This Mother’s Day, instead of honoring women for being “super moms,” we should show our support for the “slacker moms” in our lives. I saw this term in a column by Cindy Richards in the “Sun-Times” and it fit my concept of what a mom should be.

I feel sympathy for mothers in general but especially for those who try to do too much.

These days moms are expected to hold full-time jobs, while serving as part-time housekeeper, cook and homework tutor. This is already too much for one person but some mothers try to do more.

They drive their kids to practices, games and music lessons. They host elaborate birthday parties and are heavily involved in their children’s school. In short, they believe the more effort they put into their children’s lives, the better the kids will turn out.

This is a fallacy. I’ve seen plenty of kids who played on the traveling soccer team, attended the best schools and excelled at the violin become desperate crack addicts.

I’m grateful that here in Forest Park we don’t have many women aspiring to be super moms: because these women exhaust themselves and their children by cramming in too many activities. They also don’t take time for themselves.

That’s the biggest pitfall for mothers, losing their personal identity. The girl who was the top scorer on her basketball team and the editor of the school newspaper is reduced to being “Mrs. Henderson” and “Kyle’s mom.” No one calls her by her basketball nickname “Squeaks” anymore.

Super moms are especially prone to lose their identities, so again I have to applaud the slacker moms in Forest Park. These are women who have their own lives, their own friends and they play softball on Sunday nights. They are not completely sacrificing their lives for their children and the kids are better off for it.

I really think that too much meddling in our children’s lives can rob them of their independence. I have seen over-involved mothers become bitterly disappointed.

They invested so much emotion and energy in their children, forgetting that kids have minds of their own. Some of these children end up unmotivated, because too much was done for them. Or, they skip law and medicine to become the lead singer for Facemelt, a Sex Pistols tribute band.

I mean, haven’t we seen enough Hollywood movies to learn that things don’t work out well for pushy parents? They push their daughter to become a figure skater, while she secretly trains to be the starting goalie for the Detroit Red Wings. 

In some of these movies, the mother doesn’t want her kids to make the same mistakes she did. The kids don’t discover their mom’s past demons, until they find her hockey mask in the attic.

So, moms, forget home-baked, homemade and homework and take some time to be you.

No one wants a “martyr mom” or a “super mom,” they want a “regular mom,” who slacks off once in awhile. A mom who takes their kid to the park and tells them, “I came here to read my book, not push you on the swing. Learn to kick your legs.”

John Rice

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.