Hautetalk: Why The World Doesn’t Need Supermoms
I’ve heard that becoming a mother is the most beautiful feeling in the world but TBH, I find that extremely difficult to believe. I’ll be honest, I lack all the so-called “motherly instincts”. I have four pets – 1 dog and 3 cats and they’re my kids. I love them the most in the world but the thought of having a human child makes me want to choke on my own spit. And no, it’s not just the fear of the pain of childbirth (of course, I do fear it a little bit but there’s more to it than just that). All my life, I’ve seen my mother working day and night with no breaks or vacations. She’s not your typical housewife, no, she’s got it worse. She’s a working mother. I’m not putting down housewives but working moms really have it worse. For years, my mother did everything from looking after the house to cooking to raising a child. Not only did she feed me well and keep me healthy but she also imparted me with knowledge, values and life lessons and she did all this while working as a job as a teacher. So, my fear of becoming a mother has a lot to do with the societal expectations of being a supermom that come with having a child
Let’s face this, no matter what a mother does, the social expectations are never-ending. They’re expected to work like slaves and make their kids their universe. If a woman chooses to be a “working mom” then she’s shamed for neglecting her child and if she chooses to be a stay-at-home mom, she’s shamed for being lazy for not working and putting her education to good use. But apart from this, we all have an image of what an “ideal” mom should be like. A woman who never lets her kids down and lives up to their expectations and is available for them at their beck and call. We often say that our mothers are supermoms because they manage to balance things so well, especially if they’re working moms but IMHO, this term ‘supermom’ need to be cancelled. Not only does this term come with loads of unrealistic expectations of slavery and sacrifice but also with a lot of pressure to live upto it. NGL but I cannot even imagine a life like that of my own mother. Having to wake up to cook breakfast and lunch for your kid and your family before you head out to work and then come back home to more household chores like cleaning, mopping, laundry and cooking dinner.
Indian mothers are the first ones to wake up in the morning and the last ones to hit the bed at night and that’s nothing to be proud of. We as a society and as kids should be ashamed of the fact that our mothers have been doing unpaid labour or rather slavery for years. And no, I’m not putting down what our moms do for us. Yes, they do what they do out of love but at the end of the day, they’re also humans and deserve rest, care and a break. They ARE NOT SUPER HUMANS or SUPERMOMS! Glorifying slavery under the guise of supermoms is not the way to go.
Remember back during the initial Covid-19 lockdown, a picture of a mother cooking in the kitchen while on oxygen support went viral? Yes, well, that is nothing to be proud of. If a woman is expected to cook and clean for her family even when she’s sick, what kind of humans are we? And when we glorify this kind of slavery, we just pressure of the women to be the stereotypical supermom. This is us telling our moms that they have no other option but to be supermom. This results in women being caught up in a vicious cycle of being guilt-tripped into unpaid, thankless labour while ignoring their own mental and physical health. Mothers end up overworking themselves through burnout and more due to the fear of failing their kids and not living up to societal expectations. And this, my friends, is why we don’t need supermoms. This world does not need women to ace multitasking and juggle with life problems. Yes, motherhood means a lifetime of responsibility but it does not have to be a burden of responsibilities that need a woman to be the image of perfection or a goddess. TBH, in India, we see Indian moms as a goddess with multiple hands and a tool in each one. A tiffin box in one hand, a serving spoon in one, a mop in the other and a laptop in another hand is not how we need our moms to be.
As the youth, we not only need to share the burden with our moms but we also need to eradicate the concept of supermoms and let the world know that it’s okay for a woman to not be a multitasker. It’s okay for a mother to not be perfect and excel at everything she does. Her day does not need to begin before the sun rises with loads of responsibilities. Motherhood should not be a lifetime of responsibility and unpaid labour. Moreover, our supermoms tend to set the bar really high for any other woman who cannot live upto the social expectations like me, for example. Just like us, our moms also deserve the weekends off and vacations every now and then. Weekends and vacations don’t make her a bad mom or less of a supermom. Just the fact that she went through the pain of childbirth makes her a supermom and her world does not need to revolve around her kids for her to be a supermom or for her to be a good mother.
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It’s time to tell all mothers in the world to take some time off for themselves and indulge in self-care and self-love every now and then. It’s time we tell them that it’s okay to not be perfect and not sacrifice things for their kids. It’s time to tell all supermoms that they need to live for themselves and have a life of their own apart from their kids and that does not make them any less of a mother. Supermoms are overrated and this world does not need them. Not only is the idea of supermoms harmful but it’s a trap!
Janvi uses her pen to smash the patriarchy. Geet one day and Wednesday Addams the next. Writing is the bane of her existence and the object of all her desires!