By Dr Afiniki Akanet
Supermums are the amazing women that juggle motherhood with jobs, careers, business, marriage or all of these! There is the popular argument that being a stay-at-home mum should be the highest paid job because of all it involves, and I am not disputing that in anyway, because it is hard work, and I know that it is certainly something that not every woman can do and enjoy. We must also not deny the fact that mothers who work outside the home do not necessarily have less responsibility at home because of their paid jobs. In fact, getting a cleaner, nanny, babysitter, ironing lady, personal shopper etc (which only few can afford) can reduce the house jobs and cover for absences, but there are definitely still times that only Mummy will do! Some mothers work outside the home because they have to, and others because they want to. Whatever the reason, these are the mental battles most of us have fought at one time or another.
Being in two places at once: A supermum, like any other woman, will want to spend quality time with her children when she can. The problem is that small children mostly find fun in silly and repetitive activities, which most intelligent women will find mind-numbing. Even ironing and hoovering can seem like brain-death for a highly-skilled person. After talking science, law, economics or management all week, it might be just a bit harder to concentrate on and enjoy playing peek-a-boo all afternoon. Wisdom and love makes mothers want to do it, but their clever brain would rather be doing something about that bright idea they just had in the kitchen. This does not mean that they do not love or want their children, it just means that they have to work harder to be there in body and mind, enjoying the moments when they spend time with their family, because a good supermum knows that family is more important than work.
Jack of all trades: There is that tendency to feel inadequate in all areas when you juggle so many balls. A supermum will worry that she is not being the best mum, especially when she sees how well a stay-at-home mum manages her home and children. She might also worry that she is not giving her best at work because she sometimes has to put her children first. She might wonder how much better her business might be doing if she could put in more time, or how much higher up the career ladder she might be if she put in as much hours as her colleagues. She always has to remind herself that she is still only human, she is doing the best that she can (wherever she is) with the time that she has, that life is not a competition and that her family love her anyway.
Frequent hat switching: Imagine how difficult it would be to write an exam where the questions were in different subjects, with no categorisation and sometimes in different languages! That’s what supermums sometimes have to deal with. You could be having an important conversation at toddler level one moment with your sweet mum hat on, and doing a webinar with top level consultants using your business woman hat the next. Going from playful mummy to boss lady to sexy wife to compassionate friend everyday can be tough. Forget the guilt of not being there for the children all the time – all this hat switching several times a day is exhausting. When supermum needs a break, supermum should get a break!
Writer – Dr Afiniki Akanet is the Author of Life Without Coffee, Choosing Happiness Over Stress