Legend has it that somewhere out there, there exists a mythical being called a supermum. We don’t really know what she looks like, because the truth is that nobody has ever seen her. It’s an idea that has been built up in our heads largely due to the media – from the movies to magazines and Instagram….and has somehow – much to our dismay – stuck…leaving to many mums feeling not good enough in her shadows.
But why are so many mums striving to be so much like something that doesn’t exist? The unrealistic figure that is the supermum? Surely it’s time to put a stop to this perfect parent madness? Hell yes it is! And what better way to do it than right here, right now with Anya Hayes- author of The Supermum Myth – to help us dispel the myth of the supermum and all the feelings of anxiety, guilt and failure she dumps into our lives.
Supermum or good enough…..?
I think we have to learn to acknowledge what we ARE doing rather than constantly wringing our hands about what we’re not doing, or not doing as well as we think we are. As long as we’re trying our best and striving to make sure our children are fed, warm, and as balanced and kind as possible, that’s pretty damn perfect in my eyes. It’s all about your perception.
What has led us to believe in the legend that is the supermum?
So many things over the past couple of generations but mainly that adage that women can “have it all” – without realising that “all” is bespoke. One persons all might not be yours. But society dictates that “all” to be perfect birth perfect flat tummy perfect hair perfect home perfect job perfect children perfect whole life … so no wonder we struggle if we feel we’re failing to achieve that gold standard.
Can you share some myths that we have been led to believe about the supermum?
That she juggles everything with ease. That it’s effortless. That she’s acing every area of her life. When actually – everyone has a struggle about something. Those who seem to be doing it all easily are relying on a support network somewhere. No one can do EVERYTHING perfectly. But because we see facades of perfection and snapshots of someone’s day on social media we judge their final performance against our behind the scenes shambles.
And what are some of the truths?
Well: reframe the perception of it and you can see that most mums are the definition of a Supermum as we’re juggling so many things every day, in our brains and on our phones and in our changing bags. It’s just that we’re occasionally shouty, anxious and feeling like crap while we’re doing it – which makes us less likely to applaud our own achievements.
How can we shake off this collective supermum myth?
Just by being kinder to ourselves and to others, really. By losing judgements. By noticing what’s good in what we’re doing every day.
And what should we embrace instead going forward?
That we’re all trying our best with what we’ve got going on.
If you had to give a pep talk right now to every perfectly imperfect mum what would you say?
I would say firstly start fostering an ability to notice what’s good by writing a gratitude list every day, morning and night if you can. It sounds so simple and ridiculous but noticing and fully celebrating the smallest good things that are right, seeing what’s in the half-empty cup and really tasting it, is the first step to being more content and less frazzled.
Anything else you would like to add?
Some days are wonderful. Other days are crap. Realising that everything is in a cycle, a moving momentum, an ebb and flow, makes it easier to deal with the days where you’re wishing you could emigrate solo to Australia.
So if you find yourself dwelling on the bad stuff rather than the good I would definitely recommend reading The Supermum Myth to help find that shift in perception. Not only will it help you turn around a negative mindset, and view your own achievements in a different light, it will also help you be kinder to yourself by using techniques such as CBT, mindfulness and other established therapies to help you to rebuild your confidence in your own parenting style and drown out the niggling competitive doubts.
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Anya Hayes is a wellness writer, author of three books and mum to two young sons. You can buy The Supermum Myth on Amazon here.
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