BERN: 'I've never helped at the canteen' + 5 other reasons why I'm not a 'Supermum'.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane… it’s supermum! (We don’t know who this woman is, but apparently she’s Supermum!)




I overheard some ladies at school the other day declaring loudly that “She is a total Supermum, so organised and always immaculate”.

Oh, they weren’t talking about me, no they were discussing some other mother that is on the P & F committee, helps in the classroom on a daily basis and who had just dropped off some home baked biscuits en route to her personal training session.  And I was suddenly wondering, what then, exactly determines the calibre of a ‘Supermum’. I mean, is she easily identified with a cape and kick arse boots? What would her kryptonite be – projectile vomit and upturned Lego?

More to the point, what do I have to do to be considered a Supermum?

My own life is kinda nuts. I have three children and I have a full time day job plus I write for various establishments in my “spare” time.  When I get home, usually around 6:30pm, I am generally greeted with at least one semi-naked child kicking a football perilously close to the television and another one that has a thousand tales about his day that he needs to deliver, right to my face, as I walk on in. The other one, the teenager, is usually AWOL. Presumably in her room ragging on me to her friends via Skype about how I STILL won’t allow her to buy a thousand dollar smartphone.  My husband is in the foetal position in the corner.  Kidding, he’s on the couch, watching Antiques Roadshow.

We then generally eat dinner that has been prepared by my husband (he does nights, I do mornings).  We all sit and we talk about our days, generally shouting to be heard over one another or above the TV which is kept on as background noise. One of us will wash up or no one does.  Then one of the adults will run a bath and one of us will help the 6 year old with his home reader and occasionally I’ll have to help the 13 year old with her Algebra and even though I work with numbers all day, I generally have NFI how to do this.


Around 1.5 hours after arriving home, the children go to bed. They don’t go to sleep of course. They dick around doing GOD knows what and are given at least 3 empty threats before they pass out for the night. This is around the time my husband and I look at each other lovingly on the couch and snog. TOTALLY KIDDING. We just sit and exhale. And then I mostly start working on the other stuff.  And he puts on Antiques Roadshow.

Bern with her daughter.

I’m the first one to say here – none of the above is putting me in the contention for the title of Supermum.

A few examples:

1. Only this week I sent my son to school packed for a two day excursion only to receive a phone call to alert me to the fact that if I’d read the latest notes in my son’s bag, I would have realised that this trip had been postposed. For a month.

2. My children don’t always eat meals that would be given the Heart Foundation Tick of approval.

3. I’ll admit we don’t always check on their tooth brushing techniques.

4. When my children have had to bring a “plate” for certain events at school, they’ve occasionally turned up with a bag of Doritos.

5. On more than one occasion I’ve sent them to school with a 50/50 chance that I’m going to get a call to collect them when the Nurofen wears off.


6. I’ve never helped at the Canteen, not because I don’t want to, but because I’ve just never been able to.

Here’s the thing – I think we are all, as parents, just trying to do our best in the circumstances in which we’ve found ourselves. I’d like to think if I didn’t work I’d be helping out at school or at the Salvos or just doing something righteous. Often though, I feel like I’m just trying to keep up. And not let them down.

The worst thing is that a lot of Mums think they have to keep up the illusion of how on top of things they are, the illusion of how “together” they are. This is mainly though just to fool each other, when in reality, all they are doing is fooling themselves. It’s like they are trying to almost “out-Mum” each other (Yes I did just make up a word – be cool).

Can I tell you though, how nice it is, and this is from experience, to just flop down on a couch, shove some Monte Carlos in your face and admit that things are a bit shit. That sometimes little Katherine drives you up the fucking wall with her 100th rendition of I’m a Little Teapot.  That this is totally OKAY.

I think, and hey, I’m no expert, but I think, if you are teaching your child to be tolerant, fair, loving and have compassion, then you are a freaking Supermum. Don’t get me wrong, the home baked biscuits are nice touch, sure, but nothing beats just loving your kids and doing the best you can for them with what you’ve got.

What disqualifies you from being a supermum? Go on, fess up.