I’m more than a little grateful for the decades of mothers who had to endure comparisons to the hypothetical “Supermom.” And I’m so happy that I’m not one of them.
Supermom was a gourmet cook, a natural nurturer, a fantastically successful businesswoman, and an accomplished athlete. Plus, she was hot. And she was all of these things at once! Of course, she didn’t really exist. But that didn’t stop generations of women from pursuing her ideal. I feel like moms today have finally recognized that being a true “Supermom” isn’t about pursuing ALL of those things but instead embracing the best parts of ourselves and letting go of being EVERYTHING.
Consequently, I now have mom friends that I admire for different reasons. Some are wildly successful professionally. Others are really fun and crafty. Some are amazing bakers, while others are healthy cooks. Some are amazing decorators. Some are competitive athletes. Some seem to have life all figured out (I call them “Zen moms”). I’m surrounded by talented, wonderful women who have found their own ways to live beautifully and to be mothers to their children.
All of these moms that I admire love their children. All of them have found ways to nurture their children’s health and kindness and creativity and talents, and all of them are just really good people. I think that’s the baseline.
D-moms can be like that too. I think sometimes when we have a child with type 1 diabetes, we go through phases. In the early months, we’re so overwhelmed that “survival” is our phase. Thankfully, we make it through that early time, but then we begin to see really exceptional mothers all around us. And maybe some of us start feeling inadequate.
Let me tell you about some of my amazing D-mom friends, both in real life and those that I know online. I have one friend who I’ll call “Advocate Mom.” Since her child’s diagnosis, she’s started working for the JDRF as an event promoter. She also works with families who have been recently diagnosed.
Another friend is “Carb-Counting Queen.” She’s decided that physically nourishing her D-child is a top priority. This family eats better than anyone I know.
Then there’s my “Queen Bee” D-mom friend. She’s the social hub of my network. She sets up fun events and is always the life of the party.
On a smaller scale, I have D-mom friends who are great at staying up to date on various aspects of diabetes. I have a “tech” friend that always knows the newest products and innovations on the horizon. She’s somewhat like my other friend who works in the physical sciences and is a great source for hearing about the latest clinical trials.
Then there’s my soccer-mom friend who rocks at knowing how to handle D-kids and sports. And that one friend who doesn’t let diabetes slow the family down at all; despite having five kids, one with diabetes, she is a whirlwind of activities and fun. (Oh yeah, that friend is Kim!)
The thing is, none of my friends are ALL of these things. Instead, they excel at certain aspects of diabetes management. To be a good D-mom you DON’T have to be good at everything! It isn’t possible, so don’t try! Instead, focus on making sure you handle the basics. Are you making sure your D-kid is happy and adjusted? Do you perform the basics of diabetes management (counting carbs, checking blood sugar, administering insulin)? All the rest of it, that’s a bonus — a blessing to the lives of those around you.
I’ve personally benefitted from my community (cyber and IRL) of D-mom friends. I’ve learned to use almond flour in my pancakes. I try new techniques for blood sugar management at sports games. I attend formal outreach events and casual mom get-togethers. My mom friends are my heroes, and they make my life richer just by following their own passions.
You can contribute in your own way to making your life and the life of your D-kid better. No need to worry about being Super Diabetes Mom. Nobody can be that, and nobody needs that pressure. You’ll find your own path. You’ll be a blessing to another D-mom someday. In the meantime, enjoy this wonderful modern era of sharing and community and forget about pursuing the legend of Supermom. I think (thankfully) she never existed.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.