top of the bathroom mirror. Initially, I tried to ignore it, but it eventually wore me down. "Martha Stewart would never host a party with a smudge on her mirror" echoed through my head. So, I ever-so-gently scaled the bathroom countertop, in my heels, and stood on stretched tiptoe to remove the offending smudge. That's when I slipped. My big toe broke the fall by breaking itself. It was at that very moment, as I lay on the floor, crying in pain, that I looked up and saw that I'd only made the smudge worse…

The Time of My Life

My toe swelled up like a baby eggplant, and I ended up hobbling around in Crocs all night like. I couldn't run around making sure everyone's drink was full, I couldn't bus the tables, and I couldn't assemble those cute little sugar skull TO GO packages I was famous for. And you know what? It was the best party I ever threw. I got to sit down and be with my family and friends. I've learned over the years to actively participate in my life; not to just cater it from the sidelines.

Time to Redefine

It's time to redefine what being a good wife, mom, hostess, and human being means. I don't want my kids growing up with memories of how clean the house always was. I want them to remember the fun and the love. Who cares what anybody else thinks? You want to make memories in your home. And sometimes when you're making memories, you're making a mess. Embrace the chaos. While news of her death may be premature, Supermom is on life support. Maybe it's time to pull the plug.
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Can you relate? I can!


  1. from Kay:
    I am chuckling at your blog today! Guess what - our bed does not always get made even with company coming - the door just gets closed! And us with no children! I loved your article and agree wholeheartedly with it. My godchildren's mom is a supermom and always has been. She freaks out if we just drop by because the bathrooms may not be clean - ho, ho! Guess where her children feel very comfortable and love to visit - the messy house of the Rogers - we lived next door to them for several years and they absolutely loved coming to our house. Memories - that's what is important and time for the children - Tom and I always had time for them - read stories, played games, etc. Their parents did too but the house had to be cleaned first - not at our house - we just dropped everything and gave them attention. Dishes could wait and beds could be unmade!

  2. from Jo:
    Love it, Love It, Love It!!!!!!!!

  3. Love it - perfect timing. I finally realized when I die I don't want people to say, "wow her house was so clean and her yard always was beautiful". I want my kids to talk about the fun things we did together and the love our family had. No one will die if we eat cereal for dinner. As a working mom I tried to do more to make up the time I was away from them. Quality is the key and I know now they can see me pursuing a passion, which is not a bad life lesson. The bed made me laugh - I would stop home after work before I picked up the kids just to make my bed. For the first time in my life -really- I only make the bed on the weekend and I usually get help from my sweet girl. Good bye Supermom!!!

  4. I LOVE IT!!!!!! I am NOT Super MOM!!! Which I realized in January 2000 when my then 5 year old son put a Happy Meal toy down the main septic pipe in front of my home, 2 days before I was to host his then turning 8 year old brother's birthday party at our home. We lived in PA at the time. We realized there was a problem when the sewage ran all over our front walk. January in Pennsylvania is a bit cold, thus the sewage froze. We woke up the morning of the party with frozen raw sewage covering the front walk of our home.

    I made a call to the closest McD's with a playplace indoors and then every parent who had RSVP'd yes.

    Sadly this is not our most infamous birthday party incident.

  5. .....dirty handprints on a window means a precious child was curious to see outside, dried grass and dirt on the floor means sweaty boys had a blast playing football in the yard, crumbs ALL over the table and floor and a sink FULL of dirty dishes means a fun family dinner was shared and a heaping pile of laundry means there are people in my home who love me and need me. One day we will be saddened by a clean window, shiny floor, perfectly set table and empty laundry basket. It is living each moment and finding the joy of every day that makes us joyful people:)

  6. Great comments ladies! This post definitely hit home for all of us. Kelly, you balance it beautifully and your children know and can see how much you love them. Elizabeth, so funny and thank you for sharing REAL life as a mother. jbsale, not sure how to contact you but wonderful comments and Amen to everything you said!

  7. Hi Caroline,
    I'm Julie Sale (jbsale), mother of five, from Fort Mill, SC. A friend forwarded this blog entry to me and it reminded me of an email I recently wrote to a friend about balancing motherhood and supermom:). At that moment, there were yogurt handprints on the front window and grass all over the floor from a football game in the front yard (in which my son broke a permanent tooth in half...just a couple weeks after my four-yr-old fell off the toilet at mcdonalds and busted up her front teeth). Anyway, I totally related to your entry:)
    Julie Sale


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