MamaBlogger365 – The Demise of “SuperMom” by Jennifer Covello

Jennifer Covello

As I write this, I’m slowly getting over a head cold that lasted several days. During that time, I was unable to do many of the things I normally do not only for my work, but for my children. This is a source of frustration for me as I’m used to doing several things at once and my children are used to me doing, well, everything.

You might say that they are spoiled. You might say that they should understand that when mommy is sick, they have to fend for themselves. You’d be right in thinking that. But you can’t blame them for thinking or feeling as they do. They don’t know any better. Why? Because I didn’t teach them. So really, it’s my fault.

Yes, I’m the one to blame. Why, you ask? Simple. For many years, I strived to be everything to everyone. A hard-working employee, a loyal friend, a devoted daughter, a loving mom, a giving volunteer. On a daily basis I showed my kids that a woman could have a full-time job, be a mom, a cook, a maid, a chauffeur, a doctor, a (fill in the blank) and that I could put all of my own needs aside in the name of others. Even when I was recovering from a bad car accident, I still put some semblance of dinner on the table for them. My need to be recognized as “SuperMom” usurped the need to take care of myself.

The more hats I wore and the busier I was, the better I felt. I loved it when people would say “how do you do all this?” I was proud of my accomplishments and to hear their accolades filled me with pride and puffed up my ego. Well, we all know what happens to puffed-up egos, right? Eventually the air goes out.

So why now, when all I had was a simple head cold, would my children expect anything less? It’s all they know.

I’m not alone though. There are millions of moms out there – maybe even you – who fall victim to this same mentality. They feel the pressure to do everything and when they can’t; their loved ones are left in a quandary of what to do. This leaves these frazzled mothers feeling guilty, resentful, and even more stressed, when they should be taking care of themselves.

A short time after being laid off, I heard a John Mayer song on the radio. Not being a big fan of his music, I usually skip his songs when they are played. But this time, one of his songs, “Fathers Be Good To Your Daughters,” was playing. For some reason (no coincidence I’m sure) I was forced to listen to the lyrics. Not only did his words strike a cord with me, but they actually inspired me. They inspired me to begin to think about giving up my “SuperMom” title and return my and my children’s life to normalcy.

“Fathers be good to your daughters. Daughters will love like you do. Girls become lovers and turn into mothers. So mothers, be good to your daughters too.”

I’m pretty sure Mr. Mayer did not write this song with “SuperMoms” in mind. However, after hearing these lyrics, I paused. I began to think of my children years from now – married and with their own family. I fast-forwarded to the day when they were adults living their own lives. And I thought about what I was doing to prepare them. Am I setting them up for success and a happy life with my insistence of maintaining the title of “SuperMom”?

If I teach my son that a woman is supposed to be “SuperMom” and he marries someone who does not subscribe to this inane theory, he will continually compare his bride to me – seeing her as always falling short. An unfair expectation to say the least. This is sure to set up my future daughter-in-law to resent me and potentially think less of my son. Or worse, think herself a failure.

If my daughter decides to follow in my footsteps, then I am preparing her for a life of stress, overwhelm, and resentment as she continually strives to be everything to everyone and ignoring her own needs. While her future husband and children may very well feel pampered and taken care of, she is left feeling taken advantage of, or worse, being taken for granted.

This is a lose-lose situation if I ever saw one.

It’s likely I can’t go “cold turkey” with my kids as I embrace the loss of my “SuperMom” moniker. It might send them into shock if all of a sudden, they are left to fend for themselves . But cutting back in little bits will help ease them into this new lifestyle. Simple things like, “No, I didn’t go to the grocery store” or “No, I didn’t wash your favorite jeans” are baby steps that will wean all of us from the old ways. Slowly but surely they will begin to see that Mom does not wear a cape and cannot leap tall buildings, but rather she’s a real human being, like them, who does get tired, who does get sick, and yes, who does need to take care of herself at times.

They may not like it but that’s usually the case when you say ‘no’ to a child, right? However, one day they will look back and appreciate it when they are older and have their own families. My son will look for a woman who is balanced in the giving of herself and he will be able to lend a helping hand. My daughter will have a life that is not filled with multiple to-do lists that define her, but rather welcome and embrace the help from her husband and children.

Now that’s what I call a win-win situation!

Bio: Jennifer Covello is the owner and founder of Frittabello, LLC, a baby gift business. Ms. Covello has authored and published an award-winning baby journal, “My Life” and a children’s book, “Frittabello and his Angel.” Her products can be purchased online or in various upscale retailers in Fairfield County, CT. Ms. Covello created and sponsors Bumps, Babies & Beyond baby expo.

To fulfill her mission to help moms, Jennifer offers “Put Your Love on Paper” baby journaling workshops for parents to start and finish their baby journals, recently featured on Better CT. Additionally, she facilitates “Moms to Mompreneurs” workshops which assist moms who want to start a business.

Jennifer is a frequent contributor to various online magazines including “Natural Nutmeg” and “Tots to Teens”. She was also a contributing author to “Moms to Motherhood”, a Gratitude Project book and a mommy blogger for Working Woman Magazine.

She has been featured on local and regional radio and TV programs for her insights about her journey from corporate to mompreneur as a single, full-time working parent.

Jennifer is a native of Long Island, New York and had a corporate career in IT and Marketing. She is active in her local school system, having served on numerous committees focusing on the improvement of special education services. She holds a B.S. degree in Management Information Systems from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. in Marketing Management from Pace University, New York.

Jennifer resides in Norwalk, CT with her two children.

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