I don’t know about you, but I’m not the type of Super-Mom that has dinner on the table at promptly 6:30pm every evening, my home is not always immaculate (read: never), and I yell at my kids way too much.
But. Last week, after a conversation with my 11-year-old daughter, I realized that I am Super-Mom. And I bet you are too. You may just not know it.
For the record, before I get into any details, I did receive permission from my 11-year-old to share this story with you (‘cause you know, that’s what Super-Moms do).
So last week, my kid comes home feeling pretty miserable saying that life is unfair. She tells me that she has to work so hard and get ok grades while her friend just breezes through her schoolwork and is one of the best students in the class. “It’s just not fair,” she says.
And I agree. It’s not fair. Life isn’t fair. C’est la vie. Get over it.
But that’s not what I say.
A Super-Mom lets her kids know she’s on their side
I tell my daughter that I know exactly what she means. I never had good marks in school. And it’s really frustrating.
She knows I’m on her side.
A Super-Mom Empowers
But then my daughter tells me that maybe all her work is pointless. And maybe she doesn’t really need to work hard.
No dice. She’ll have to keep working.
“But why?” she whines.
And so I tell her, the truth about smart kids and success.
I tell her that she has an advantage over all those really smart kids that don’t have to work hard.
The advantage is that she knows how to work hard. She knows that brains are important. But she also knows that brains are rarely enough. Achieving anything worth achieving takes plenty of hard work. And she knows how to work hard, stick with it, and keep working hard.
And that, I tell her, is exactly what will set her apart from the kids who are breezing through school.
Many of the kids who don’t have to work hard think they can get by on just their brains. But it’s those kids who will be the first to give up when things start getting difficult. Because all of a sudden they’ll think that they’re not smart enough and that they can’t do it.
“But you,” I told her “you’re a different story. Because you’re only eleven. And you already know that it doesn’t matter that you’re smart. You know that you have to work hard.”
My daughter listened for a moment and thought. And then told me that I was right.
I was kind of surprised because I thought she’d have to wait a few good years to learn that I’m right.
Instead she told me that there’s one subject that her friend has trouble with. And in that subject she doesn’t even try. She went on to tell me that her friend’s mother doesn’t push her to try because that subject was also difficult for her.
A Super-Mom makes her kid feel like a champ
I then reminded my daughter about the time she came home saying she has a spelling test in English and that she’s not going to study the bonus words because there are too many words on the test as it is.
I quickly let her know that she would study the words for the test, as well as the bonus words. I told her that I couldn’t care less about her grade, but she was going to study everything that was on the test and just do her best.
We studied together and we studied hard.
I asked my daughter if she remembered what she got.
“Of course,” she said proudly “I got 108.”
So what have you learned? I asked her.
“That it’s better to work hard.”
So that day I realized that I am in fact Super-Mom (sometimes). Sure, it was around six and I hadn’t yet thought about dinner, the house was a mess and I was about to yell at my kids to come do dishes and fix the table.
But. There’s no doubt in my mind that I am raising a strong, smart and brave daughter who will someday become a strong smart and brave woman, dare I say, leader.
But that’s not my point.
My point is that our current definition of Super-Mom is wrong. And that we have to change it. It is very clear to me that Super-Mom status is achieved when we raise our children to be kind, believe in themselves, work hard and be the best that they can be, among other things. The time we serve dinner, the state of our homes and how much we yell at our kids has nothing to do with our super-hero status.
[What I told my daughter is in fact backed by studies done by Dr. Carol Dweck. You can hear a bit about it in this TED talk.]
What’s your Super-Mom story? Please share it in the comments section below.