We Are All Supermoms

By Gemma Hartley

I remember looking at a Facebook post from another mom: a photo of her and her daughter, wearing matching wool ear-warmers she had crocheted, as they went on their ritual walk to the downtown bakery. You could tell she was stylishly dressed beneath her baby-wearing; her hair and make-up were absolutely beautiful.

This was during a time when I was struggling with postpartum depression, and I felt like all I ever saw was bright, happy, healthy mothers. The kind who do wonderful Pinterest-inspired crafts, cook wholesome meals three times a day, dress their kids in vintage-chic style, and always look put together themselves. The supermoms.

I remember Lucas was whining in the background. It was one of those days where I hadn’t managed to get out of my sweatpants. The house wasn’t very clean. I knew that dinner would not be on the table when my husband came home, and we would probably end up eating spaghetti again.

I felt like such a failure.

As someone who chose young motherhood, I felt the pressure to be a supermom with added fervor. It wasn’t just something I wanted. It was something I needed in order to prove myself.

At 21, I was constantly faced with family and friends and colleagues and strangers questioning my choice to be a mother – shrugging off my decision as naïve because of my age. I was suddenly filed under uneducated and uninformed, although I was neither. And the undercurrent of all the rude comments I received while pregnant was that I wasn’t ready for motherhood – that I wouldn’t be good enough.

I felt if I could pull off motherhood with style and an immaculate home, it would put all the nay-sayers in their place. Needless to say, I fell short of my own expectations. When I was thrown into the reality of motherhood, my dreams of being a supermom quickly had to give way to mere survival.

Even though I was keeping my baby fed and clothed, walking him for hours on end, getting up with him in the middle of the night, soothing him when he was sick – I still felt I was coming up short. I wasn’t the type of mother I thought I would be. The type I felt I should be.

When I saw other moms who seemed to be doing it all, I felt guilty. Guilty for not making a country cottage out of a cardboard box. Guilty for using jarred baby food. Guilty for using disposable diapers.

Some days I felt like I was drowning because my best wasn’t good enough. But that wasn’t really the truth. My best was always good enough. I simply couldn’t see it because I was so focused on the ways I should be better.

I still feel the tug of that guilt every now and again, but its hold on me has weakened over time. Because I realize now that showing up each day with a heart full of love is more than enough. Our presence, physically and mentally and emotionally, is all our babies really want and need.

And yet on top of that we cook them whatever it is that they’ll eat. We play with them when we’re tired. We clean their sticky fingers and faces. We wipe away the tears. We launder the vomit soaked sheets. We kiss the scraped knees. We endure the sleepless nights. We read the same book a thousand times over. We do things we’ll forget, that someday they’ll remember.

We love them fiercely. Every last one of us.

That is more than enough.