I am a mom with 15 month-old twins and a 4 year-old. Much of my day is spent feeding meals, straightening my house, doing laundry, and entertaining children. It sounds simple, but I have never had another job more challenging. Throwing trash away has become an intricate maneuver. The trash can first received a lid, then was moved to the top of a counter, and now is hidden in the pantry where I must perform basketball-worthy faking moves to open the pantry door, toss in the trash (another athletic skill, this one requiring hand-eye coordination—ha!), and close the door—and all this without some wriggly body intervening. The same or similar feat is required when negotiating the bathroom door, the refrigerator, the under-the-sink cabinet, etc. The stereo and computer were another issue entirely until I got smart and enclosed them in an armoire—thus creating another “door” situation. The poor dog’s food has been moved four times until finally being relegated to the basement, and his appetite is now at the mercy of my memory and time (another “ha!”). Our dining room chairs are not where they should be; i.e. they are not at the dining room table. The youngest child figures herself a centerpiece.
When the smaller two collapse into exhausted heaps—and I desire to do the same—the four-year-old beckons. “Read to me, sing with me, let’s play,” she says, and then, “Now it’s Mommy-and-me time.” And the Grand Teton of laundry becomes Mount Everest as I capitulate and remind myself of that old “The house can wait” ditty.
It’s a life so full of blessings it can feel like a nightmare keeping up with them, the nightmare of the overwhelmed, under-equipped heroine faced with three ultra-endowed foes. But when this is at its worst, I sometimes indulge in the horror’s anti-equivalent, my fantasy. In this I am equipped, with x-ray vision, super strength, lightning-fast speed, night vision, a stretch arm, you name it, and I can endure a chaotic afternoon imagining myself as Super-Mom.
With x-ray vision I could locate that missing shoe, stray lunchbox, roving child, etc. Two minutes prior to the we-must-leave-now-or-we-will-be-late moment, x-ray vision would be exceptionally handy. It could also avoid many trips to the doctor or emergency room: “Nope, that arm’s not broken, just badly bruised.” Of course, it could also prove when a trip is needed! “So that’s where my diamond ring is!”
Super strength sounded particularly good the day I forgot the stroller and had to carry both twins the long hike from the parking lot to the library, but I’ll be honest; most often this figures in the nightmares every mom really has, the “What do I do if my car plunges into water with me and my children in it?” terrors.
More helpful, though, in the day-to-day routine would be lightning-fast speed. I could clean my house in ten minutes, run my daily five miles in four, fix breakfast in two, and all this before seven in the morning. I could catch my fearless child mid-trip between treetop and ground, run the kids to Grandma in Alabama after lunch and be back in time for a date with my husband, and bring in some extra cash as a professional marathoner.
Night vision would enable me to locate that stray pacifier at two in the morning and not kill my shin on my son’s ready-steady indoor tricycle on the trip back to my own room. Even better, a stretch arm would allow me to locate said pacifier and soothe its owner without leaving my bed at all. Supermom’s choices are endless.
Always, however, at the zenith of my imagined glory, the wax melts and reveals to me exactly what and who I really am, just a regular mom with three energetic kids. Just a mom, like all others, who is trying to develop real super mom powers: X-ray vision to see into my kids’ hearts and read their minds, super strength to carry or push or pull, lightning-fast speed to be there when I’m needed and give space when I’m not, night vision to soothe the tears and fears away, arms that can stretch long enough to hug all three every minute of every day, and—the most important supertrait of all—protecting, trusting, hoping, persevering love.