Not long after our daughter was born, my husband coined a new term: “mega-mom.” It’s a disparaging name that he uses to describe my overzealous and sometimes inadvertently damaging efforts to be the perfect mom.
Mega-mom (noun) ˈme-gə-ˈmäm
Definition: A mother who consistently overextends herself in caring for her children, to the detriment of herself, her spouse, and sometimes even her children.
- Mega-mom vehemently opposes the use of the cry-it-out sleep training method and instead wakes to tend to and nurse her baby as many as eight to ten times per night, only to find that the baby has become completely reliant on the mother to sleep.
- One who loses all sight of the needs of others around her in an effort to attend to her baby effectively and immediately.
Origin: First known use circa 2010
Synonyms: mommy martyr
A perfect case of “mega-mom” was the afternoon we were out enjoying a leisurely stroll in a downtown shopping district when I noticed that our daughter, A, needed a diaper change. Rather than conferring with my husband about how best to achieve the desired end, I made a beeline for the nearest sandwich shop, found my way to the back of the store where the women’s restroom was located, and proceeded to complete the diaper change. When I reentered the shop and found my husband sitting at a table, he was livid. We had to have an extended “conversation” about how I had not communicated my plans and left him standing outside the women’s restroom feeling foolish. Of course, my perspective was that, as an adult, he should have been able to entertain himself while I met the needs of our child—our very first priority—but in my haste, I had overlooked J’s sensitivity to standing around in a public place with nothing to do, looking sheepish.
I can’t even tell you how many fights have ensued over my “mega-mom” tendencies. And they always start with my husband feeling like I’m not taking him into account, and me insisting that my priority is our daughter. But realizing that J wanted to be an equal priority in my new mommy world got me to thinking, does mega-mom bother him because I’m such a neurotic overachiever and I could be spoiling our baby in some cases, or is it that he wishes some of that effort were directed toward him? Would mega-wife be so poorly received?
“Mega-wife” brings visions of the 1950s housewife who tirelessly slaves all day in the domestic sphere, scrubbing floors with a toothbrush, pressing and starching her husband’s business shirts, baking his favorite pies, and reporting for duty at the end of a long day in a sexy negligée. (As for the kids, oh, they’ll raise themselves.) If I changed the definition of mega-mom to read, “A wife who consistently overextends herself in caring for her husband, to the detriment of herself and sometimes even her children,” would that bother him equally? If not, is his distaste for mega-mom part of a broader jealousy of all the attention being placed on the baby?
I can’t even count how many conversations I’ve had with mom friends about their husbands’ open or concealed jealousy, even hostility, for all the attention the baby requires. And then husbands are further frustrated by their wives’ lack of energy for them at the end of the day. (Never mind that the last thing on a mother’s to-do list is take care of herself!) Do daddies require as much attention as babies?
Have you been accused of being a mega-mom? Is laissez-faire parenting the way to go? Do mothers gradually learn to balance the needs of all family members (including their own needs) with time, and as the family grows? Tell us what you think. We love to read your comments!!