Are You a Power Mom?

CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: POWER MOMS has just come out, and I have a piece in it.

I think every pediatrician’s office ought to have a copy of this book in its waiting room, for all those exhausted moms sitting glassy-eyed and shell-shocked with their crying children after yet another sleepless night mopping a fevered brow/changing a wet bed/cleaning up vomit/chasing away nightmares. It’s inspirational reading.

I’ve never really thought of myself as a Power Mom. I’m definitely a mom but sometimes when I’m going one-on-one with my seven year old, I’m not quite sure exactly who is wielding the power. But I like the concept of Power Moms. I think it’s great.

Because as we all know, the whole mom thing is totally underestimated by innocent bystanders.

I mean, nobody who hasn’t been through it really understands what’s involved.

I still remember my own rude awakening. During my first pregnancy I felt terribly important. Everybody treated me as if I were really delicate and fragile and special. People wanted to touch my bump. They wanted to know all the details of how I felt, what I was eating, how I was sleeping.

When we checked into the hospital, the special treatment went on. People were monitoring my every heart beat—oh, hang on, maybe it was the baby’s every heart beat. But they were definitely monitoring my blood pressure, and they kept asking me to describe my ‘discomfort’, on a scale of one to ten. They were hanging on my every word. I was the center of the universe.

Then, finally, the big moment arrived and my baby made her grand entrance into the world. On cue, the door of the hospital room flew open and about half a dozen people burst in—all decked out in white coats and masks. Somebody let me hold the baby for a fraction of a second, then a person in a white coat plucked her off my breast and marched out of the room with her. And everybody followed. Every last soul. Not even my husband stayed behind to hold my hand and ask if I wanted a drink of water. Which I did, pretty badly, to be frank.

So there I lay, battered and bleeding and bent out of shape, wondering when my crowd of admirers would come flocking back to my bedside, full of admiration and congratulations.

They never did. From the moment she entered the world, it wasn’t about me anymore. It was all about the baby.

And me—I was chopped liver.

And that’s what being a mom is all about: becoming a support system for another human life. There’s no ‘me’ anymore, only ‘mom-meee’.

Of course, the real trick is not losing track of yourself while you’re doing all that supporting. The real trick is holding on to a sense of yourself as an individual, that person you were before the baby made its grand entrance. The women who wrote the stories in CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: POWER MOMS are power moms because, one way or another (and it hasn’t always been pretty), they’ve managed to do this. They’ve managed to maintain a sense of themselves in the midst of diapers and bottles and binkies, homework and carpools and soccer matches. Better still, instead of draining them dry, motherhood has made them stronger and wiser.

As I said, every pediatrician’s waiting room ought to have a copy of this book. But maybe the OB/gyn offices shouldn’t stock them. No point in scaring the living daylights out of pregnant women.


  1. Anastasia on April 23, 2009 at 1:07 am

    Great post! And a wonderful tribute to Power Moms and the newly released book. I have it and have loved reading the stories.

  2. Lisa Tener on April 23, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    You sum it up perfectly. There’s that delicate balance of remembering to nourish yourself as a person, and also remembering that it’s not about you, it’s about your children. I think there’s no such thing as achieving balance, either. There’s no one moment you get there and say, “Yes, I did it.” It’s all a dance, a continuous journey of finding the right balance in the moment, and then being thrown off balance to go find it again.

  3. robin kall on April 23, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    love the post and great idea…will definitely bring a copy to our ped’s office!!

  4. Diane on April 24, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Great post – and I know exactly what you are saying. I don’t think of myself as a power mom either. I sometimes think I’m falling short with the juggling act.

    But, then I watch my kids grow and explore and I realize – we are all power moms. We are the glue that keeps, not only our families, but our communities together.

    When I wrote my story for the book I went through a discovery process. That process continues to this day. I am thrilled to be able to share my story and in doing so, help moms the world over realize the power of their presence in the lives of their children.

  5. Elizabeth Garrett on April 25, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Hi Elise, it was great meeting you at the New Canaan book signing. I love your story and am looking forward to reading your book! I just love the title so much!!! I am also looking forward to seeing you at the Greenwich show. As a fellow contributor to “Power Moms”, I believe that it is a gift to be able to let others know that while mother hood is so rewarding, (and many times very difficult) there are also many opportunities for all of us to be our own person and find our own dreams, to be ME again, while spinning the plates and serving our precious families. Cheers, Elizabeth

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