There are some moments when I feel like I’ve got this whole ‘motherhood’ thing down. I’m whipping up fabulous meals to ravenous children. Potty training is a snap. I’m disciplining like a rock star. I’m rocking, I’m strolling. I’m the best mom, ever! I’m so awesome, it literally hurts. And stings. Huh?
And I turn over in bed to realize that there is a three-year-old ninja kicking me in the face. Where is my husband? Correctly assuming that a king sized bed is not sufficient for the two of us and our breakdancing-in-her-sleep daughter, he has shuffled off to the guest room. Welcome to a day in the life of me.
I get ready to tackle another day in my own Metropolis. Let’s take on some errands shall we? At the bank, the cute, young, pretty, perky teller is complaining of bad coffee burn she got that morning. I whip out my trusty Neosporin/Bandaid combo pack and save her day. She says, ‘You’re amazing’. I smile, because I kinda am.
At the supermarket, the shopping cart ahead of me is occupied with a child who is out-screaming my own. I notice an old, raggedy stuffed dog on the floor and hand it to his mom who smiles gratefully. Disaster: averted. I look at my own daughter, dressed in her full-on princess get-up, who is now distracted with a bag of M&M’s, and smile gratefully. At school pick up, I commiserate with other parents on the challenges of raising a pre-pre-pretween five-year-old. We exchange book titles and websites and part ways knowing that we’ll never read them, but feeling better for being a little bit more responsible and informed than the day before.
On the way home, I get a call from a friend having a particularly rough day. What can I do? I lend a sympathetic ear to her. Once home, I provide a welcoming lap to a cranky three-year-old, a warm, proud hug to a spunky five-year-old and a hot, yummy meal to a tired thirty-nine year-old.
You may not believe it when you see me for the first time, but I am one tough cookie. Once, I pushed an entire living, breathing, screaming human being out of my body without the help of any medication. Before that even, I pushed another, also screaming human being out of my body, blissfully unaware, hopped up on all kinds of epidural and sedatives. Even so, it was fairly heroic.
There is no bullet faster than me if anyone messing with my kid on the playground. I will leap the steps two at a time to get upstairs before there is any more hair-pulling, biting or screaming coming from the girls’ bedroom. More powerful than a locomotive, I can be just as stubborn and determined as any kid throwing a tantrum.
My panther-like reflexes have caught throw-up in restaurants before it hits the floor or causes a scene. My hands of steel have wiped tushies on the potty. My stomach has remained an iron trap despite the gross things I’ve seen coming out either end of my children. My eyes can pierce even the most oblivious of husbands, saying, without any words: ‘When I said ‘fine’, of course I didn’t mean fine, and you absolutely should get up from your nap and do the dishes’.
My heart? My heart is weak. It melts like butter at any wink, smile or tilt of the head. All I need is an ‘I love you Mama’ and I’m as vulnerable as can be. Every hero has her kryptonite.
As I get ready to take on another day of obstacles, villains and near-disasters, I neatly part my hair to the side and tuck it into a ponytail. I hide my cape under my usual uniform of t-shirt and jeans. I don my dorky glasses, not to disguise my appearance, but to help me read the microscopic labels on the children’s ibuprofen bottle. On the outside, I may seem like any other mild-mannered mother. On the inside though, on the inside…I…AM…SUPERMOM.
And so are you.
Saba Ali Arian
Saba Ali Arain is an amateur circus performer; juggling two wonderful little girls and a loving husband while whistling a happy tune. She lives with her family in Oakland, NJ.