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The 36-Hour Day

with Lylah M. Alphonse

I'm a full-time editor, a part-time writer, and a mom and stepmom to five amazing kids, ages 1 to 14. For me it's not about finding balance, it's about the daily juggle-- my career, my commute, freelance work, homework, housework, married life, social life, and parenting-- and finding the time to get it all done.

To learn more about Lylah, check out her Work It, Mom! profile and read her blog at

The Next Superhero? Working Moms.

Categories: The Juggle, Working? Living?


Super Mom

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, 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.

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16 comments so far...

  • Oh, it the super mom thing can’t possibly be dead. I think the picture is changing a little though. Look at how many of us on this site freelance and do our work from home while chasing a million kids!! Some people don’t think we really work, so we probably don’t cross their “super mom” radar. For the moms who manage to fit in a commute and a job with actual set hours on top of everything else - I just don’t know how you do it!

    kristie  |  December 10th, 2007 at 12:06 pm

  • That’s a really good point, Kristie! Maybe the Superwoman “Be the Best Everything in the World” has been replaced by women who are just trying to get it all done and be the best we can be.

    It kills me that some people don’t think we really work, though…

    Lylah  |  December 10th, 2007 at 12:17 pm

  • I know it’s intended to be funny, but actually, I think this is an improvement. Even as a child I realized there wasn’t a “Career Girl” Barbie.

    Lisse  |  December 10th, 2007 at 5:15 pm

  • Oh, I agree, Lisse! I just hope to see an even bigger improvement in the future!

    Lylah  |  December 10th, 2007 at 6:14 pm

  • Too funny. Here’s another accessory for that mom action figure: a phone that won’t stop ringing! Also, it would help if she could breathe fire!

    Seriously, it’s so disheartening, isn’t it? How so many of us are stuck in this situation where we’re like the family’s glue, holding everything together with work, childcare and house stuff. Makes me so made!! Grrr!!

    Diane  |  December 10th, 2007 at 10:17 pm

  • hmm maybe i shoudl get this for our work ‘gift swap’ game since i work with a bunch of men LOL!

    Kristie! so funny you say you dont know how we do it with a commute and office hours - i dont know how YOU do it staying at home AND working! :)

    Kate  |  December 11th, 2007 at 10:16 am

  • Diane, a phone that won’t stop ringing would be brilliant! Since she comes with an angel/monster baby, I think she should also come with a really loud breast pump in order to be really accurate (well, accurate to my life, at any rate).

    Kate, if you think the guys would be cool with it, go for it!

    Lylah  |  December 11th, 2007 at 2:09 pm

  • But where’s her Kryptonite? I know what mine is — time, or lack of it.

    Daisy  |  December 11th, 2007 at 8:41 pm

  • Hmmmm…. Daisy, I think Super Mom needs another accessory: A ticking clock. Or, just to be a little retro, one of those old-school digital ones with the flaps that flip loudly when the numbers change.

    My Kryptonite is my need for sleep. I totally didn’t appreciate my ability to get by on no sleep in college… now I can barely function after a few days of too little sleep!

    Lylah  |  December 11th, 2007 at 9:33 pm

  • I am tempted to buy one just to see what it’s really like. I agree that the supermom needs to have a ticking clock - she’s bound to be under a tight deadline.

    Laura  |  December 13th, 2007 at 9:03 pm

  • Perhaps she should also have a dirty diaper and an empty box of wipes? LMAO at the breast pump. FUN! I was the same way in college, Lylah and now I need to sleep. Please. Sleep. I’ll go get more coffee.

    Mandy  |  December 14th, 2007 at 3:00 pm

  • Laura, go for it!

    Mandy, now I’m laughing at my desk… the dirty diaper and no wipes scenario is SO TRUE!

    OK, I’ll sleep soon. I promise.

    Lylah  |  December 14th, 2007 at 3:30 pm

  • Well-written! I don’t want to be Super Mom, but the role is inevitable … I think

    KC  |  December 14th, 2007 at 7:45 pm

  • [...] about a quick look at the new SuperMom Doll over at The 36-Hour Day? This one will make you laugh, which I´m sure we can all use at the end of a [...]

    At Home Mom Blog » A Little Bit of Link Love  |  December 16th, 2007 at 12:09 pm

  • [...] you can relate to that feeling. I like to pretend I’m SuperMom but, of course, I’m not (I don’t even come with interchangeable heads — I feel like the frazzled one has been attached for the past few [...]

    Working mother seeks inspiration - The 36-Hour Day - Work It, Mom!  |  August 7th, 2008 at 12:05 am

  • Finally - I’m home - I’m among sisters who are living my life!

    I am an entreprenuer, career exec, mom of 2 darlings under 9 and a wife of 10 whole years! I’m in my 30s and I crank out the love full time - the work all day and the dinner and wash on the hour past midnight -
    My job is never ever never DONE!

    Supermom - whut? That’s what my stay-at home mom friends call me - Their husbands are banking dough (as of the last 10 years) - Nowadays, they’ve been forced back into the workplace - and haven’t a clue what to do…

    Now some of them, recently introduced back into the workforce are asking me, “HOW’D YOU DO IT?”
    When you are the sole bread winner and the sole earner and EVERYTHING relies and revolves around mama’s paycheck, including food, mortgage, school, lights, etc. - then you DO IT!

    Thanks for your entry - I certainly can relate to all the women on here!

    Latrice  |  April 16th, 2009 at 5:01 pm

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