Taking credit for being a supermom

Being a supermom

I AM a Supermom. Yes, I said it. I do an amazing job as a mother and I am proud of it.

Mothers don’t get enough praise for the hard work they do, so I’m laying it on myself thick, thank you very much.

I am a single mother and have raised my now 12-year-old daughter Thando on my own, with a little help here and there. She visits her father on some school holidays, but the day-to-day demands stare me squarely in the face, every day. I have a very demanding full-time career but I come home every evening and make a healthy meal for my little one; chat to her about her day (there is a lot, she’s a pre-teen); check her homework; watch all her favourite TV shows on the Disney Channel and laugh uproariously at the antics of Zack and Cody, Hannah Mantana and the Wizards of Waverly Place; sing along to her Beyonce CDs and practice the dance moves with her; talk about her fears and hear all her secrets before ensuring that she goes to bed on time every night.

I’d love to lie in on weekends, but alas, she has hip-hop dance classes on Saturday mornings, followed by a birthday party or movies almost every weekend. Sundays it’s church and lunch with friends. Then Monday rolls around again and it’s back to ferrying Thando and her BFF to and from school everyday.

I am such a great mom that even Thando’s best friends come to me with all their pre-teen troubles. They can’t speak to their mothers, they tell me. They don’t come to me because I treat them like equals or friends. They still respect me as a mother figure and an adult and I have no qualms about telling them when they are out of line. But I made a conscious decision not to be the unapproachable mother that our mothers were.

I am 33-years-old and engaged but even now can’t talk to my mother about the man in my life. That door was never opened.

I do all that I do in the name of motherhood with all the love in my heart because nothing, absolutely nothing, fills my heart like seeing a smile on my child’s face.

But, I do get tired and fed up. Sometimes I get so frustrated I want to scream. Sometimes I do scream.

I miss Thando terribly when she goes away to Durban, but when I put her on that plane I give a silent cheer for the break I’m getting.

I used to be ridden with guilt when I got these feelings. I felt like, surely if you are a good mother you don’t get tired and frustrated?

Then I started talking to other mothers and found that I was not the odd one out. Phew! I realised then that not only do we all need a break, but it is absolutely necessary and crucial and enables us to function properly in our roles.

We drive ourselves so hard as mothers, single mothers especially, because we don’t want to be the mother that raised Jack the Ripper or even Candy the stripper. Sorry, exotic dancer. We are also very critical of ourselves and forget that although every once in a while we are capable of amazing acts of perfection; we are, in fact, still human.

So, during the Easter holidays while Thando was away frolicking on the beach with her cousins, having chips and ice-cream every day and no vegetables, I got to sit around in my pyjamas until midday on Saturdays. I got to do whatever I wanted; I got to be me, without the Supermom pressure.

I got to write this.

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Lihle Mtshali

Lihle Mtshali

Lihle Z Mtshali, the mother of an awesome daughter and columnist for the Sunday Times.  Find her on twitter

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14 Responses

  1. Wow, your story made me cry and it reminded me why we mom’s do the things we do and put up with the things we put up with. What a great article. Thank you Supermom.

  2. I have such respect for single moms. I am a stay-at-home mom, which is what I wanted, but boy does it get hard sometimes. My little one is headstrong and determined, and I wonder how much harder iT must be for moms who can’t unburden to a partner at the end of the day.

    Well done!

  3. wow!! Can so relate, yet I am not a single parent, but still a supermom….hubby wants to be pushed to do anything…so I decided to just stick it through, I think I sometimes think it is better to know you are alone, yet the bond between the girls (I have 3) and their dad is special to watch, but I must say….it is thoroughly exhausting, but I would not give up being a supermom, because i get so much joy out of it! Love u all supermoms……aluta continua!!

  4. supermom, your story made me cry. (i’m so exhausted, haven’t slept in DAYS, hence the easy tears, i guess 😉 i’m a single mom too. and, yes a supermom! my 2 year-old son thinks so too, i can see it in his eyes and the way he hugs me tight every time he sees me. i think we’re the lucky ones – being forced under circumstances – to spend so much quality time with our kids. hats off to you. really. HATS OFF TO YOU!

  5. Hi There,

    I am also single mom of a 13 yr old boy and 5 yr old girl and let me tell you – being a full time working mom – not easy – yet we do it cause lets face it – we do not really have a choice – but if we did – would we do it any other way? I take pride in having raised my boy completely by myself and now with shared-parenting with my daughter’s father.

    Although we face a lot of challenges – boy are we strong!

  6. Thanks so much for all the lovely comments. I wrote this because I know there are a lot of us that struggle with patting ourselves on the back every once in a while. We somehow feel like there’s something wrong with recognising that we are actually doing a super job, given whatever challenges we are facing.

    So go for it, all you supermoms, whether single or not, give yourself those kudos. We all deserve it 🙂

  7. Great read. I have a very supportive, hands on hubby & I often remark to him when I have to do all the parenting by myself when he’s away that I really admire single parents who have to be functional “noma kanjani”, dark/blue as they say ko kasi. U deserve to lay it thick gal,walk the red carpet you’ve earned it!!

  8. We share the same experiences sis…am raising a boy and girl 10 and 14 years respectively. I managed to do that for the past 8 years.Sometimes it gets so hectic but you just hold on there.HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO ALL!

  9. woooooooooow! woooooooooooow!
    its not just me huh – i used to think its because of the baby i lost that made me so hooked to my lil girl – and with her, she put the name on my face – supper mom!

  10. Great… No more feeling gulity about sending my boy to his daddy and sleeping in. Thanks sisi lovely story. We do dervese to pat ourselves for all the hard work we do for our lovely babies…

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