Excerpt from Chapter 1: Super Mom is Faking It
You want to trip her as she glides by you at Back-to-School Night, looking like she just stepped off the cover of Family Fun magazine. In one hand, she holds a plate of homemade apple-shaped cookies. In the other, she has four hundred signup sheets for the school fundraiser, of which she is (naturally) the chair.
And then there's you, windblown, disheveled, and late (as usual), not to mention empty-handed because Hubby ate all your brownies last night. Once again, you're faced with the fact that this mom-a Super Mom, if there ever was one-has raised the mothering bar so impossibly high that your anxiety is skyrocketing along with it.No wonder you want to check her into the bake sale table like a hockey player during playoffs.
She is most definitely a Super Mom, and you're . . . what? Desperate to be like her. After all, she helped her son whittle a bar of Ivory soap into a museum-quality sculpture of Abraham Lincoln for a Cub Scouts project, while you let your son shave a few slices off his bar of soap and call it SpongeBob. Her son's project looks like it belongs in the Smithsonian with velvet ropes surrounding it.Your son's looks like an eight-year-old made it while watching the Mets game on TV, which is, of course, exactly what happened. If only, like her, you, too, had a Fine Arts degree. Then you wouldn't feel so inadequate when it comes time for you . . . er, your son . . . to do his school projects.
Able to Leap Tall Preschoolers in a Single Bound
You'd swear there's some sort of bat-signal that summons this woman at just the right moment, her hair glistening in the school gym lights, a cooler of chilled Gatorade bottles in multiple refreshing ?avors at her feet as she trades inside jokes with the basketball coach, and then corners the principal for yet another pow-wow about her child's potential.
Meanwhile, you scrape the peanut butter off your sweatshirt and root through your purse for some lipstick, all the while mumbling under your breath, "Please don't sit next to me. Please don't sit next to me."
You don't want to hear about her latest project: her "craft room," an entire 16'x20'room dedicated to scrapbooking, sewing, needlepoint, and making homemade Halloween costumes that look like they belong on the cover of Martha Stewart Kids.
You, on the other hand, have nothing more than a "craft drawer," and that's only if you consider the following "crafty": plastic googly eyes, some kid-sized scissors that don't cut much of anything, and a dried-out glue stick covered in gold glitter. The last whimsical craft you tried to make-an egg-carton dragon- wound up in the toy box, crushed by a Tonka truck and stuck to Barbie's hair with a half-chewed gumdrop.
You long to be like Super Mom, because she seems to be what everyone thinks is a good mom these days-the kind of mom who puts her kids and their travel soccer games, piano lessons, Kumon tutoring, and elaborate dioramas of the White House made from sugar cubes before her own needs. The kind of mom who gives her kids the very best, so that one day she can put a Harvard sticker on the back window of her SUV and drive off to play bridge with the ladies at the club, where she'll brag about her children's scholarships, and, I dunno, the craft wing she'll add onto the house.
But do you want to pay $12,000 a year to send your four-year-old to a Chinese immersion school to "give her a leg up on her future?" Do you want to skip the swim team's trip to the water park so you can use the time to improve your kids' backstroke splits while everyone else is "wasting the day" in the wave pool? Do you want to be so busy running the town council, the home and school association, and the Mighty Mites hockey fundraiser that most nights you don't have time to eat dinner with your family? Will that make you happy? Better yet, will it really make you a better mother?
She's a Cross Between a Smooth Politician and a High-Pro?le Celebrity
But Super Mom isn't all that she appears to be. After all, it takes an enormous amount of energy to be the perfect mother-and even more energy to make it appear that way to everyone else.
In fact, here's a secret that Super Mom doesn't want you to know: She's really not perfect-just extremely adept at propaganda. She uses many of the same techniques that governments (for example, Hitler's Nazis) and Fortune 500 companies (like Enron) use to get their message out. You'll feel much better about how you measure up next to Super Mom when you realize it's all just smoke and mirrors.