How to end the supermum myth

supermum

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.

How to end the supermum myth

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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.

Picture credit: Designed by Freepik

31 comments

  1. It doesn’t take a lot for my confidence to take a knock, so when I see mums managing it all etc I feel a little at a loss why perhaps I can’t! We are all doing the best we can 🙂

  2. Scott calls
    Me super Mum , I think his just trying to suck up to me 🙂 but I never feel like a super Mum , not enough hours in the day is there !

  3. This is such a brilliant post! I think it is all too easy to think everyone else around me is handling parenthood with much more ease than myself, but when I speak to people it turns out that most people feels they are failing in one aspect of another. I actually had a chat with someone just after Christmas who said they think I look like I handle everything well, I was shocked because I always feel like I am falling short in terms of parenting and am always so critical of myself. I agree that we should all focus on being kinder to ourselves.

  4. I agree with all of this! I think when you become a new mum, it can be so easy to see other mums out there – especially on social media! – and wonder what on earth it is you’re doing wrong…I know I did! I hated the newborn phase with both of my boys and with my eldest, I remember looking at pictures of mums out there on Facebook and Insgragram and wondering why I couldn’t look all put together and happy, why I was so tired and stressed all the time. It’s so important for us to be able to talk to other mums and realize that we all struggle, and we’re all just doing the best we can. I always joke that I was a supermum – until I had kids! Most of us know that sometimes it’s just difficult and crap, and we all go through those times.

  5. There is no such thing as a supermum, we are all doing the best we can. It is important to tell this to new mums who believe everything they do has to be perfect

  6. We are all just doing the best we can and if that makes us superwomen then so be it but i would rather just be called mum 🙂

  7. Sometimes it’s just easier being negative about ourselves, especially when we compare to other people. I would never judge anyone as harshly as I judge myself! The supermum thing just seems to have been made up to knock women down. Great post! #coolmumclub

  8. Social media can often leave me feeling inferior when it comes to parenting. I look at all these mums who seemingly spend hours crafting with their kids while ive stuck mine in front of the tv so I can get some work done. However my kids are happy so hopefully I must be doing a fairly good job. We are all just doing the best we can aren’t we. #coolmumclub

  9. It’s so easy to compare yourself to others but rarely a healthy thing to do. Before children we’d look at other’s careers and think others were doing better/worse, or houses, then children come along and it just carries on but the topic of comparison changes. We all just need to be kinder to ourselves. No one has it all.

  10. So true. Can we all just agree we are doing our best to navigate our lives and produce happy, normal children. #coolmumclub

  11. Awesome post! Bottom line is all mums do the best they can. As long as everyone’s happy, healthy and fed, at the end of the day that’s all that really matters whether we handled the day like a super mum or a regular mum. 🙂 #coolmumclub

  12. What, you serious?? I thought I WAS supermum!! Lol, seriously this was good to read today. I can totally relate to wanting to emigrate to Australia some days so I love the pep talk idea. I agree that focusing on the positives really makes a difference and I think I need to start writing a gratitude journal. #Coolmumsclub

  13. I have Anyas book by my bedside as a regular reference point! She talks sense that lady, the rest of us definitely have some catching up to do…
    Lovely to be back at the #coolmumclub helm with you hun!

  14. I love this – we really should banish the idea of a Supermum. I work SO hard every day, even with boys at school all day most days, and I fail to recognise my own achievements. I think it’s about time we got rid of that awful word!

  15. I am a supermum…for about 3 minutes out of each day. Supermum’s don’t exist, but occasionally we all do super stuff. Pen x #coolmumclub

  16. #BlogCrush
    You are right, there’s no such thing as the perfect/ supermum! I just wing it everyday! Lol! But being a mom is the best thing that has ever happened to me, that’s for sure.

  17. There is so much I want to applaud in this piece. It’s so true that we compare our “behind-the-scenes” to everyone else’s “show” and that’s never going to be a fair comparison!

    And congratulations because someone loved this post so much, they added it to the BlogCrush linky! Feel free to collect your “I’ve been featured” blog badge 🙂 #blogcrush

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