Killing Off Supermom
by Lisa Quinn
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?
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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