For one, just the idea of getting into that lycra super costume sends shivers down my spine or rather gives me heat boils. And the fact that I will have to peel it off my skin just to get out of it is what my worst nightmares are made of. I can bet that if Superwoman had been relocated to the sweltering Mumbai humidity, she would have asked for a mulmul cape to fight desi goons on the job.
Jokes apart, this Supermom tag has done more harm than good. Every year on Mother’s Day there are posts ‘celebrating’ mothers with multiple arms doing myriad chores almost deifying and devifying her. I would prefer instead to be depicted as a spider with eight tentacles instead of arms and pick on all those people one by one, who have dumped all their chores on me.
The moment I think of a Supermom, I visualise a juggler with too many balls up in the air. And that there will come a time very soon when one of those balls will be dropped and the title, the costume and the cape will be snatched from her and given to the next woman ready to dance the dance.
Do you know what happens to stories when they are told again and again? They become truths. Myths become facts. And the idea of a supermom – a figment of someone’s imagination becomes an idea to aspire to because haven’t we at one time or another complimented a woman saying that she is a superwoman or even basked in the compliment if it was given to us?
Who wouldn’t want to be super? But just like those glorified job titles these days, this one too is all work and no power.
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The more we perpetuate the myth that we have it all under control, the more this society seems to demand from us. The more ‘put together’ we are, the more it is expected of us.
After all, what is the worst that could happen if we drop that ball? Perhaps it will roll away in some discreet corner of our world until someone else in our lives decides to pick it up and juggle with it. Drop that ball. And that guilt. Learn to say no. All it would require is a few adjustments from people around you. Let them grumble for a while until they accept (or not) this new avatar of yours and realise that just by bestowing that Superwoman title on you, they cannot escape their own responsibilities.
So what if your put-together groomed appearance is replaced by the real pajama-wearing you? What if your job or lack of one does not really define who you are? What if your child’s report card does not reflect your score? What if someone turned on the lights in your carefully curated Instagram vegan diet window and revealed you with a tub full of ice cream in your hand because you felt like giving in or simply giving up?
What is so wrong in giving up? Or even in failing? And in admitting your failures? As far as you dry your eyes after a while, pick up the pieces and move on again, that’s a job done superbly enough. Because as we all know that lycra costume would stretch only that far.
But if you still love that costume so much, don’t throw it away. Not just yet. Put it on once in a while for role play. But remember, there is no costume change in the world that you require to be your most authentic self. All you need is to change your perspective and to understand that whether or not you have the costume, you still have the power to be you.
So, if you are that woman who agrees, repeat after me. I am not a Superwoman. I am a woman. And that’s enough.