The Supermom Syndrome and Its Effects on Real Moms
Dr. Renuka Dangare

Dr. Renuka Dangare

Jul 06Motherhood

The Supermom Syndrome and Its Effects on Real Moms

In a world where Instagram is filled with ‘supermom influencers’ who claim to have it all - perfectly dressed children, the fittest postpartum bodies, the most well-organized houses it is impossible for women to not feel inadequate about their own parenting and lifestyle.

But real life doesn't have to be as glamorous as they make it seem. Sometimes being a messy mama is more beneficial than being a supermom!

What is Supermom Syndrome?

“Supermom Syndrome” refers to a mother's constant need to accomplish everything possible perfectly, often setting unattainable goals for herself.

Tell-tale signs of Supermom Syndrome:

  • Everything relating to the household has to be in perfect condition all the time
  • Setting unrealistic expectations from yourself and your children
  • Unwillingness to delegate even low priority tasks and taking it all upon oneself
  • Trying to be perfect all the time
  • Putting yourself last
  • Having homes that look neatly organised
  • Having a well-stocked fridge
  • Always wanting to be that perfect host
  • Kids look their best all the time

What does it result in?

The overwhelming effort to be perfect all the time results in frequent outbursts of frustration and resentment and proves to be counterproductive. It may also manifest in the following ways:

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Changes in appetite, missing meals or having meals devoid of essential nutrients
  • Having poor skin, hair and nails as a consequence of poor nutrition
  • Increased postpartum hair fall
  • Feeling depressed
  • Feeling anxious or on the edge, if ALL of their plans don't go through
  • Irritability if things don't go as per schedule
  • Lack of interest in any self-care activities
  • Headaches, body aches and migraines appear more frequently

A few things that may provoke this behaviour in mothers are:

  • Peer pressure: Seeing other moms achieving things that are aspirational for you.
  • Family pressure: The need to feel the happiest and do their best because "what more do you need to be happy?"
  • Not having fully accepted their post-partum bodies or grieved their pre-pregnancy bodies
  • Feeling like you are now individually responsible for all of your family's happiness
  • Taking your children's disappointment personally
  • Having to quit or take a break from work not by choice


Stay-at-home mothers Vs. working mothers

Stay at home mothers are either praised for their commitment to their families or are harshly judged for giving up their identities for their family.

Similarly working mothers are constantly scrutinized for choosing to have their own identities outside their children and family.

Both however face the unrealistic and unfair pressure to 'have it all'

How to break free from this unrealistic expectation?

Breaking free of the Supermom Syndrome is not difficult. The first step requires simply to acknowledge that you don't need to be the perfect mother, wife, friend. It’s as much of a self-imposed expectation as it is a societal expectation. You need to accept that while it is completely normal to feel like it is your responsibility to make sure everything is perfect - you should know you are only human and you’re doing the best you can.

Why being a Supermom can prove to be counterproductive? 

Supermom Syndrome ends up hurting women: The Supermom Syndrome is a concept which places unrealistic expectations on women and reinforces the idea that moms need to be perfect all the time. Often such mothers unknowingly go lengths only to prove they’re perfect and flawless even at the cost of their own emotional well-being. The delusional belief that as a mother she is capable of doing everything all by herself often proves to be counterproductive.

Supermoms hurt partners: The "I-can-do-it-all-by-myself" approach of Supermoms can put a strain on the relationship with the partner. Unlike co-parenting where there is a healthy sharing of responsibilities, Supermoms often end up being stressed-out moms. Healthy co-parenting techniques always require sharing the load and taking care of children together as a team. Holding a family meeting and discussing upcoming responsibilities can be a healthy way to fend off stress and conflict that may crop up in a relationship when taking care of children’s needs.

Ways to be the best mom but also a mom that takes care of herself!

Delegate responsibilities: Make sure you delegate responsibilities instead of taking up all responsibilities on your shoulders.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself: Self-care is key to balancing the different roles a mom has to play.

Don’t compare yourself with others: Don’t put undue pressure on yourself by comparing yourself with others.

Ask for help when needed: Make sure you ask for help whenever needed and involve your partner in the joyful task of parenting.

Appreciate your efforts instead of being critical: Don’t be critical of yourself for not being perfect all the time.

Share your story: Often sharing your story with other parents can help you break the ‘Supermom Syndrome’.

Avoid the peer pressure trap: Seeing other moms achieving stuff that you aspire for too.

Avoid disappointments: Do not take your children’s disappointments personally.

To all the mothers reading this, we acknowledge and appreciate the effort you put into making sure everything is smooth for the people in your life. However, in a world full of supermom influencers, be the messy mama who takes care of herself as much as she takes care of her little munchkins!


Disclaimer: This information is educational and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before making any dietary changes or adding supplements.

Proactive For Her is a digital clinic for women, offering accessible, personalised, and confidential healthcare solutions. We offer out-patient care, diagnostic services and programs for various health concerns of Indian women, across their lifetime - from puberty to pregnancy to menopause.