Oh, poor Clark Kent. What a dork, right? He’s a fumbling, bumbling news reporter that never gets the girl solely because she is in love with his hotter, better alter ego, Superman. He means well, he truly does, but people just couldn’t give two shakes about him until he sheds those nerdy glasses in the phone booth and emerges as his ‘super-self’, the Man of Steel, the one and only Superman.
Bear with me people, this analogy is going somewhere, I promise.
Being a parent is a lot like being Superman. There is something great inside of all of us that makes us a Supermom or Superdad. Maybe most of the time we are just bombarding around, knocking everything over, falling down, and getting yelled at just like the good ‘ol Clark Kent but then we step into our handy dandy metaphoric phone booth and….
Ta-Dah! Here I come to wipe your noooooose!
Supermom to the rescue! Take me, for instance, I can be a totally selfish mom. I am not just being self-deprecating, either, I really can be selfish. I don’t intend to be, and I wish at times that I was not, but it is just a simple fact. Not all of the time, of course, but I do have my self-serving moments. Selfishly, I cannot sit down and watch 14 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse -or whatever asinine cartoon he is into in the moment- with him. One or two, maybe, but my brain starts to leak out of my ears and, before I even realize that I have done it, I’m playing with my Iphone or suddenly my laptop is out. Where did this come from?!
I let him watch cartoons or play ABC Mouse when I have something that I want to do. Not just something that I have to do for the betterment of the family like cleaning, laundry, or cooking, but something that I want to do like blog or wash my hair or talk on the phone. I’m like, “Here Disney, babysit for me for a hot minute so I can do what I want for a little bit.” It’s true. Selfishly, I will throw him an Iphone rather than deal with a tantrum solely because I don’t want to hear the yelling. Can I handle the screamimg? Of course, but why would I if I don’t have to?
I’m not saying that this is the worst trait that there is in this world, but it is something that I find myself feeling a little guilt over from time to time. I worry that maybe that time would be better spent working on a craft project with him or focusing on improving his language skills. How dare I ignore my child that has special needs to do things that make me alone happy? Mom guilt is a helluva drug, right?
Then I stop, take a deep breath, and I remember something that is incredibly important. Something many moms just like me tend to overlook.
That taking that time for myself isn’t an egregious crime. Because, while it could perhaps be spent elsewhere, what it truly does is gear me up for something that is even more crucial to my parenting. I need to reserve my strength and stamina for my real superpower: being the most patient mom ever. I am not saying that I never, ever lose my patience, because that would be an out-and-out lie (and you know that is not me), but it is pretty rare considering some of the wildly overemotional responses that Jp has to even the most rudimentary parts of daily life. I am patient in the face of having to say the same things 457 times until the sound of my own voice is like nails on a chalkboard, patient during even the most intense tantrums over seemingly everything imaginable from eating to bathing, I am patient with the fact that Jp cannot fall asleep without holding my hand in a pitch black room -sometimes for as long as an hour- every single night, I am patient with making 9 meals a day that he doesn’t eat and that he actually requested by name.
My super power is that I am very nearly unflappable in cases where grown men would crumble into tears and beg for their own mommies.
Jp threw a tantrum the other day in the mall and I picked him up, kicking (me) and screaming like a lunatic, and walked him to the family bathroom and we counted until he’d gotten it together. This kind of tantrum is not my first rodeo.Then we went back out, instead of fleeing to the car like a lightening bolt, and we tried the activity again. I didn’t even break a sweat or look around to see if anyone was looking. I didn’t become embarrassed to have the only child in sight that doesn’t understand that he has to wait his turn. I was calm, superhumanly cool, and utterly collected.
Because, you see, where I may not be a super crafting Pinterest momma or the singing-songs-all-day mom, I am a mom that can bathe a child with one hand -while holding him with the other- that is screaming like a banshee lost in the wild, I can figure out the intricate puzzles of what Jp is trying to say (with many times of trial and error), I am the parent that flies without a parenting manual chute raising an atypical wonder and learns the tricks as she goes yet still manages to do it with a smile on my face every single day.
That is my super power and, I have to say, I will more than willing to take it. I need to take those silly, selfish moments for myself to have all of that mind-boggling patience in the bank for the harder times. I need a full tank to be able to have the astounding amounts of zen that I do on a daily basis.
We all have our faults as parents, just like the bumbling Clark Kent, but we all posses a wonderful superpower, too, that makes us great moms. And that makes it okay to be flawed.
So, what’s yours?
I'm just living minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day.