My definition of a supermum may not be what you’re expecting.
First let me tell you what being a supermum is NOT. It’s not trying to do everything at the expense of your own health. Being a supermum is not a constant state of being and doesn’t equate to feeling stressed out, overwhelmed and exhausted.
My definition of a supermum is when you experience that feeling of deep satisfaction when you know you have just brought your A game to the moment. When you save the day or surprise yourself (despite being fuelled by coffee or feeling like you have too many tabs open in your brain) or do something extraordinary that leaves you feeling like you have superpowers. It’s a moment that you can relish for days, weeks, maybe even months.
Let me explain by telling you about the last time I felt like supermum.
This story actually starts with a mum fail.
On Saturday mornings my kids both have swimming lessons. It’s a rather early start and I’m not a morning person. I usually don’t leave much time between waking up and packing the swim bags.
On this particular morning we arrived at the swim school a few minutes late for my son’s lesson. As we were rushing the kids out of the car I realised that I hadn’t packed my daughter’s swim outfit. Forehead slap. Mummy fail moment.
My mind was racing and it quickly became clear that I had a few options:
Leave the kids and hubby at the swim school so my son could start his lesson. Drive home and get said swimsuit. My daughter’s lesson was due to start in 15 minutes though and it’s a 10 minute drive each way. Definitely the most stressful option and not guaranteed to be achievable in the timeframe.
Reschedule my daughter’s swimming lesson for another day. That would mean though that I would have to call the swim school the following week to book a make up lesson and then find time to take her, on my own, to said make up lesson. Not ideal and not the best use of my future time.
Do the lesson with only a swim nappy and no swim outfit. Not ideal. I wondered if anyone else had ever had to do that? Surely I couldn’t be the first mum to forget to pack a swim suit. Was it socially acceptable for a baby to swim in only a swim nappy? (I still don’t know the answer to that question).
Ask for help. Ideally I wanted to be able to do the lesson while we were already at the swim school and then get on with our weekend and the following week as intended without taking up extra time arranging and attending a make up lesson.
So I asked the swim school receptionist if they possibly had any spare swim outfits that I could use. I was hoping for a spare outfit in a lost property box.
And what do you know? The answer was very positive and a spare swimming top was supplied. Hurrah!
My husband was impressed by my resourcefulness and I began to wonder how many other mums out there might have thought of this option AND had the courage to ask for help.
I felt like supermum for quite awhile after that.
This incident made me realise that I’ve developed at least a couple of superpowers since becoming a working mum:
- The ability to quickly think of options to solve a problem in the moment. I’ve had plenty of practice solving problems at home and at work over the years. It’s something that comes so naturally to me that I take it for granted. I probably had this skill before becoming a working mum, though the challenges of being a working mum have certainly honed this skill and brought it to the surface.
- Asking for help. This is a really important one because as I said earlier, being a supermum isn’t about doing everything yourself. I see so many working mums trying to do it all and experiencing exhaustion and burnout. It’s unrealistic and unfair to expect that of yourself. Knowing when to ask for help either by delegating, outsourcing or calling on someone you know who can help you is definitely a skill worth mastering as a working mum.
I also know that I got lucky with the spare swim suit. The answer could have been a no, in which case I would have asked the receptionist if option 3 was acceptable and if not then I would have taken option 2.
Another learning would be to pack the swim bags the night before when I’m not still half asleep!
I’ll bet you’ve developed special superpowers too as a working mum. I’d love to hear what they are in the comments below and the moments when you’ve felt like supermum.
If you have a particular frustration or problem you’re facing as a working mum and want to put my problem solving skills to the test let’s connect. Find out more about how I can help you here.