I am a superhero mom. I have found my special super hero power. I have the uncanny ability to quickly assess a last-minute recollection of an event and prepare for it. Especially at 10 p.m. the night before a spirit week dress-up day both I and my child had forgotten. I can stay calm when they decide, the night before, they have a theme to follow for the next day. Deep in the files of my mind I start to sift through where those feathers, beads, a particular T-shirt or cape might be hidden in deep chambers of seasonal storage.
I dig through clothes and Halloween bins in search of colored hair spray, crafts or costumes needed for tomorrow morning at 7a.m. The feeling of accomplishment is immeasurable when I reveal those stored items once thought should be tossed but didn’t, “just in case.” “Ha! See! I knew there was a reason to keep this!”
This superpower is also used for the last-minute projects I was unaware were due the next day. “You need what on a poster tomorrow?”
Suddenly markers, yarn, buttons, paint or rocks all become vital parts of the demonstration my child needs to complete the presentation to the class. If I don’t make this happen, Harvard or MIT may be out of their reach!
I’m sure some of you say, there is no reason to wait until the last minute. These things should be on the calendar, and so on. Well of course…but where is the excitement in prior proper planning? No, this is where the talent and power to improvise is tested and anxiety defeated with a single bound.
Last week my daughter needed to be “Joy” from Inside Out. Digging in a bin I find blue hairspray. Perfect! Now some green clothes. Got it — a shirt and skirt will do. We got this! I had just thrown away old Christmas lights and plastic balls; perfect for Joy’s globes. This is perfect!
In my head I hear the other parents saying, “It is their responsibility to plan this and not wait until the last minute…” “Children need to learn the consequences of their own actions…”
I say to myself…I had it on my calendar and feel some responsibility too. It is a character trait I’m still working to improve as an adult. I also feel the pressure of wanting my child to take part in the fun activities when they can. This is the torture of a parent; when do you let them fail and when do you scoop them up and save the day? I say, “Let’s do this anyway!”
Regardless if they are 7 or 17, we want to see them happy. As they get older, creating an environment to support their happiness is less on us and more on them. More and more I find myself missing “mom responsibilities.” You know, the fun ones. The dress-up parties, the pajama days at school, helping them make Grandma or Grandpa that special craft.
When they are young, they must have our help. When they get older, moms start feeling less and less needed. So, when an emergency arises, the “SuperMom” of 7-year-olds kicks in. My thoughts are, “I will help you! We can do this! Don’t worry hon, I’m here to save the day!”
There will be plenty of days in the future filled with bad moods, tears, and losses that SuperMom can’t fix with a hug or expert wisdom. A 17-year-old child doesn’t want to hear from SuperMom. As young adults, they will experience stress that we can’t comfort. It is hard to watch them learn these consequences, many times when they didn’t do anything wrong. SuperMom has to grow up some too. The new superhero is the mom that learns to shut the bedroom door and walk away when they want to be alone. New mom knows when to be there ready to give a hug, and don’t give a kiss “because it’s embarrassing.” New mom also learns when to push them to try something new “just for the fun of it.” And best yet, go on a road trip because “you need quality time with your mom!” The truth is, SuperMom needs quality time with her teenager.
They also learn we aren’t perfect either and can’t solve all the last-minute problems, but through their frustration and a little maturity, they will know we tried.
So. With blue hair and green outfit on, my daughter began to have doubts. We double-checked the date of Disney day. Guess we should’ve checked before hairspray. It is next week. Better get in the shower! Super moms mess up too. But the next week, we were really ready! Prior proper planning complete…a whole week ahead of deadline!