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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Think less superior, more complex.

Written by Em

I honestly do not know what I would do without "The Today Show."

I wouldn't know how to think about politics (shave please Chuck Todd), I wouldn't know if my parents were getting rain in Florida (although, 9 times out of 10 Al misses the mark), and I certainly wouldn't know that the majority of married women suffer from "Superior Wife Syndrome."

Yes, this is an actual book, by Carin Rubenstein - check it out yourself (after finishing here of course) at
The Superior Wife Syndrome dot com.

In my parents' day, I believe the term was "Nag," or "Fishwife," or "Mrs. Olsen." The first time I clearly remember my father cursing was when he called one of my mom's friends a "Class A bitch."

Shock! (she totally was)

But evidently, today, treating your husband like the idiot you think he is, is considered a Syndrome.

Who knew? (Well, me, because I adore Matt "when is my contract up, again?" Lauer.)

Now, I have yet to read the book, and frankly, I probably never will. I'm not passing judgement. I visited the site and found some helpful information, but to be honest, it's not really applicable to me. I'm not tooting my own horn, I just watched my parents, and took notes.

To this day, my mother insists on loading the dishwasher "her way." So much so, that my father no longer bothers to try - sigh "I'll just get it all wrong." Oh yeah Dad, work. it.


Hubs could lick our utensils clean, and I'd be happy. I'm not a chore snob - I'll take any help I can get. Unless he leaves freshly dried clothes in a mangled pile. Fire and brimstone will commence.

However, just to make sure I'm doing an OK job, I shouted the loaded question to Hubs - "Am I a Superior Wife, darling?"

Answer - "Of course! You're the best!" without a hint of sarcasm, mind you.

Now in his defense, he thought I meant "do I rock?" not "do I utilize my purse zipper pockets to keep your testicles nice and safe?"

I guess his answer was a good one in either case.

I have to admit though, I do suffer from a minor case of "Superior Mother Syndrome." And not the "I rock" kind either. I mean the "you-might-be-their-father-but-I-gave-them-life" kind.

For example: any given Saturday morning, unless there's an early soccer game, our routine involves a little man-on-man defense with the kids - Hubs in charge of Oldest. I get Youngest. I can't help it that Oldest likes to get up before 7. Did I mention Youngest might power through until 9?


He's like his Mama in so many ways, including his tendency to ease into his day if so allowed. I can hear him on the monitor, reading his books that I left on the edge of his bed or discovering that one Hot Wheels I hid under his pillow - give him 30 minutes, and he's a happier kid.

I know this, why? Because I'm his soulmate.

This habit actually makes Hubs antsy. He'll casually walk through the bedroom, me still snuggled under covers, Netbook in lap - "Did you hear him?"

"Yes, babe, give him a couple of minutes."

"Well, he might get mad."

"No, babe, he likes to have some quiet time."

"Well, I'm just saying...he's be chattering for a while."

This conversation usually ends up with a "fine!," and a flourish of sheets as I huff out of bed and stumble upstairs, only to be greeted with a grumpy "Not yet Mama!!"

I love coming down with my smug mug - see, I know him better.

I know it's not a healthy attitude, but it is one I find myself wearing on occasion - like during the dance that is getting everyone out the door in a good mood, or charming Oldest to start his homework, or negotiating with Youngest to finish his PKU formula.

I have the touch, because frankly, I'm lucky enough to be around them 24/7. And don't doubt it, there is a fine art to maneuvering kids into a car without one crying over something completely ridiculous.

Not that Hubs isn't an incredibly involved and wonderful father. He totally is. Yet, on those times when he does something completely out of the ordinary and the Boys totally embrace it, I feel somewhat on the outside - this is supposed to be my turf.

Then I just feel played - why don't they do that with me?!

I guess Mother Superior I am not. More like Sucker Extraordinaire.

Fine with me. I look horrible in black.


  1. I love that another mom out there says her son is her soulmate.

    That is exactly how I describe my relationship with my son.

    Great post!

  2. Oh boy...

    I am so happy you wrote this, because I cant write it on my blog.

    I am Father Superior, married to Mother Superior.

    And we are both wrong. and suck.

    But Im still pretty sure Im better.

    Loved it, Em!


  3. Great post, lady.

    I think I might be Mother Superior. A little. Ew, I'm grossing myself out.

  4. It is nice to feel like the better very very nice. But SAHM's do have the advantage of knowing our kids much better than anyone else, no matter how hard they try.

  5. I love this post!

    Nicely done Em! And I love the fact that you feel your son is your soulmate!

    I so totally get that! I really do!

  6. Hah, I just read about the Superior Wife syndrome myself recently, and I find for sure, after being a SAHM for almost 5 years there is a lot of stuff that's MINE (I also GET my boy, as he does me). The man is a great Dad and hubs, but he's not me. Nice, eh?

    Great post.

  7. Whoa, okay, first of all if one of my kids were my soul-mate, meaning just like me, we'd be more likely to fight each other to the death than commiserate over toast & jam. I don't need another one of ME hanging around here.

    But, that said, my husband totally admitted a long time ago that he purposely does things WRONG to show that he can't do them well and so therefore I will have to do them.

    Result: I've lowered my standards and asked him to (*gasp*) help a bit more. He's happily complied. And I've learned what it means for two people to BOTH want things their way and at the same time peacefully co-exist.

    It's a beautiful thing.

  8. Em: Here's the problem: You can't really tell what a 305-page book is about from 300 seconds on the Today Show. If you'd like a review copy of my book, email me, carin at drcarin dot com, and I'll send you one. Then you can let me know what you really think of my actual book!!

    Carin Rubenstein (author of The Superior Wife)

  9. oh, so what's another syndrome thrown into the mix?! i'll admit it... i'm not proud of it, but i don't really have a problem with it, and either does my husband. i think the key is communication and humor. i'll happily say, "i'm right honey, and you're wrong," and he'll either call me on it and tell me i am full of shit or he will say, "yes, you are right, as usual. thank God we have you to save us from ourselves!" and the great thing is, he'll actually mean it!

    and one thing is very clear, after 18 years, there won't be any old dogs learning many new tricks around here. unless, of course, i say so. ;)

  10. Oh man, I'm Mother Superior too. But, seriously, I AM superior. ;)

  11. Sass: I'm glad another mother can say that as well. My Oldest and I share a bond that is wonderful, but Youngest is my soul. I think we are kindred spirits as the second born children. It's crazy, yet true, each child holds a special and unique place.

    Jay: A Father AND a Mother Superior - I think you guys need some time in the confessional booth ;-)

    Heather: I think we all have a little of that in us. Yeah, ew. Speaking for myself, I think this happens especially when you have a child that requires a little extra attention - you and I have had our challenges which I think makes us "know" our special kiddos even more. I think it's only natural.

    Denise: I guess that's what chaps my hide the most - I should know the most, but a lot of times, I don't.

    Quirky: I'm glad you understand it too!! It sounded kind of weird in retrospect, but that's how I feel about him - like he's an old soul.

    Jen: Thanks!! And I think when you're juggling 4, you totally get to use the Superior card any time you would like.

    Karen: I honestly never expected to "get" my boys the way I do. It almost makes me feel bad that we did not go on to have a girl. Having sons has helped me understand my husband in a way that I don't believe I would have without the experience. Makes me wonder how a daughter would have touched him as well.

    Texan Mama: way to call his bluff and communicate - that is a beautiful thing!!

    Dr. Rubenstein (I'm also e-mailing a response to her as well, but in an effort for transparent communication, I wanted to let you guys read here as well): I thoroughly apologize for any offense I caused with my mentioning of your book. I have gone back and reread every single link on your site, and while I do appreciate that this information would be helpful for a lot of wives, I still do not believe that it is applicable to me. I say that with complete respect in the work that you do.

    My 14-year marriage has seen its ups and downs, but we are still two people who understand that the foundation of a marriage is mutual respect, and appreciating the little things. I don't mind grabbing his dry cleaning because he swings by the grocery store on his way home from work just to save me the hassle of taking two small children into the store. I keep my mouth shut about how he chews food because he ignores me when I take out my hormonal moods on him. I'm not saying that in 20 more years I won't want to smack him because he can't find something in the pantry, AGAIN, I'm just saying that when I tell him where it is for the 1,000th time, I'll try to keep the superior attitude out of my voice, because I think true condescension, particularly to the person you share your life with, is cruel.

    I joke about being Mother Superior and knowing my boys "better" than my husband, but that doesn't mean I'm truly the only one who can get it "right." The proof is in how our boys worship him.

    So, again respectfully, I will pass on the offer to review your book. I don't believe I would be the correct audience, or give your hard work the justice it deserves. Sincerely, Em

    Deb: "communication and humor" - that should be the only wedding vows. Do you promise to communicate and laugh with each other? Cool. Kiss and let's get on with the party. Smart, you are. Old dog, new tricks. Funny too.

    Blueviolet: and honey I don't doubt it for a second!

    Thanks guys for all your feedback. Happy Fall y'all!

  12. Is it just me, or do other people hate it when the NORMAL patterns of life (in this case the husband/wife, father/mother relationship) are all of a sudden labeled "syndromes?" PUULEEEZE!!

    There is no syndrome here...the moms usually spend more time with the kids and DO know them better. That's a fact. We also multi-task WAY better than men (sorry, guys!).

    My favorite line? "Do I utilize my purse zipper pockets to keep your testicles nice and safe?" Oh, goodness, Em, that was priceless!! Oh, and guilty as charged over here :-)

  13. A superior attitude would not work in my marriage either. We both know what I am better at and what he is better at. And the kids know that since both parents do a lot around the house and everywhere else, that we do things differently and each way is OK. And they can't stand the way that the Hubs over here also doesn't usher out the dried clothes into nice piles, but Mom does.
    Oh, but that youngest boy.....I am the mama shark and he is a ramora.
    And when the two oldest have written in school about Dad in response to "Write about someone who is your Hero", I lament to the Hubs and he reminds me of all the reasons all three of them love their mama.

  14. Kath: Hubs loved the line as well. And I'm happy to report that his "boys" are safely attached and shall always remain exactly where the Good Lord intended them to be - baring any random rodeo or bicycling accidents.

    Michele: I love the Mama Shark/Ramora analogy - perfect!

  15. I suffer from a lot of things, but I don't think I suffer from Superior Wife Syndrome. I will take whatever help I can get, when I can get it, which thankfully, is quite often. I may go back and correct, oops, I mean improve something that was done, but I do it without comment and when no one is looking. Maybe that is why my hubs continues to help - he doesn't get a "you didn't do that right" or "that isn't the way to do it" comment.

    The mom thing though? I can think of two times where my husband and I disagreed on something with the kids - BIG things - and I put my foot down with "I am their primary caretaker and I know them better than you do...." It's true and he finally agreed. Of course. :)

  16. Oh, and I, too, saw this segment on The Today Show. I actually caught a couple of days of the Today Show while on vacation. If it wasn't for that show, I would never know what is going on in the world!

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  18. There are "roles" that we in a healthy marriage / family situation play, some are labeled "traditional", some are a little more "modern" - I think every couple figures out what works best for them and goes with it. It's never perfect and always needs to be changing due to age of kids, needs of kids, job circumstances, etc. etc. etc. Kids need to see that their parents roles can change and do. - Its a juggling act - give children security that their situation is stable, while giving them the perspective that the family is a team and everyone contributes with both dad and mom in charge and mom & dad pitch in where needed, depending on the day.
    Does that make sense? I just don't want my kids to think either me or their dad is the ultimate word in how the house works. We try hard to be respectful of each other and how we operate, especially in front of the kiddos... but again it is never perfect, we're just taking it day by day.
    Thanks for the good discussion maker, Em! :)

  19. Okay, if I am honest I think I have some superior wife and/or mother moments. Not often mind you, but I think they are there sometimes.

  20. You're the best kind of listen to your intuition and not the chatter going on around you. I does appear that you let Matt Lauer creep into your thoughts a bit....bahahaha.


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