Supermum – it’s all your fault.

Yep, Supermum, you bring it all on yourself.

“Mums have an innate aspiration to do it all and a secret desire to be superwoman,” said Carley Roney, editor in chief of

I think my secret desire to be superwoman has gone missing. If anyone finds it, please lose it again stat.

“It’s not just that women can’t ask for help; they don’t want to,” said Meghan Casserly, a reporter for ForbesWoman. “She feels it’s damaging her sense of motherhood to ask for help. And it’s causing resentment.”

I do want to ask for help and I do ask for help. In fact some times I get really angry and go beyond asking for help and into demanding that you do it your bloody self. I don’t feel that it’s damaging to my sense of motherhood at all. In fact, since having children, my ideas of motherhood have quite changed from what I imagined them to be. Since becoming a blogger they have changed again, especially with the advent of FB and Twitter. Just lately I have been encouraged and influenced by Bluemilk’s series on Feminist Motherhood , which just quietly is fucking brilliant, and @Mimbles‘ comments about training her children to be live in staff (tongue in cheek, but informative none the less).

To clear up their resentment, which could lead to further problems, Casserly said women need to have an honest conversation with their partners about housework.

“It might take some swallowing of their pride. Open communication is the first step to divvying up those chores and warding off any resentment,” she said.

Does anyone seriously not know this by now?# Am I being harsh on these women or are they actually straw-women? Is this just another not so subtle way to blame women for shouldering the burden of housework? What would happen if mothers/wives all just stopped? If the kids lunches weren’t packed, if the washing up not done or the dishwasher not packed, if the floors were dirty and the vacuum cleaner gathering dust and the toilet smelled? Would the average Nigel look to himself to clean up or would he be looking in his female partner’s* direction, wondering what the hell she thought she was doing and why his shirts weren’t even goddamned washed, much less ironed?

Not that I stand entirely blameless. It was a long time before I stopped ironing myNigel’s shirts, and now he does the bulk of the ironing at our house. We rarely iron anything but work clothes. I have recently stopped doing his washing with the family washing, after getting fed up with him leaving his ironing on the lounge for over a week. I plan to show my children how to use the washing machine when they reach 10. Happy Birthday darling, here’s how to use the washing machine. I suspect that my daughter will probably start when her older brother does. I will let her. I hope not only to produce children able to look after themselves, but also children who won’t accept another able adult expecting them to do it all.

#This is different of course to being in a situation where the common advice would be to talk about it, but the consequences of attempting to do that are not worth it.

* I realise that not everyone is in a standard heterosex relationship, I’m just trying to respond to this article on its terms. I apologise unreservedly if anyone feels erased.

SoTBO – I know there are men out there who are not only capable of looking after themselves, but do, and not only that also do more than 50% of the housework at their place. This post is not about you/them.

Categories: Life, parenting, relationships, work and family

Tags: , , ,

13 replies

  1. I think my missing secret desire to be superwoman is down the pub, despondently drowning its sorrows at being unfulfilled.

  2. I think my superwoman desire might be the mouldy thing at the back of my fridge.

  3. Ohhhh, maybe that’s what’s lurking in the cats’ litter box.

  4. My missing secret desire to be superwoman is locked away in my mother’s hope chest.

  5. My missing desire to be Superwoman is temporarily sated after a glorious night playing at the pub with my friends and bandmates while the kids stay neglected at home and drink the bong water (Hey, the last four words were a joke, ASIO people reading this. Also, they are fourteen and nineteen.) Nigel? Fuck knows where he is tonight.

  6. I was going to comment, but I can’t because I am laughing too much.

  7. I made David (aged 14) cook a cake tonight because he complained that there were no snacks for school tomorrow. Packet mix admittedly, but still!

  8. It’s our PRIDE that makes us not ask? How about being bloody tired of having to ask? There aren’t any other grown-ups in the house?
    I just hate the way I’ve conducted myself on this issue, it was bad for the marriage, bad for me and especially bad for my son. I stayed at home during the early years and I did everything but Mr. Dirt’s personal laundry. When I went to grad school, I shortly thereafter got a full-time job so was going to school at night and working during the day and doing the household shit on the weekends because I just didn’t have the energy to fight the fights over and over again since I’d been doing it for years. When I was home household work was mine because I was home, when I went back to work household work was mine because I was the expert.
    Yes, I should have fought more but it wasn’t pride in being SuperMom that held me back, it was lack of energy and will for the struggle. And I do blame myself for that.

  9. I think mine is at the bottom of the craft box, hidden among all the half started school holiday projects.
    It took years and years to get my Nigel to understand that it wasn’t okay for him to say, “Look, just ask and I’ll do whatever you want.” It was an exhausting effort in itself.

  10. And of course, women never get the slightest flack when they do ask, oh no, that couldn’t have anything to do with anything.

  11. How do we blame mothers? Let me count the ways….
    My SuperMum desire is not so much AWOL as totally non-existent.
    OTD – I think you have a good case for externalising that blame.

  12. I think you’re right Mindy, much of this stuff is pulling its punches. If it doesn’t feel liberating, it isn’t.
    Also, thank you for saying such lovely things about my feminist motherhood series/blog.

  13. “I plan to show my children how to use the washing machine when they reach 10. Happy Birthday darling, here’s how to use the washing machine.”
    I love it. Who wouldn’t rather teach their kids to be capable?

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