Here is a confession: I don’t want to become a supermom.
Every time people call me one, I am not elated, neither am I proud of somewhat earning the proverbial title. Don’t get me wrong – I am happy that people appreciate me for my efforts and recognize my achievements, but if supermom is the award for that, I’d return it gladly.
See, I am the mom of two young children currently in the most important phase of their lives – their growing up years. This is where cuddles are free, sloppy wet kisses are given without any second thoughts, laughter of joy and cries of terror echo throughout the day and the calls for “Mommy!” are abundant in the household.
This is where my legs are being tugged at every half an hour, asking for something as trivial as a cup of water or something as complicated as searching for a darn LEGO brick that has gone missing.
Every night before bed I will plan out meals for lunch and dinner in my head, and make a to-do list either in my thoughts or in my notebook. And the list never ends.
And yet, amid this chaos, I still choose to do my thing and I pursue my passion as a writer. I take up writing projects, chase deadlines, do research and meet people. Even though I do it all from home (or from a little nice café, if I feel like refreshing my mind), there is never a minute that I am not occupied.
Not to mention that I am also a life-partner. A wife to a husband, who just like any other married person, needs to be loved and cared for. And he is in fact, my pillar.
How do you get all these things done?
That is perhaps the trickiest question. I am not sure if what I have been showing in my life suggests that it is easy, but in reality it never is that breezy. There are days when I feel like giving up everything, even to the point of hiding myself from the world. Sometimes I do question myself about what I am doing, and why exactly do I need to burden myself with extra commitments and responsibilities.
However, I must say that it is doable by building my support system and not be ashamed to ask for help.
I admit, I find and ask for all the help that I can get. Shamelessly.
I don’t fancy the word “Supermom” because it sets a benchmark of being the ultimate, great mom — to have all the strength and capabilities to endure child-rearing, family-building, housekeeping and all those responsibilities related to mothers alone. If she does not perform all of these, or even shows a speck of incapability to do so, she is simply degraded into a substandard mother. Perhaps no one will ever say that to her face, but the pressure that it puts on her self-esteem is immense.
Now there is a saying that it takes a village to raise a child. I find this to be very true. If there is one thing to be thankful for, I could not thank my support system enough.
I am glad that I have never been alone in this journey. I have a husband who understands what I am doing, plays an active part in raising our children and nurturing our home, parents who support every decision that I have made in life (even when sometimes it is not necessarily to their fancy) and caring, trustworthy people who I can rely on when it comes to assisting me with childcare matters.
Naturally, these people made it all possible and help me navigate the complexity of being a mother and a dream-chaser, so to speak.
Oprah Winfrey once said that we need to surround ourselves with the people who can lift us higher. In a way, maybe I have done exactly that.
Asking for help does not make us a weak person, instead, it means that we know our strengths and weaknesses, and when to be smart enough to not let our weaknesses overcome us.
Even so, building a support system does not mean that you selfishly build it to your own advantage. Rather, it is more about nurturing your relationship with the people who want to support you, and playing the role as their support system in return.
Every woman deserves to be a mother, yet we should not forget that a woman is also a person who deserves every right to chase her dreams and play her part in the world, if that is what she also desires.
So here I am, handing you back the supermom title. But, if you insist on awarding me one, I’d settle for a smart, no-frills, realistic mom title.
Ayuni Ayatillah is a freelance writer and mother of two from Malaysia. She enjoys listening to people and writing about their stories, hoping to spread inspirational vibes whenever she can. When not writing, she’s busy running the household, daydreaming about traveling or doodling in her journal.
This article was first published by April Magazine, an online magazine for East & South East Asian Women in the World, which empowers Asian women, one voice at a time.