Last week saw the close of The Rio Olympic Games and over the last month words such as ‘Strong, Powerful and Superhuman‘ have been splashed across the media. At times being accompanied by images of ‘Strong Mums’, such as Jessica Ennis Hill and Jo Pavey. It’s been a year of true inspiration for any fit-mama’s out there. However the focus hasn’t just been on the Mums dominating the track. Indeed, throughout the Games sponsor’s P&G have been promoting their film ‘Thank you Mum‘, which follows the journey of four Olympic children and moments where their mother’s inner strength made all the difference. With the tag line ‘It takes someone strong to build someone strong’ it got me thinking, what exactly is a ‘Strong Mum’ and how can you become one?
Over time the word ‘Strong’ has become synonymous with Athletic, Tough and Durable - all qualities of the classic superhero and although rare in comparison to their male counterparts, superhero women have certainly been described as ‘strong’ in the past. Often displaying similar attributes, female superheroes always tend to have incredible physical strength, outstanding endurance and the power to kick-ass when needs be; however, far too often these powerful women are seen to sacrifice an important aspect of womanhood, and that’s becoming a mother.
Sadly even the rare occasions where a few superhero women have broken the mould (for example The Invisible Woman, one of the founding members of Marvel’s Fantastic Four) they are often documented as taking some considerable time off after giving birth to their child.
So with superhero mothers scarcely documented, does this suggest that it’s just not possible to be a superwoman and a super-mum? Or can we mere mortals learn from these wonder-women and unleash an inner power to become super-mums ourselves?
The Multi-tasking Mum
One of the most prominent superhero mum’s to date is Pixar’s 2004 Mrs Incredible, who with a unnaturally flexible body is able to protect her family, cook, clean and fight crime all at once. Quite a feat, even with superpowers! Nonetheless for many parents multi-tasking is essential.
According to a new book, The Economics of Multitasking, mothers spend on average 7.4 hours every day focused on multiple activities and only half of their waking hours able to focus solely on one task. However David Meyer, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan believes multi-tasking to be hugely counter-productive and in some cases dangerous, stating “People are being asked to do multiple things, but they would need superhuman abilities“. Meyer believes that multi-tasking is especially stressful when the tasks are important (as they so often are for mums), saying “The brain responds to impossible demands by pumping out adrenaline and other stress hormones that put a person “on edge”, and a steady flow of stress hormones can strain the body and threaten health“.
Read the full article "What Makes A Strong-Mum?" at The Huffington Post.