The Suitcase Lady


November 3, 2009, 10:13 pm

I was not a supermom. My generation of women did not have to do it all. My daughter’s generation didn’t get so lucky… they have to do it all and then a little bit more.

The responsibilities of a career, family, home and grad school are all in a day’s work for these moms. Their husbands’ schedules are alarmingly similar.

When my children were born, I happily stayed at home, never thinking I wasn’t doing a full time job. I baked cookies every Tuesday, did art projects, took the kids to the neighborhood library, cooked interesting dinners each night and volunteered for causes I believed in. When my youngest went off to preschool, I went with him as the part-time art teacher at his school. He stayed three years; I stayed nineteen.

A generation had passed, and I started a new job, Children’s Programmer (a.k.a. storyteller) for a suburban library. There I had the pleasure of meeting the most amazing supermom. She was the young head of the Physics Department at the local high school. A fierce proponent of women in the sciences, she encouraged scores of girls to take the advanced science courses. She was also the faculty advisory for the school prom.

Nevertheless, for years she faithfully brought her three young sons to Wednesday night 6:30 story hour and joined in with gusto. One evening after the program, she cheerfully told me she was going to head home and make brownies for her oldest son’s kindergarten class. This is also the woman who put on a sensational “Ms. Wizard” science show for our summer library patio nights.

My daughter’s generation superbly juggles multiple jobs… with one exception. They don’t do sleep well, never having time to practice.

I raise my glass to all of you; you’re amazing! Now, meet a friend after work for “tea time” one of these days. And the tea doesn’t have to be tea.

4 Comments for this entry

  • Alan

    Here, here! Jen is a supermom, but she must have learned something about juggling from you, Mary. We keep telling ourselves that sleep is overrated, but that’s a coping mechanism. We really miss sleeping in on weekends!

  • Diane

    Mary, You really hit home for me! As last night I probably had about 5 hours of sleep. Up until Midnight with my daughter who was completing her hours and hours of Biology homework. Not only are we mom’s overworked, I see my young 16 year old daughter being pushed to the limits by the curriculum load. I’m a huge proponent of education, but I wonder where her childhood has gone. There doesn’t seem to be much time left for having fun and just being a kid! My goal is to “schedule” some strictly creative, fun time for her…just as soon as we can find the time! :)

  • Sutapa

    I don’t consider myself a supermom, just a mom who happens to have a wonderful kid and a fulfilling career outside the home. If I called myself a supermom Jim would have to call himself superdad. Jim and I share all the excitement, joys and stress of being parents and managing demanding careers. I don’t feel any more overworked than him. Would we get more sleep if one of us chose to not work outside the home — I don’t think so :)

  • Mara

    Well I do want to raise my glass to my mother first of all, who is mother of 8, dedicated to take care of us all her life. I love her for that.
    Also for my 3 sisters, two married, one single. They have raised their kids as working married and single moms. I still don’t know how they do it. Three of my nieces are in College now, one soon to be a Lawyer, the other one studying architecture and the youngest studying marketing, the younger nephew is in highschool. Living in a Country like Mexico, raising children can get really difficult. So, Cheers for my mom and sisters! Love them all!