This one is for all the Supermoms
Published May 04, 2005
Since we’re thinking about moms so much this week, I’ve been reflecting on the transformation I’ve undergone since first giving birth six years ago.
I have become a superhero.
I mean it. I have special powers. When Julia was 2, we were eating out somewhere when she accidentally knocked her drink off the table. In that same fraction of a second, I reached out and caught the cup in mid-air — with my left hand. Didn’t spill a drop.
“Wow!” said a friend who was with us. “You’re definitely a mom!”
It’s true. Upon becoming mothers, we women develop superpowers. We can hear a crash in the house and instantly know whether or not it produced blood. We can dive across a room and intercept the marble that’s about to go into our baby’s mouth. We can look at the expression on our toddler’s face and know exactly what’s going on in her diaper.
One night my husband and I were almost asleep when a tiny sound came through the baby monitor. I jumped out of bed and ran to the door.
“What are you doing?” Chad asked. “She just spit up,” I said.
I was right. Of course I was. I am Supermommy.
But despite our super-quick reflexes and bat-hearing, we moms can’t always do everything. Sometimes we can’t even function. The demands placed upon us can become quite immobilizing.
The other day, after at least a week of failing to get more than a few hours of sleep at a time because of my children’s nocturnal needs, I was leaving the house and was determined to look somewhat presentable. I thought hair spray might help the most. It doesn’t require fine-tuned precision like eyeliner or lipstick. So I reached for the hair spray — only to find I had wrapped my hand around a can of “Off!”
“Whew,” I thought to myself. “I really would have felt stupid if I had sprayed my hair with mosquito repellent.” So I grabbed another can and sprayed my hair with Lysol. I smelled like “Green Apple Breeze” all day. I’ve never felt so disinfected.
Then there was the day that has gone down in my own personal history as my worst day of motherhood. Chad had left town that morning. Two-year-old Julia and I were spending the day at home when I felt a migraine coming on. I don’t get them very often, but when they do hit, I usually end up whining to God to please, just kill me.
The day wore on, the pain got worse, and finally I couldn’t do it anymore. It was only about 6 p.m., but I put Julia in bed with me.
“We have to go to sleep now,” I told her. “I know it’s still daytime, but my headache is so bad that I can’t take care of you. Maybe I’ll feel better in the morning.”
Her eyes widened. “You can’t take care of me?” she asked. “No, I can’t,” I said, turning over to go to sleep.
A few minutes passed before I felt a small, sticky hand rubbing my forehead.
“Then I’ll take care of you, Mommy,” she said. And there it was. In the middle of my worst day ever, I had a cherished “Mommy moment.” We superhero moms live for those.
To all my fellow mommies, have a great Mother’s Day. Even superheroes deserve a break.
Deana Nall’s column appears every Wednesday. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.