Superwoman, Away: What the Ultimate Aspirational Female Lacks

superhero little girl

No, seriously, Superwoman. Away with you!

Let me clarify. When I was a child, I idolized Superwoman. I wanted to fly alongside Superman and save the world one imminent disaster at a time. However, at some point this “Superwoman” label was slapped onto any mother who wanted to “bring home the bacon, and fry it up in a pan.”

Has anyone seen this 80s Enjoli Perfume ad? Thank goodness for YouTube. The “8-hour perfume for the 24-hour woman” is draped in normal clothes, a suit, a Marilyn-ish white halter cocktail dress, claims she’ll be home in time to read a bedtime book to her kids, and promises she’ll never let her husband forget he’s a man. The husband is merely a voiceover who vows he’ll cook for the kids tonight. Because this is how smoothly motherhood runs on a daily basis.

Genius advertising for the right era. Especially in the last shot, where three images of this woman spray perfume across her own multiple personalities to really sell full 24-hour coverage. Wait, when does she sleep?

But as I watch the ad now, I wonder if it’s the source of all our problems. Yes, in fact, let’s just blame Enjoli.

The truth is, even if any mother is firing on all cylinders, this Superwoman Mom is an urban legend with an unlimited amount of time and energy. And seemingly can be in more than five places at once. What we as a society, and as women chasing our own dreams, seem to ignore is that this is physically impossible. Yet we strive for it anyway.

It’s our quest to have it all. Full-time mom. Full-time career. In skinny jeans before maternity leave ends. Perfectly put together at all times, while prepping Martha Stewart league gourmet meals for the family and 20 guests should they decide to pop by. Raising perfectly well-adjusted children. Effortlessly.

A good friend of mine believes people can have it all, just not at the same time. Ugh! He is male, and not American. But after the notion marinated for a while, I saw the upside. If what he said could be true, it would mean that all of my dreams could come true, but timing might not be to plan. Could I be okay with that? I think so. Could you? It’s something to consider.

There are no two ways around it. Modern day moms are torn. Something is always sacrificed. And sometimes, no matter what we choose, we still might feel the grass is always greener. Emerald green grass fertilized with entirely too much guilt.

So maybe instead of striving for this elusive uber-mom status, maybe we look to each other as our own new modern day icons. And take comfort in knowing that, as moms, we are truly all in this together.

Because, love her or hate her, Martha Stewart turned out to be far less perfect than the image she created.

And…Superwoman doesn’t have kids. — Tera Benoit

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