04 November 2010

I don't know any super mums!

It is funny how a blog post can come into your head and then actually makes it to the 'paper'.  This morning my daughter was watching a TMNT episode.  For those not in the know this is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, yes I know *sigh* we don't need to go into the how, why and wherefore of that one!  Needless to say it is one of the many reasons I am NOT a super mum LOL

But as I made a healthy balanced breakfast pancakes for her (reason two perhaps) I started thinking about all the times I have heard or read the term 'super mum/mom'.  It has always pissed me off that a celebrity instantly gets this term without even doing anything other than pushing (or not) the screaming mass out of their vaginas (or not) and then airbrushing bouncing back to the their pre-baby bodies before getting home and working on their next film/album/photo shoot within the month.  What a super mum!!!!!!!!!!!  Perhaps I am  I definitely am a cynic and wonder why the nanny/au pair/personal chef/personal training/hairstylist/make-up artist never gets a look in.  I know I am generalising but hey it is my blog!

Back at ground level I see the term bandied about too.  We tell each other "oh you are such a supermum" but really I think that is just bullshit. I know I am not a super mum.   The reason I know this comes from the 'super hero' shows my kids love.  They always end with the hero winning, the baddies get their punishment and are finished with (mostly) and the goodies all stick together and love each other and help each other.  No-one has a bad word for the hero, the hero is never judged and never judges others.  It is such a perfect world where the good overcomes the bad.  The superhero is more infallible than the pope!

Being a supe rmum isn't just about your super parenting skills but also about your attitude.  You see, I learnt a valuable lesson this week.  I do not have mind reading skills!! I know, hard to believe, but it is true.  I also cannot see into the past or see into the future.

How do I know this?  Well we will have to back track to Monday just gone and because I know none of you can see into the past I will tell a little story;

There was a mum and her eight year old boy.  They had been in kmart and coles briefly and he was all fine, no signs of stress or angst.  As a reward and treat the mum suggested they get an icecream. After checking with the boy several times that he was sure the one he ordered was what he really wanted (learnt from previous experiences) the mum ordered it and then he changed his mind. He didn't want soft serve, However the girl had already got it so it was too late for him to change his mind.  The boy started screaming at the mum,I hate you, I want to kill you, I want to die etc etc at the top of his lungs whilst punching, kicking and pushing the mum who proceeded to walk out. He followed, shrieking by this stage and started beating her on the back and pulling her back into store.  He said he would now have a soft serve, but the mum calming explained that this would not be the case, that it was too late and his behaviour left him with no options. He wrestled her for 30 min to the car (2min away), hitting, kicking, pushing, trying to trap her against the  railings and threatening to kill himself, her and  everyone etc etc and screaming for the icecream.  The people watched, some with sympathy, some with no reaction and others with total looks of judgement.The mum and the boy eventually got home, the boy totally traumatised and the mum, well bruised, shaken and traumatised by the event.

Now I know that many of the mums watching would have been thinking at least one of the following:
1. He needs a damn good smack!
2. She needs to control her child!
3. I wonder what she feeds him!
4. Why doesn't she just give him what he wants?
5. He is probably abused and acting out.
6.  He is just playing up, he looks normal so nothing wrong with him.

I know this because I have seen similar scenes played out in shopping centres, supermarkets, parks etc and I have thought one or many of the above at times.  Not once have I considered any other reasons.  I have judged the mum and how she parents.  This makes me and everyone else out there (and I reckon I could lay my life down and say EVERYONE) un super mums!

Those observers on Monday, and us observers on any day of the week should be thinking some of the following:
1.  Does she need help?
2. Can I help with her bags, trolley, other children?
3. Wow, she is managing that situation really well considering the circumstances
4. I should tell her she is doing well
5. I wonder if the child has a disability like autism/aspergers, even though he looks fine?

How do I have the right to spout on about this?  Well I am guilty of judging a tad to hastily, I have checked out a shopping trolley and summised from the food in the trolley that the parent is basically feeding their kid crap and this is their payback.

After Monday I don't think I will act so hastily.  I probably will do it again, I am not infallible after all cos I am not a super mum.  That mum on Monday was me (got the bruises to prove it too!) and that child was my son. 
We are not super mums, we are simply mums.  We make mistakes,  we fall down, we cry, we react and we make judgements.   These judgements are on ourselves as much as on others.  How many times have you second guessed yourself or found yourself comparing you and your kids to others?

You know, most people would see my boy out and about and see a quiet, shy and calm boy.  If I said he has uncontrollable melt downs and is violent at home I doubt many would believe me and I don't blame them.  I see kids out who I know do the same at home but are just gorgeous when they are out.  Would I wish my kid was like him if I knew what went on at home?  NO and you wouldn't either. 
So when you compare your 'monsters' and your 'crap parenting' to those 'perfect' examples you see out and about DON'T!   
We all have our monsters at times and we all have infamous crap parenting moments!  What Beren did on Monday is a first, he usually reserves such behaviour for the safe and reliable environment at home.

None of us are perfect or super.  We just compare and judge too often and end up feeling like shit as a result most of the time.  Feel proud that you get through the day to the best of your abilities and that at the end of the day they are sleeping (hopefully) and you get to have a breather!  you did good!

Joining in on motherheart


Joni Llanora said...

wow, what a smart post. I must admit I too judge hastily when confronted with such scenarios when I was single. But now that I'm a mum, I am more sympathetic. I know I shouldn't but at times when I see a kid misbehaving, I give him/her a discreet glare (in the hopes the child will stop) especially when I see the mum doing everything she can to pacify the kid. True that we can never be super mums to the eyes of society but I'm sure our kids will realize (someday) that we are indeed "super" in our imperfect & special way. And that's what matters most. Thanks for sharing your story!

cjtato said...

No truer a word spoken. I think some people would think I was judging them when out because I don't say anything but give that (what I think is) all knowing smile. I have stopped and helped before but nowhere near as often I should/could have.

I am with you and think it is important that other parents are not made to feel inadequate from one singular moment from their day.

Usually it is me being judged from afar when I've had a crap day with a child and my patience is at an all time low. I'm sure there are others looking on and thinking I am an unfit parent. Hard to ignore the disapproving glances though, isn't it?

Stopping by from Mother Heart Linky. :D

Being Me said...

Number 4. I should tell her she is doing well. I need to do number 4!

Yet another brilliant and brave post, Kebeni.

Sharon said...

Yes we are all guilty - especially when we didn't have kids i.e airplanes etc. However I think when mums start to worry or think they know what others are thinking - then this is the moment they need to snap out of what others might think and do as you did - walk away to the car (hopefully) with the little one following :)Well Done to you I probably would have lost it.

alliecat said...

I was kinda thinking 3 and 5 from your second list. But not sure I'd have done the same pre children. Well done you, it's always tough to deal with calmly when you are out.

Great, thoughtful post.

FWIW the only term I hate more than 'supermum' is 'yummy mummy' for much of the same reasons!

This Mid 30s Life said...

Great post.

Can we delete the phrase "yummy mummy" while we're at it? Loathe it in every possible way. It's up there with "supermum."

Bel said...

I love your honesty and wisdom. You're a strong and kind mama, Kelli. Take care. x

Naomi said...

I love your 1-5 list of how to help another mum - I have wished so many times that someone would ask me one of those questions in my difficult moments. It sure makes a huge difference in getting through situations and a little kindness goes a long way. I am going to keep them in mind when I am out and about too - to look for opportunities to use them. Thanks for your wisdom :) Naomi x

Mostly Diane said...

I hate the super mom title too. Most moms just do what they have to do and we all have our failings. I bet the moms were all sympathetic. It does remind one to try and ask to help sometime.

I am slowly learning that if I judge other Moms based on their kids behavior, I will find myself dealing with the same thing at some time. It sounds like you are doing a good job.

My boy watched TMNT for his up late birthday treat last night.

Wanderlust said...

What a wonderful post, and so true! We never know what's going on in someone else's life and why not just show some compassion rather than judge. Beautifully said.

Emily said...

Your post totally surprised me and had me tearing up. May I dare say that you come the closest to winning the title of "supermum"?

Mary said...

Visiting from Mrs. 4444. You're so right: we don't know the situation when we see a child behaving badly, but we're so quick to judge.
I think you did the right thing!

Mrs4444 said...

We're all just doing the best we can. I like your reminder to look at other moms in public through a veil of compassion. Thank you.

mumtoj said...

Great post! :)

Unfortunately J doesn't just save his meltdowns for the security of home and we so, so often get the judging looks and comments ........ in fact I've gotten used to them now so I just carry on. I now look and at times offer words of support if appropriate when I see a Mum struggling with her child who is "misbehaving". You're right people are too quick to judge without knowing the full situation.

Oh and I hope the bruises have healed now...... I'm sure you probably have new ones by now ((hugs))

Sarah said...

Thank you for your post.
My son also saves his meltdowns for a safe place. But once he had a massive meltdown in a shopping centre.
Along came a woman who offered assistence to help me get him to the car. I will forever grateful to that woman.

We need to learn to offer help and not judgements

muminsearch.com said...

Usually, it's not the mums but the people who have never had children that have those thoughts. Most mums would understand. Although they might also be thinking 'I'm glad it's not my child this time.' You are right, we should offer help instead.

Be A Fun Mum said...

It's interesting: the other day I was at Myer with my two youngest kids and there was a woman with a screaming child. This child wan't a baby but probably 7 years old. She grabbed the child and started smacking it right there and then... then dragged her to the lift. Everyone was shocked. And I admit it was quite shocking... but I felt sad for them both. And I wondered what happened to make them both so stress. I could tell the mum was stressed out of her brain. I almost went up to her and said, "Can I help you to the car?" But I hesitated... and then she was gone.