It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Supermommy! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) When a woman becomes a mom, things automatically change. Our bodies, our stress level, and our free time are definitely affected, but we also develop new-found skills, superpowers, that make us modern-day Wonder Women.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not strong. I don’t lift weights, or workout, or carry heavy things as a general rule. On two non-consecutive occasions, I have been identified as “twigs for legs” and “spaghetti arms.” Yet my son is a big boy—at 15 months he weighs over 27 lbs. If you told me two years ago that I would be able to pick up and carry around a squirming toddler with ease, I would have laughed. But now I can lift open the trunk of the car, fold up the stroller and stuff it in, all while holding my son and three shopping bags. Pretty good for someone with spaghetti arms.
You’d think with all the screaming and crying, moms would lose some of their hearing. Even the delighted screams administered directly into the ear canal can be piercing and painful. But actually, I can be vacuuming during nap time and hear a single, small cry coming from the crib. Conversely, I can hear when there’s silence — aka trouble. A split second of pure silence causes me to go into high alert because silence always means the little buggers are trying to draw on something, eat something that isn’t food, or climb on something dangerous.
I used to be kind of lazy. I’d barely be able to drag myself out of bed in the morning to go to work and then I’d nap as soon as I got home until dinner, which would probably end up being a frozen pizza. Now when my coworkers complain about how tired they are I want to scream “Tired!? But you don’t even have kids!” Moms know there is no relaxing; there are no breaks. Now I’m up at 5 a.m., making breakfast, getting ready for work and daycare, working all day, and rushing home to craft kid friendly dinners before bath time, books, and bed. Maybe I have enough energy left for an hour of Netflix before I faceplant into my pillow.
I’ve always been a patient person (I’m a teacher and you can’t survive without it) but my patience levels have skyrocketed to heights that can only be explained as a true superpower. I can withstand three nights of nonstop crying (the bassinet or rocker to crib transition) and hours and hours of “What’s dat?” questions. When a child decides to help get dressed by dumping out all of the dresser drawers onto the floor or always needs a diaper change or bathroom as soon as you walk out the door, we know that only our superior patience will get us through. When we reach that breaking point, as we all do, at least we know we’ve held out much longer than we did before kids.
The thing about these superhero powers is that they all come from the deepest devotion. When I first held my son I finally understood what it means to do anything for someone without a single moment of hesitation— and that includes lifting an entire car off of him if the need arises—or at the very least, loving him with all my heart.