The Supermum Myth
The Supermum Myth is a book for every single mother out there, but especially for those who have had feelings of anxiety, guilt or failure. Yup, that’s me. It is written by Dr Rachel Andrew and Anya Hayes and published by Crimson Publishing / White Ladder Press, an independent publisher based in Bath, UK. You can purchase it on Amazon on Kindle or in Paperback.
Let’s start with the jacket description of The Supermum Myth:
As mums, we’ve all had that feeling of “not being good enough”, not measuring up to expectations of how we should be doing – where parenting is concerned this is a really unhelpful trap to fall into, and doesn’t help you or your children. It can lead to feelings of anxiety, guilt and failure. Especially if you’re attaining to be an unrealistic figure: Supermum.
What if you were able to dwell on the good stuff rather than the bad? To have confidence in your decisions, trust your gut, and let go of your skewed vision of ‘perfect parenting’? The key is to find a way to navigate through any unhelpful thought patterns, to find a more positive, healthier outlook.
When I read the blurb I thought how suitable it was for me. As a new mother I have terrible anxiety – something I’ve always suffered with but much more so since the birth of my son. It can be very hard when everyone’s Instagram and Facebook are full of their very best achievements. In part, that’s why I started reading and writing blogs – I think bloggers often show a more brutal, realistic and honest look at their lives and motherhood. My friends who post on Facebook only post their very best photos and it leads to a lot of comparisons and a nagging doubt in the back of my mind about whether I’m doing this right at all. There are just so many different opinions out there and when your son is screaming his lungs out at 4am in the morning I’ve seriously wondered what I’m doing wrong.
The Supermum Myth gives a very frank look into the emotional rollercoaster that mums can find themselves on and then provides coping methods. CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) helps you deal with intrusive, negative thoughts and turn those doubts into positive thinking. It may sound like a lot of wishy washy new age rubbish but honestly, it’s not. These mental techniques are used all over the world, including by the NHS in the UK to help those with anxiety and depression.
It’s not a parenting book that tells you how to be a better mum. You won’t find weaning tips or sleeping schedules or education talks. What you’ll find is acceptance that no one is perfect and you are doing the best job you can. You are a good mum, but you’re not supermum – no one is. She doesn’t exist, even if your next door neighbour looks like one as she waltz’s out in full makeup with three immaculate kids at 7am in the morning whilst your singleton just threw up on his third outfit of the day and you accidentally slept in yesterdays mascara and didn’t notice. It’s about learning not to make that comparison and blaming yourself when you fall short of an unobtainable goal.
You’ll find ways of exploring your own mind rationally and coping with any negative thoughts you have with practical exercises you can do over and over. It’s helped me realize I don’t need to compare myself to other mums and especially not to their Facebook highlight reel or the snippets of their life I get to see and how to cope when my brain acts like an idiot anyway.
The Supermum Myth really helped me. It gave me the confidence I needed to take a step back, breathe deep and realize that I’m not alone. I’m normal. This is life and we’re all muddling through and this is how I can handle my fears, anxiety, stress and guilt better. The exercises are simple, easy to follow and work! Dr Rachel Andrew is a clinical psychologist and clearly knows her stuff, whilst author Anya Hayes is a mum who writes in a deeply relate-able manner.
It’s not just for new mums or mums with young kids, it has sections on toddlers, school-goers and older children too. The advice it gives seems fairly timeless, but there are some specific tips and first-hand accounts that allow you to relate at various stages. After battling infertility for 8 years to conceive, the section on infertility trauma was especially helpful to me.
It’s light hearted, personal, genuine and honest, whilst dealing with some seriously heavy topics and feelings. This is the book I needed to read right now and one I would highly recommend to any mums out there who have ever struggled with self-doubt, comparisons, anxiety or felt mentally overwhelmed. Which is basically all of us at one point or another.
Note: A review copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher. This has no bearing on my review and I was not otherwise compensated for this post. Any links to Amazon on this website are affiliate links and I earn a few pennies if you buy the book after clicking through.