Summary: Statistics show that most women now work paying jobs outside the home in addition to bearing the bulk of responsibility for raising kids and fulfilling household duties. Unfortunately, no woman can be a "supermom" and survive. The Bible teaches balance.
Title: “Supermom Syndrome”
Text: Proverbs 31: 10-31, Selected Verses
Date: May 12, 2002
Faster than a toddler in toy store.
More powerful than a teenager’s attitude.
Able to leap from work to dance lessons to dinner preparations to toilet training to toilet cleaning to teacher conferences to the pediatrician’s office to helping with homework to bed and to breakfast and to work again ALL in a single bound......she’s SUPERMOM!
You know, they say that “Spiderman” broke all the box office records for an opening weekend a few days ago, but I guarantee you that IF there were such a superhero as “supermom,” a film about her would draw in
hundreds of millions of dollars IF the women who wanted to see it could find reliable babysitters!
My friends, today is Mother’s Day, and although I’m sure there are plenty of mothers out there who would like to THINK that they can be a supermom, the simple fact of the matter is, like Spiderman and Superman, SUPERMOM doesn’t exist! She’s a figment of our imaginations! There simply is no such woman - although many mothers try.
In fact, as I’ve observed the lives of many mothers these days, I’ve seen plenty of women who have what you might call “supermom syndrome.”
And since “supermom syndrome” hasn’t been officially recognized as a mental illness by the American Psychological Association or the American Psychiatric Association, what I’d like to do is spend a few minutes defining it for you today.
And as we define what the symptoms of “supermom syndrome” look like today, we’re also going to look at the medicine that the Bible prescribes which can help a mother be healed of this ailment whenever it starts to take over her life.
So, what I’d like you to notice first of all then is that a woman who is suffering from “supermom syndrome” will often hold on to the belief that she can DO IT ALL.
Tom Eisenman describes the typical day of a woman suffering from supermom syndrome and it might look like this:
She gets up before dawn to begin her nonstop day. She will set out breakfast for the family and then pack lunches, scrub faces, coach last-minute unfinished homework, chauffeur children, change diapers, mix
baby formula, scrub floors, wash windows, do laundry, scour the bathrooms and toilets, feed the hamster, let the dog out, let the dog in, let the plumber into the neighbor’s house, cheer the soccer team, bandage scrapes, wipe noses, be a den mother, fix dinner, do dishes, attend school meetings, send a Mother’s Day card to her mother-in-law, referee sibling fights, bathe children, read them stories and tuck them in, finish some accounting work for her job, sew on a couple of buttons, put the finishing touches on a devotional for her small group Bible study in the morning, and fall into bed at midnight.
If a mom works outside the home, she will generally be trying to keep up with all this by cramming it into her second shift, the shift that begins the instant she walks in the door from work.
You see, my friends: women who have supermom syndrome THINK they can do it all. And guess what, the Bible even reinforces this image that many Christian mothers have of themselves as we heard in our scripture reading just a few moments ago from the book of Proverbs, chapter 31. I mean just listen to some of the things the Bible says about the ideal wife and mother:
▸ She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
▸ She gets up while it is still dark;
▸ she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.
▸ She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
▸ She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
▸ She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.
▸ She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
▸ she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
▸ She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.
▸ She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
▸ She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
▸ She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”
So, how do you feel about that last line there? “She does not eat the bread of idleness.” Now if you’ve ever met a woman trying to be supermom, you know that she LIVES and DIES by that line!
And I believe all this raises an interesting question for the Christian mother, and the question is this: If this is the description the Bible gives us of the “ideal wife and mother,” then does that mean that it’s OK for a mother to attempt to be a supermom? Does this mean that supermom syndrome is actually a promise from God rather than a problem to be avoided?