The damaging concept of the Superwoman mum
‘Superwoman mum’ – the idea that is supposed to be a compliment to motherhood but in reality, makes the life of mothers much harder than it should be.
It really gets to me when I hear people saying that mums are ‘superheroes’, because what it does is setting unrealistic expectations and putting a tremendous pressure on mothers. It is this unspoken message that comes with this ‘compliment’ that if you choose to become a mother you do not have the luxury anymore to have needs and wants and to be anything but perfect. However, becoming a mum does not mean that you become a robot and I imagine even these would break down over time without proper maintenance.
In addition, what is the message we send to our children by trying to be perfect? If a mum is not allowed to make mistakes or to be tired etc, many children interpret this as the right/only way of being. And this might lead to unhealthy perfectionism Also, more often that not this pressure to be a super human being might lead mothers to experience feelings of resentment, anger, guilt and other negative emotions or mix of emotions, which often manifest with ‘martyr’ like behaviours. And when a mum acts like a ‘martyr’ kids usually feel like a burden, not cherished as some might think. Furthermore, by not asking for what she needs (sleep, time for self care, social time etc) children might get the message that they should not ask help or should not voice their needs. On the other hand when mothers take care of themselves, they model/teach our children how todo this for themselves.
So mums, don’t try to be superheroes – be the loving, caring but still human parents that you are!