A friend gave my son a bag of hand-me-down superhero costumes this week. As the third child and only boy, this freed him from a costume drawer bursting with princess dresses, fairy wings, and tutus.
He did have one knight costume, but even that could easily be mistaken as a princess accessory.
Needless to say, my house has been crawling with a variety of small superheros this past week. Snacking, watching tv, playing on the swingset. Although it’s a bit insensitive, I always smile when I remember small, sad Batman in the kitchen, upset about his breakfast choices.
Anyway, whilst parenting a crew of young comic book heroes (and their human alter-egos leaving costumes all over the floor), I thought: Hey, there is a seriously undeveloped character here. Who is preparing the dinner these super kids will no doubt push around their plate and complain about? Who is washing their super underpants? Who is breaking up their super arguments and quelling their super-sassy responses?
Super Mom, that’s who.
OK, so maybe it’s a vanity project, but I can live with that.
After a bit of deep reflection on this obviously important contribution to humanity, I’ve determined these are my top 10 Super Mom powers.
1. Mess Evasion. Who else can deftly step through a Lego or Hot Wheels landfill, find the one empty spot on the couch between the clean laundry and the bookbags/diaper bag/collection of toy ponies, and determine it’s a great night to order pizza because there are already too many dishes in the sink (or, equally, because the dishes are all clean)? And BTW, we are eating pizza on paper towels tonight, kids.
2. Multiple-Input Listening. Sure one child is reciting the water cycle, but that doesn’t mean I am not completely tuned in to the two kids arguing outside on the password to enter the trampoline, whose turn it is to make up the password, and why you even need a stupid password to enter when the trampoline belongs to the WHOLE FAMILY. And, so you know: evaporation, condensation, and precipitation; and the password is “rainbow.”
3. GPS of the Unbelievably Obvious. Some people may think it would just require looking around with my normal human eyes to find things, but for some reason my children have not yet honed in on this seemingly-innate ability. “Where are my shoes?” “Well, if you open your eyes, look slightly downward to the left, and then search about TWO INCHES FROM YOUR HAND you should see them. You know, where you put them when you carried them into this room before staring at the iPad screen?”
4. Ninja Stealth. Don’t think so? Just watch a mom put her slightly-stirring infant in the crib and attempt to exit the room unseen. She will hit the ground, stick to the shadows, and noiselessly army crawl out of that room like she’s a full-fledged member of the Foot Clan.
5. Enormous Grocery Cart Navigation. My kids refuse any cart less than 8 feet long, and bonus if it has a low-riding car up front that means the first three feet of it is flying blind. Fellow shoppers, I do not need an irritated sigh or disapproving glance to know that turning this metallic, front-heavy cruise ship off of the cereal aisle into three lanes of cart-traffic is less than ideal. Let me assure you it was not my idea. I would also prefer to, like you, be browsing the aisle and comparing nutrition facts alone with an adorable mini-cart, rather than yelling “Quit grabbing things!” and tossing anything that resembles my grocery list into the cart like a wild-eyed contestant on Supermarket Sweep.
6. Withstanding Public Humiliation. Is that your child undressing in the fountain? Peeing in the public park? Loudly asking why that lady’s tummy is so big? Laid out tantruming on the doctor’s office floor because they didn’t get the exact mystery-flavor lollipop they wanted – they got another mystery-flavored lollipop (true story)? Parenting young children is nothing if not a practice in steeling your ability to deflect judging eyes, zone in on your tiny culprit, manage to get that kid to the car, and then buy yourself a coffee/milkshake/soda on the way home to shore up your bruised ego. Works every time.
7. Finding the source of the smell. Usually because no one else wants to.
8. Heightened Overnight Hearing, with a side of light sleeping. Baby need feeding? Preschooler have a nightmare? Did someone flush the toilet? Better check. This couples well with the ability to operate at a 50% wake:sleep ratio and fall asleep in a pencil-like position on the twin bed with the kid who had a nightmare. It’s often been said that the male super-parental unit does not have this ability, but rather the opposite: he can sleep wholly undisturbed through children’s crying and bed-wetting, stirring only at the sound of the alarm clock at the break of day. It’s remarkable.
9. Lava Immunity. Moms are 100% exempt from jumping from the ottoman to the couch and then following the intricate path of books and laundry (Hey! Those were clean!) to avoid touching the living room floor. We have special feet.
10. Unending regeneration of patience and child-doting thoughts. This usually happens when the child in question is preciously sleeping and not currently spilling anything.
You are amazing, fellow super moms! You may not have a suit or cape, but you simultaneously have nerves of steel and a warm heart, and you totally get that “with great power comes great responsibility” thing. Take that, Peter Parker.
What are your mom superpowers?