This week, we present something from LINK’s newest contributor: mumonthenetheredge.
The other day my Big Small person told me in a argument that I was a ‘villain’. In this Marvel-lous age where everything and everyone is a hero – from turtles to bored millionaires – this was high criticism indeed. My dastardly crimes included the unjust appropriation of life-critical computronic systems (the iPad), which was achieved through the indiscriminate deployment of noise warfare (shouting).
My bad (or villain).
We all want to be heroes to our kids. But sometimes it’s hard when they are experimenting with their own evil genius, and you are weakened by lack of sleep – parent Kryptonite. So here’s a reminder to all the other tired Mums out there that you actually have more in common with superheroes than you might think…
Okay, so you may or may not be bright blue, but the fact is that pregnancy does weird things to you from the get go. Like the delightful extra hairy bits, and the incredible sense of smell. You will also need beast strength to expel a whole person from your nether regions. And then parent them. (Warning: you may lack the agility bit, and far from being a super-scientist your brains are more likely to turn to mush. Otherwise the resemblance is uncanny).
Yip, the old emotions can go a bit haywire too. Mine never re-wired, to be honest. I blame the sleep deprivation/hormones. The fact is that there is no rage quite like a Mum-rage! See any Mum offered unsolicited advice, for instance: ‘Are you sure you’re holding her right?’, ‘She’ll never sleep on her own if you don’t put her down,’ or ‘Have you tried feeding her?’
Be afraid citizens. You. Do. Not. Want. To. Make. Mums. Angry. (Er).
Like Batman, Batmum doesn’t actually have any superpowers, but what she does have is gadgets. ALL THE GADGETS. The minbie, tinbie, Dr Brownside, newby, teet-tastic bottles. The super-microwave-steam-clean sterilizer. The baby swing, rocking basket, vibrator-pad. The hyper-allergenic memory-foam breastfeeding pillow. The 4-in-1 breast pump/bottle warmer/auto-milk-maker. The video monitor, breathing alarm pad, electronic surveillance system. The £900 travel system you need a freaking engineering degree to fold up and down. The downside is that the batmobile is now a boring Volkswagen estate. Bummer. Upside is that she wears black leggings – a Mum-wardrobe staple – so you won’t have to go clothes shopping!
All Mums develop classic Supermum powers in the first weeks of Mumming, including super-hearing – which can never be turned off and sadly means you’re always the one up in the middle of the night with the kids. For the next 18 years.
X-ray vision comes in useful spotting potential hazards and full nappies, and of course you need to be faster than a speeding bullet to get everything (work/life/friends/partner/kids) done. Depending on your Mum-bod, the lycra may or may not be a good look, but luckily capes are very forgiving.
Mums have the inbuilt spidey-sense that something is wrong, usually triggered by periods of alarming and suspicious quiet. The ability to ninja-stick to walls and ceilings is also crucial when attempting to leave a finally-sleeping child’s room.
Not only is Wonderwoman an omni-linguist speaking multiple languages, but she can also communicate with animals. These skills are unequivocally called into use when interpreting the increasingly enraged gibberish of borderline tantruming toddlers. She also has the lasso of truth, and can compel anyone to ‘fess up to stuff they’ve done wrong. (I haven’t yet honed this skill, but my own Mother wielded it to devastating effect when I was a teenager. I’m hoping it’s hereditary). Also, a Wondermum gets to wear a tiara everyday! Win! (Go full Mum Hulk on anyone questioning this fashion choice).
The Invisible Womum
Yes, sometimes Mums are the invisible woman, because they’re Mums first and women second, third or even fourth. You get so caught up in the whole parenting thing, that the ‘you’ which existed before gets a bit lost… and you can’t see her clearly anymore. It turns out being invisible, especially to yourself, isn’t as much fun as it looks.
The good news is that all Mums have a bit of Ironmum in them, too. Yes, some days you might feel like you’re wading through life in a ridiculously heavy metal suit dragging down your every step. But more importantly, you are able to do so because your heart has literally been removed from your body, supercharged, and inserted back inside. Its light is blindingly powerful.
That pulsing beam of love – which sometimes hurts your chest to contain – will illuminate your way through the very darkest days of parenthood. And some days – some days it will shine so bright and fill you so full, your soul will soar. It’s as close to flying as makes no odds.
Hang on in there, supermums. Remember, with great responsibility comes your greatest power.
Parent Power originally appeared in issue 171 of LINK magazine.
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