Last week, I arrived at school to pick up my son. I was pushing my baby girl in her pretty teal pram (it’s new and I’m obsessed – but that’s another story).

I found myself on the edge of the playground with my best friend and a couple of acquaintances while our kids blew off some post-school steam before heading home.

I’d just finished putting together a really big project for work that afternoon and I’d barely slept for days as I pushed to meet the deadline while dealing with a teething baby and a primary schooler with severe allergies.

I don’t think either of them had slept for more than half an hour at a time either.

My best friend asked me how I was going with everything as I found myself nodding off while gently rocking the pram in the shade of the sun sail. “I sent it off about 15 minutes ago”, I said. “I’m exhausted.” I was hiding the dark rings under my eyes behind sunglasses and secretly hoping that my shirt wasn’t inside out as I realised I had no idea if my clothes were even clean. My best friend congratulated me and agreed that it must be a relief that it was done. I smiled dazedly and closed my eyes for a moment as my baby girl chatted to my friend.

One of my acquaintances overheard me talking about my project work and being vaguely aware of the work that I do commented to the group in general, “Oh yes, Zoë is a Super Mum. She does everything! Runs her own business, is the editor of a magazine, manages a business group, is studying at university and looks after her kids! A Super Mum!”

It was meant as a compliment, I’m sure. The mum is very nice and I just smiled and shook my head laughing awkwardly, but my hackles silently rose.

I am no different to any other Mum doing the best they can.

I work long hours, but being self-employed, I choose when those hours are and I can usually work from home. My house is usually a bit of a mess, I’m behind on the washing, we eat take awayway too often and I’m really not a very good wife… because I’m just so tired.

I can go to my son’s school events and play with my daughter in the middle of the day, I make the effort to play soccer or Xbox or… something… anything to assuage my guilt… with my kids each day and read bedtime stories, but in between all that, I can have a short fuse; tiredness makes me cranky.

I’m good at my job. I’m organised, well-presented (except for that one time my top was on backwards but my bub was only new and I totally blame her!), well connected and creative. This is the zone of my life where I am in control, I’m the expert, I’m respected.

No one throws food at me when I’m in a client appointment.

But I’m often up until three or four in the morning working on client work because I don’t have the time during the day for a full work day which means getting up for school drop off (I’m not a morning person at the best of times!) is a challenge and we are always rushed and often late.

Oh… and I haven’t started my uni thesis which was due last Friday (I’m blessed with amazing course leaders who are generous with extensions).

I am not a Super Mum. I’m holding everything together with duct tape and bubble wrap. Just like most mums I know.

In the business world, we call this the glorification of busy. The same principal applies to parenting – the more you do, the more you are lauded. Stop glorifying quantity. We need to focus on quality.

I’m doing the very best I can and I often drop balls as I juggle them all to put food on our table and to be there for my kids.

Often, my work comes first because without it, my kids won’t eat, and I feel tremendous guilt for that. Please don’t call me Super Mum.

I am many things to many people, but my favourite title is just “Mum”.

Do you get called a ‘super mum’. Do you enjoy being called that?

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  • i agree….we all try our best and some days are better then others.


  • Yep, I’m with you, we are all super women! It’s a hard job being a parent and we don’t always get it right, but the trick is to keep trying and don’t give up. You can’t cos your kids depend on you


  • I agree, all mums are super! Some mums look like their coping beautifully with a lot going on around them and it’s quite impressive to look at.


  • It certainly can be challenging being a working parent. Thankfully, most of us find a way to muddle through


  • Only just read this but I love it. We all just keep on keeping on the very best we know how and doing what we think is best for our own family. Any Mum slugging it out at work or home is pretty super though.


  • When someone makes this remark, it’s just meant as a compliment. You can accept/ receive a compliment or lay it aside and not do anything with it. But no need to take offense.


  • We’re all super mums in my opinion!!


  • Many of us are doing a good job at raising a family as well as a myriad of other tasks. We don’t need to be called super mum, but it’s nice to know our efforts are appreciated.


  • Every mother is a super mum – we all do so many things and later on we look back and wonder how we did it. You know what. We did it because we had to and it was there to do.


  • In that sense, we’re all super mums. I couldn’t handle doing all that myself, though. Amazing.


  • No, but I appreciate other mums who tell me when I’m doing a good job.


  • I have been called similar things and it always makes me very uncomfortable. Yes I do a lot (full time employment, casual fitness instructor/swim instructor, mum to two boys and wife of a shift worker) but I feel the guilt of not being perfect at anytime and yet don’t feel whole if I don’t have an element of all this in my life. We all do the best we can every day so I don’t think we need labels.


  • Nope. Never been called a super mum. Maybe that';s because i don’t work so people don’t value me the same way. You can only be super mum if you do everything.


  • I have hear it all as a working mum with four children. I meal plan and shop for groceries online to save time. I put my children first and wish that didn’t need to work so I could spend more time isth my children.
    I’m one of the few mums as my children’s school that actually works and I alway hear the ” how do you do it”, along with so when are you having your next child!
    We are all mums and all different, hate the way others either judge or try to say the right thing especially when you are exhausted and have sixty thnigs going in your head not to forget.


  • Thank you for this article. I am a mum of 1, expecting number 2 in less than 2 months. I work full time (often long hours at work and at home), study part time and keep the household running as best as possible. I get called a Super Mum all the time and I hate it. I don’t spend nearly as much time with my son as I would like, adult time with hubby gets eaten up with textbooks and client emails, meal time is sometimes just crackers and cheese because I haven’t had time to do a full grocery shop or prepare a meal, I am so behind on laundry I had to duck down to Kmart (bless 24 hour Kmart) before a recent interstate weekend away to buy clothes for my toddler because he had run out of clean clothes, I can’t remember if I had a shower today… you get my drift! Despite what it looks like on paper I too am just a Mum trying to do the very best I can just like every other Mum out there.

    • Haha! I read this comment and thought “Oh my goodness I have a parenting twin!” – this is exactly how I feel! We are all doing the best we can and we all feel guilty for what we aren’t doing. Time to just “be”, I think :)

      (Mind you, I type this reply at 1:40am on a Friday night not because I’ve been up partying, but because I’m working on client orders I didn’t get to complete today because of clingy children!)


  • I think all mums and dads are super, now and in the past. (Well most of us) We all work so hard to do well in life and make sure our children also have a good life presently and in the future. I always say to new parents to be: “Do not listen to others comments too closely, Just smile and nod, just try and do the best you can”


  • I really hate the term ‘Super Mum’ or ‘Super’ anything really. We all do the best we can with what we have. I work 3 days a week from home so I’ve been able to do the school thing with my son as well – reading, fundraising, etc. I have a cleaner because my days off are more important to me to do other things than clean my house. I’m not super. I’m organised. But there are certainly times when I have deadlines or have to travel interstate for week, or attend meetings over the other side of town. Then I have to juggle, and organise so that everything for the family fits in and works. I’m not super. I just do what I can to make it all work.


  • We are all supermums in our own way – please accept what you were called by one of your acquaintances who quite probably was in awe of what you were doing in comparison to what they were doing. We tend to think less of ourselves sometimes – I had 4 children and a career – but never thought supermum applied to me – then one of my friends said but I don’t have a career, so I’m not a supermum, and I said but if my house was as immaculate as yours is then you might call me supermum. We are still best friends today because we both realise where our true strengths laid.


  • We are all super mums doing the best we can and that is perfectly fine.


  • Thank you all for your feedback (good and bad)! I do think that I need to clarify that I wasn’t offended by being called a “Supermum” and I took it as a compliment as I am sure that was (and continues to be) how it is meant. However, my hackles did rise because I felt like I was becoming the basis of comparison – why do we have to compare each other? Why am I “super” in comparison to a stay at home mum who is working her butt of taking of and entertaining her children for example? I also felt guilty because I felt that being a mum was where I felt I was failing (ie being far from “super”) – I was a super business woman maybe, but not a super mum. If being called a super mum fits you and you love it, more power to you! Just please don’t call me a super mum – I’m not one. I’m just doing the best I can and everything on the home-front is being held together with a little duct tape (and a whole lot of love).

    • Thank you again Zoe for the article. I completely understood the context of your article. Not all offended; in fact, quite the opposite! Good on you for writing an article that has caused discussion – always a good thing. Looking forward to reading more of your articles. :)

      • thanks for the article. i think that it was well written and honest! i hope to see more articles from you in the future! :)

      • Think one of the things a lot of woman can do quite well is comparing or putting themselves down, probably out of insecurity and low self-esteem. Personally I think it’s just very interesting how we all come from different backgrounds and had different influences impacting our lives which turned us in the woman we are with different passions, drives, motives and strengths. People have their opinion, but in the end of the day the opinion of other people is not that important at all :)


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