Our family grew by three kids for a couple of days last week. We kept our teammates' children so they could take a necessary border trip to renew their visas. I made preparations, even to the point of cooking days' worth of meals so I could just heat and serve. Thus, having six kids for a little while really went fine.
But it was kind of a big deal. Big enough to joke about, talk about, laugh about. People knew what was going on and I have heard lots of comments about how great it was that we did that and how impressively we pulled it off. I even heard "Super Mom".
And that just didn't sound right to me. At least not talking about me.
Yep. Not Super Mom. Not even close.
So it was interesting to me to look at my situation with that idea, because on the one hand, I was rocking it! I embraced full-on frump (jeans, tennis shoes, tshirt, ponytail, glasses, no makeup), sure, but I fed them all, combed everyone's hair, bathed them all, got 2/3 down for simultaneous naps, basically kept the littlest ones from invading the older activities, and even had all the dishes washed at the end of the day. That's pretty incredible, right?
But then the next day, after the extra charges had been taken home, I found myself going head-to-head with each of my own three lovely little girls, one right after the other, with their tears coming quickly and my frustration building until I just wanted to put them all to bed by 6. But Aria was having none of it and went into screaming mode which has a bipolar effect on me and I really should be sequestered until she quiets. Whatever confidence I had felt in my apt handling of a large group crumbled away completely in the face of my inability to handle my own children calmly.
Not Super Mom. Not even close.
But then I thought more about it. And you know what? Super heroes aren't supposed to be calm. Yes, some have special powers, but Batman just has his bag of tricks and some instinct. What distinguishes a super hero from your average folk is their presence in the face of madness, and their refusal to back down and just let the forces of chaos rule. They fight for what is best against what wants to happen naturally, and often they are the only ones who show up to do the job.
So, fellow moms, we are Super after all.
We look at the hearts of our kids and our own and we see the selfishness and weariness and frustration and confusion - and we battle it. We stand in the gap and shout defiantly that the values and habits of others do NOT define our family. We keep at it, day in and day out, when no one else is stepping in for this job. It's just us and our bag of tricks and our instincts, but most of all, our presence. Sometimes we are battling against the immaturity of our children. Sometimes against the clutter in the home. Sometimes against unhealthy habits. Sometimes against outside forces. Sometimes against our own ugliness. Sometimes against bad moods or sickness.
It is hard. I'm not just saying that. The reality is that it is hard! Exhausting. Discouraging. But we battle. And while calm and contentment and well-being and a tidy home are great and desirable, we (and by we, I mean, I) must stop measuring ourselves by how much of that we have.
Because just like the citizens in a hero story who are helpless unless the hero comes along, our kids need a Mom, and that's us.
So here's to you and me, Super Moms not because we have achieved perfection, but because we keep showing up.
I salute you. But I wouldn't recommend a cape, because the last thing you need is another way for kiddos to tug on you!