Why SuperMum doesn’t live here

When people hear how many children I have they (understandably) look surprised.  They often then follow with the words, “You must be Supermum!”

No, I definitely am not.

Definitely not.

Please don’t assume I have that accolade because I don’t and I am nowhere near receiving it.

See, there are a lot of things that SuperMum would not do that I do.  And there are a lot of things that I do that SuperMum wouldn’t.  And there are a lot of things I’d love to do and don’t and then there’s other stuff I want to stop doing but carry on doing anyway.

This morning is yet another which saw my day begin at 4am.  Anna decided to wake for a feed at just before 4.  This followed her waking up at just after midnight.  Her 4am wake up resulted in her still being awake at 4.30am, by which time I’d given up all hope of getting back to sleep as I needed to be up at 5am anyway.  I barely stopped myself from sobbing as I trudged downstairs with her, resigning myself to a day of extra tiredness and grouchiness.  Sesame Street’s Oscar would pass for Truly Scrumptious in comparison.  I’m tired.  I’m really, really tired and I already feel miserable with it.  SuperMum wouldn’t feel like that.

Oh yes, my early morning starts.  That’s something else that impresses.  People comment how they couldn’t do it.  They could if they trained themselves.  You, reading this, shaking your head – yes you.  You could too.  What do you mean you’d hate it?  I hate it too.  Really.  I do.  I mean, it’s useful and I can get a lot done and you do train yourself over time so that it becomes less painful but I don’t really like it.  I don’t mind it because I’m used to it now.  I suppose I like it in a way because I know how beneficial it is but would I rather sleep?  Yes.

The assumption that I’m SuperMum because I begin my day at 5am is so far off the mark.  I mean that it’s so far off the mark that the mark is somewhere here in Kent, UK and the assumption is in Perth, Australia.  I get up at 5am not because I am SuperMum but precisely because I am not.

If I don’t get up before the kids and have at least one sip of coffee I’m crabby and short-tempered.  I have a list of things that need to be done and having a bunch of kids demanding breakfast (how dare they?) and getting in the way of me unloading the dishwasher and putting another set of clothes into the washing machine and cleaning the toilet and doing all the other stuff I would much rather be doing* really gets my goat.  I need to be up before them for their sakes.  I should be dancing and singing around the kitchen Mary Poppins-like every morning after skipping merrily down the stairs hand in hand with them because that’s what SuperMum would do but I don’t.  Trust me, the 5am starts are a must-do.  I could never afford the therapy they’d all need otherwise.

I yell.

A lot.  

If the old wive’s tale (is it?) of letting a baby cry so they can have strong lungs is true, then my lungs must be superbly reinforced because I do like to have a shout.  Well, I don’t actually enjoy it but it’s like a cannon for releasing stress.  SuperMum wouldn’t do that.  I do.

I am not even going to pretend that I’m patient.  I am not.  If I want something done I want it done now.  Not in a minute and not later.  I hate waiting for things.  Pregnancy, for example, is far too long.  Nine months, I ask you?  Some days, counting down to bedtime (for the children, not for me) seems to take forever.  And all I want to do is to have a little bit of peace with a mug of hot chocolate.  It’s hardly rock’n’roll.

Even while I’m typing this I’m thinking of all the things I do that I shouldn’t.  Should I even be typing them here for publication on the www, I wonder?  I mean, it’s tough enough admitting your failings but to have them out there on t’internet for all and sundry to see is just asking for trouble, isn’t it?

Especially since I have “all those kids”.  Because, after all, it is my fault I have “all those kids” so why do I dare complain?

It’s as if some people think I’m short-tempered, impatient, crabby and grouchy because I have “all those kids.”

Let’s get one thing straight here – I was a misery long before my children came along.  They are not my excuse that I am the way I am.  I am the way I am because I am how I am.  Yes, that sentence doesn’t make sense to me either.  I don’t care.  I’m tired.

I’m very suspicious of people who act like the sun shines in their world every day.  Don’t they ever have to hide from the rain cloud that threatens to pour by the bucketload over their head?  The ones that claim the accolade of SuperMum for themselves… really?  You really have the answers?  You must be rich.  If you aren’t rich then you ought to be.

That’s why I’m suspicious of parenting “experts”.  I’d love to ask them if they never made a mistake.  I want to know if they really believe a majority of the stuff they say because although some of it sounds good, and it might be a nice thought, I can’t help but feel sceptical. Mostly, I’d love to talk to the grown up children of these parenting “experts” and ask them if their parents never made a mistake when raising them, seeing as they’re making their money out of people by claiming to know all the answers now.  I’d much rather hunt out the old lady in the post office who managed to raise her now grown and responsible children through harder times and seek her advice than someone who claims to have the A-Z of parenting knowledge because they did a degree or two and have letters after their names.

I don’t have all the answers.  I wish I did but I don’t.  I don’t even have half the answers.  There isn’t a day goes by when I don’t do a handful of things that I regret doing or saying by the end of it.  I’m hardly likely to advise someone else when I struggle with whether what I’m doing is wrong or right half the time.  At least by keeping my parenting to myself I’m only risking putting my own children in therapy.  I am not willing to give advice that may be crap and then I have to be responsible for your kid’s therapy too.  If I mention something here that you think is a good idea on your own head be it!

I mean, let’s look at the facts here.  I love my sleep, hate broken nights, am impatient, grumpy, miserable, can’t sing in tune, hate board games and despise taking kids to parks.  I like peace and quiet, hate screeching, screaming and yelling by other people and then I  annoy myself with my own screeching, screaming and yelling in my attempts to make said screeching, screaming and yelling by others stop.  You’d think I’d realise by now that it doesn’t work.  Let’s add “slow to comprehend stuff” to the list too.

Looking at that list of failings it’s quite apparent that I am not mum material at all.  I should never had any children, going by that, let alone eleven of the poor souls.  It wasn’t always like this.  I was once the best mum in the world.  Then I had children and became a real mum.

In this day and age of the gloating Facebook status and bragging Tweets and endless awards for best blogging/working/entrepreneurial/stayathome/workathome/abseiling/bungee-jumping/deep sea diving mum left, right and centre, admitting that mum-life isn’t a walk in the park isn’t the easiest thing to do.  I’ve admitted it to myself, to you and to the other three readers out there.

So no, I am not SuperMum.  Some days I am BarelyAdequateMum.  Only we’re not allowed to admit it.

I am not SuperMum.  I am RealLifeEveryDayMum.  Some days are quite good.  Others suck eggs.  That’s just life.

And, if we’re honest I’m probably much like many of you.

I hope. 



*Insert sarcasm

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54 thoughts on “Why SuperMum doesn’t live here

  1. Oh Tania, I did have to laugh reading this because it sounded so much like me (apart from the early start). I shout a lot, too much in fact. I’m a grouch if I don’t get my sleep then I hate getting up. I hate screaming and screeching, yet I do it….a lot! I hate the children not doing as they’re told and the exact moment they are told to do it! A lot of the time I say stuff I shouldn’t, and there is a lot of stuff I should do, but don’t. It causes rows, too many.

    But like you said, you cannot admit to it. I too f’ing like people who claim they are “supermum”… I’d love to be a fly on their wall 😉

  2. Can I scream hallelujah, I get so fed up of people who think they have all the answers. There are a few especially on twitter that make me feel so in adequate. Yes I yell at my kids, yes I expect them to do chores and you know what I actually say no to them occasionally. Such an evil mom.

    I love this post your honesty like always is so refreshing, oh I’m so glad someone else hates parks to xxx

  3. That is such an awesome insight into my world!! Thank god I am not alone in liking my sleep!! And I am going to have to quote you “I was once the best mum in the world. Then I had children and became a real mum.” BRILLIANT! (and I know a lot of people I could apply that too as well!) So Thank you for a bit of a giggle!

  4. Oh Tania, you crack me up! I love reading your blogs because they’re so obviously from the heart! I’m sure if my husband and I make it to the dozen we’re shooting for, I’ll be in the same boat. I too enjoy my sleep but with an 18 month old who gets up at 5am no matter how early or late I put him to bed, I am doomed to be an early riser. Cheers to a cup of coffee!

  5. Ooooo yes parenting experts grate hugely, like every child fits a box that x or y will instantly works;, or when you really want some advice just aah you to buy their book hmmmmmmmmmm yes helpful not!
    However, no matter how you try to downplay it I do think you are amazing, its not about why you do it but the dedication to doing the best for your family means you’re a star on my eyes, sadly many dont share your ethos and I admire it, so sue me hehehe. X

  6. Yell-ing mums of the UK unite. I have a lot of guilt as I feel I yell all the time, I never see other mums doing it, therefore I am a bad mother but this has made me feel much better. I am trying to yell less but with a 3 yr old going through that constant “whiney” stage and an 8 year old who thinks he knows everything it’s very hard some days. Thank you for this. It made me feel much better. 🙂

  7. “I was a misery long before my children came along. They are not my excuse that I am the way I am. ”

    Thank you! this made me smile a lot as its identical to my house x

  8. I get that statement all the time too, and I only have 7 kids. (Yes, I don’t get to use the word “only” in that sentence often!) My house is pretty much always a mess; I forget things all the time, and though I try not to, I yell sometimes too. Not supermom here either.

  9. I am supermum! I am honestly, truly, why do you look at me like that? I am supe rsized, super impatient, super tired, super crabby, super etc, so in that case, I AM supermum, I just won’t put the other bits in front if you don’t. Problem solved 🙂
    if there are any spelling mistakes, I don’t care because my 2 year old is having night terrors, those are such fun! Hmmm

  10. “I’d much rather hunt out the old lady in the post office who managed to raise her now grown and responsible children through harder times and seek her advice than someone who claims to have the A-Z of parenting knowledge because they did a degree or two and have letters after their names.”

    Amen to that!

    I’m glad you’ve admitted to being an ordinary mum …… because I am one of those too. (Oh, and I yell. Way too much. And I wish I didn’t.)

  11. I hate experts too! I try to reassure myself that if wouldnt be natural or healthy for my children to live in a perfect home where no one ever shouts and everything is very well organised and their parents drop everything to provide tons of quality time.
    Hopefully mine won’t end up with over optimistic expectations of life and also be more self sufficient and able to occupy themselves.

  12. In the US they call it Superwoman. I have 8.333333 kids, and when I get that I just cringe. Because yeah, I yell and I am just an ordinary person. Right now 13 month old boy is lying on the floor crying and here I am typing.

    We don’t get up early though. We won’t no matter what you say. Instead, we stay up late. We put the kids to bed late so they will sleep in, so we can sleep in, and everything just happens late.

    I have a serious question for you, though. Being in the US, we hear all sorts of news about the moral disintigration in the UK and how 50% of babies are born to single mothers, and 50% of the people are not working and are on government assistance, and how your government wants all medical students to preform abortions etc. Oh, and about the riots and the rotten kids. I suspect you hear a lot of crap about the US, and really it can be bad in a very few places, but most places are safe and there are still a lot of great people trying to do good things here. What is it really like raising a family and living in the UK?

    1. Kids crying while I’m typing. Yes, I know that one. That’ll be another mark against me then.

      As for your questions – they’re great ones and deserve a post all of their own. I’ll work on it and let you know my thoughts soon.

  13. A beautifully, refreshing and highly entertaining post. I am the same with just one very well behaved (yet strong willed) 18 month daughter and a part time job. Anyone who claims never to have done any of the above is telling porkies. I could never pride myself on being supermum. My proudest moments are watching Emily develop and learn new things at which point I am justified in thinking ‘I must be doing something right’. Being a great mum isn’t about making no mistakes, it’s about making them, admitting to them and allowing your parenting ‘techniques’ to grow and develop as your babies do xx

  14. Beautifully written – you’ve had me grinning along in agreement, and then thinking that, bar the number of children, you’ve echoed pretty much everything I’d say about my own parenting lol!

    As for the whole “Parenting Expert”? Forgive me – as far as I’m concerned there is no such thing. Every child is different, every child needs parenting differently and you can only ever do the best job you can do. My own mother summed it up for me “you can never be a perfect parent because it’s a constant learning experience”. You can only ever do the best that you can do.

    Oh and I’m SOOO glad to find another Mum who HATES boardgames. I get made to feel like a freak by my own family because I’d rather do the washing up than endure a game of Monopoly, or Cranium… Or Jenga *shudders*.

    1. Jenga = not too bad as can be over quickly especially when you’ve had enough and discreetly make it fall. Monopoly though – wayyyy to long! I don’t mind the games that finish quickly but can’t hack those that take hours and hours and hours ….

  15. Love the comment about how you used to be a fantastic mum and then you had children. LOL.
    I totally agree about training yourself to get up at 5am because the altenative is worse – even though you’d love to sleep until 7. I often choose the early get up option rather than push myself through the exhaution at the end of the day.
    I came to you via the How do you cope Carnival – I’ll be sticking around for a while if you don’t mind. I have to admit that I’m fascinated by enormous families.

  16. Whenever I read is I think maybe I should get up earlier and it would help me cope better. I’m always running late in the morning and stressed and grumpy and i feel like I can’t catch up. I don’t think I could do five though. I just need those extra few hours.
    What time do you go to bed? This would be my problem, I would still end up staying up too late.

    Anyway you may not be supermum, but you sound pretty amazing to me. Thanks for linking this to the blog carnival.

    1. Thanks for hosting the carnival – I’m thrilled to be a part of it!

      I am in bed by ten at the latest. Sometimes nine if I’m really shattered. It does take some training but it’s definitely worth getting into the routine of getting up earlier particularly if you find yourself getting stressed by all the things you need to get done in the mornings.

  17. Hi Tania, I read this the first time around and it made me laugh alot. I must have been too shy / distracted with yelling shouting and screaming to comment then. I love you listing your / our failings as mothers. We’re all better mums in public eh? Great to see you in the Carnival X

    1. It’s great to be a part of it too! Lovely to hear that you yell, shout and scream too but I’ve got to say that having met your boys, you are a pretty-damn-good-mother so I’m suspecting you may not be telling the whole truth 😉

  18. Really appreciate your honesty – though no matter what you say, we think you are definitely very amazing – we look up to you and your family and we’ve introduced changes to the way we do things inspired by you. My boys are now asking to make their own cheese too! xxx

  19. You just wrote all the things I am!!!!! Apart from getting up at 5, my day should start at 6.15 but if my youngest turns my alarm off for me like he did this morning then I get woken up by one of the other kids telling me its 7.30 and we have to be out the door by 8. Needles to say those mornings result in the most amount of shouting and yelling!!!!!!!!

  20. Hi Tania, I’ve just been in fits of laughter reading this thread. It sounds just like me. I’m glad I’m not on my own 🙂 my day starts at 5:30 when my hubby gets up for work, swiftly followed by my 2 eldest boys Oliver (7) and Lewis (6). I’m really not a morning person but like you said, you just have to get up and get on with it. As for the shouting and yelling, well that’s the same too! I get fed up of hearing myself say/shout the same things usually in the mornings when we’re trying to get out the door for school. I am a real mum with only 4 children, but like all of us, I do the best I can despite my faults 🙂

  21. this might sound really horrible and i dont mean it to i mean it is a nice way ( now ive confused myself) but reading that gave me some piece of mind i spent 3 years trying to push myself to this great mum this great mum i saw in a friend at the time and i kept seeing faults in everything i did and i was just upset and sad all the time thinking i didd’nt deserve my at the time child . But reading this has made me feel reassured and made me realise i just need to be the mum i can and want to be and be the mum my kids want to be , not the mum i think i should be x

    1. Nobody is perfect – nobody. We all try our best and we all have days where we tire of trying our best. We’re tired, we’re fraught and we’ve simply had it. But that’s okay because real parenting in the real world is like that.

  22. This is so good to hear! I’m constantly having the internal battle of why, when I love and chose to have my 4 children in 5 years, do I have to be a lie-in loving night owl, with a very short fuse, must be done yesterday perfectionist that shouts far too much? I have felt pressured by the ‘outside/average world to portray some Mary Poppins freakery, have the answer to everything and never feel the need to have a melt down. As I have got a little older (I had my first at 22) it has become much easier to offer a metaphorical and occasionally a physical two fingers to it all and strangely received more respect and credability as a pretty decent mum! I even get the honour of having extra kids for tea without any concern raised over me being the only person trying to herd 7 kids. Its so good to have it made clear in such an honest way that a busy mum of many, business woman, chief cook, bottle washer and all round probable expert in the unteachable art of parenting hates early starts and shouts too much, and ITS OKAY!!!!!

  23. Love this, so glad to have discovered your blog too, you are right, we push on, get things done and some days are awesome, others complete balls! At least life is never boring hey! Opa! 😉 x

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