Forget Barbie. Please, please forget Bratz. There’s a new doll in town, and she’s more than just a fashion icon: She’s a superhero.
Meet Super Mom.
On the one hand: Can I tell you how hilarious this is? Check out the accessories! Two heads, so you can switch from calm to frazzled in a blink of an eye! An adorable baby that’s half angel, half monster! A briefcase stuffed with work and toys! An extra-long To-Do list! A bag full of groceries! And it even comes in your choice of skin color, proving that no single ethnicity has a lock on the working mother. I don’t see the working-mom guilt there in the blister-pack, but you could probably download some.
On the other hand: It’s depressing how scarily accurate this action figure is. Take a look at what it doesn’t come with: A “satisfied” head. A “well-rested” head. Designer clothes. Manolos. Fistfuls of money. A stack of take-out menus. An understanding boss and/or a life partner and/or a housekeeper and/or a nanny (maybe those dolls are sold separately?).
In a recent article on suite101.com, author Ruthanne Prioreschi briefly examines the changes women have faced in evolving from that 1950s icon of domesticity to the working woman of today:
“The two images have more in common than most would want to admit being generations apart. Yet, the main thing that has really changed for the modern woman is that fact that her workload has doubled from the duality of her role.”
No wonder the doll only comes with calm and frazzled heads. A May 14, 2007 poll by CBS News found that “Three out of four women say most women work today because they need to support themselves and their family, and only 13 percent say women work because they want to.” Yet 22-percent of men say they think that women work because they want to.
The poll also showed that 68 percent of working women feel that there is a conflict between working full-time and raising a family with children under the age of 18. And, in a lifestyle survey carried out earlier this year by New Woman magazine, seven out of 10 women – average age: 29 — are opting out of the work-life juggle. In fact, only 10 percent of respondents in the British poll said that they intended to work full-time and put their child in daycare. Margi Conklin, editor of New Woman magazine, heralded it as the end of an era: “The age of the ’superwoman’, who wants to be the world’s best mother, wife and boss, is dead.”
Opting out? I can see the appeal. But dead? Hmmmm… I don’t think I got that memo.
In fact, I’m up late right now, juggling work and life. There’s laundry in the washer, another load inthe dryer, the dishwasher is running, a batch of jam is cooling on the dining table (Christmas presents), tomorrow’s dinner is bubbling away on the stove, and I just had to stop writing this so I could run upstairs and soothe the baby back to sleep. But I’m not gunning for super-hero status; I’m just trying to pay the mortgage and take care of my family.
The age of Superwoman may be over, but the age of the Working Mother is going strong. So, it’s cool that there’s a doll like Super Mom out there.
But I’m not sure that I’m going to get one.