Supermom

 

He was 10 days old. 

He woke with clinched fists and eyes squeezed shut after a too-short rest. His head turned from side to side, his mouth moving; he wanted to nurse. I settled him close and felt him relax next to me. But the peace of that moment did not last. After a few short minutes, he cried again and turned away.

It was happening again. Why couldn’t I do this? 

I felt like a failure. This most natural thing – feeding my babies – was so very difficult. Even though I so desperately wanted to breastfeed, for some reason I could not supply enough milk. I had hoped this time my body would cooperate and that I would be able to feed him on my own. I could not escape the feeling that I was letting him down as I opened the can of formula. 

I did not feel like Supermom.

There will be times you feel like you've

He had just turned one year old. 

I lifted him out of his high chair and brushed the mixed vegetables off of his clothes. (I think he wore more food than he ate in those days.) The peas and carrots and corn and beans rolled across the floor in a starburst pattern as he toddled off down the hall. He heard his older brother playing in the bathtub, so no doubt he wanted to investigate. I grabbed the broom; I would quickly sweep before I followed. I heard the sound – and the moment of breathless silence a moment later – and I knew. 

“MOM! He fell against the tub!”

I was there in a flash – but not before my mind raced to guilt. ‘Why hadn’t I followed? I should have waited to sweep.’

I scooped him up and saw the blood and the broken teeth. I held and comforted and got a cold facecloth before rushing off to the emergency clinic. There I saw sympathetic smiles from the nurses, but was told that chipped teeth are not medical emergencies.  

I did not feel like Supermom.  

I am not-so organized all the time and I struggle to keep us on time. Sometimes I am a space cadet.

I am not the best housekeeper. Sometimes my feet stick to the floor where popsicles have fallen and melted – their liquid dried to a sheer gloss. Or I crunch fish crackers that swim over the edges of our colourful bowls. The laundry gets washed and folded and stacked, but sometimes the piles take over one (or more) of the seats in the living room before it gets put away. 

I do not feel like Supermom.

He is four now.

Supermom

For the past 3 days, he has been sick with a fever. His asthma flares with viruses and makes him cough and wheeze. He could not get comfortable the other night after I tucked him in. After hearing him struggle for a few minutes, I walked quietly into his darkened room.

“Will you stay with me?” he asked.

I rearranged his pillows into “pillow mountain” and I snuggled beside him. I passed him his water bottle and he took small sips to calm the cough. I smoothed his hair and I could smell  his shampoo as I kissed the top of his head. And slowly, slowly, I felt him relax. The coughing subsided and his breaths lengthened. His eyes slowly closed.

I knew he would likely awaken again – thanks to more coughing or a returning fever – after another too-short rest. But for that moment at least, he was comfortable.    

I am not Supermom – most days I don’t come close. Most days are rushing and compromise and balancing and falling off the mountain of my expectations. But I keep climbing. And sometimes on the way up, I catch a glimpse of something in me. I have the words or the shoulder or the healing touch they need, right when they need it. I could almost believe in my own magic.

The other night in the darkness of his room, I might have had that elusive super power. It didn’t last, of course. But for that moment, I felt like Supermom.

Do you have glimpses of Supermom? 

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  1. says

    We all have times when we feel that we are drowning in our own imperfection – I get you on the sticky floors! – but all we have to do is look into their eyes to see the unconditional love and know that they think we’re supermom. That’s all that really matters. Who cares about the piles of laundry?

    ps. I hope that he’s feeling better :)
    Kat recently posted..Finish the Sentence Friday – #4My Profile

    • says

      He recovered quickly after that, thank you Kat.
      I absolutely agree – “the laundry will always be there” – I have said that more than once. :)

  2. says

    Oh. Oh Kim. I love this post. We have written about very similar things today and this has me all teary-eyed. You are the absolute BEST mom.
    Katie recently posted..filling spaceMy Profile

  3. says

    Oh, Kim. You have spoken to my heart today. There are so many moments of second-guessing. Or moments where I don’t second guess because I just fall into the roll of not-at-all-super mom and accept it. (You should see my house. You’d feel better about yours).

    But we are the best Moms our kids have, and that is a fact I cling to, sometimes.
    Laura recently posted..Boy ClothesMy Profile

    • says

      I remind myself of that, Laura: I am the best mom for them.
      I get them and I try my best and though I mess up, I know they know that I love them. That means a lot – even when my house is a mess. :)

    • says

      I have allowed an extra episode myself from time to time – just because. It is OK to relax from time to time. It is good for them, too, I think. :)

  4. Carey H says

    I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this. I seriously think it would save the world if we all just realized that we all feel this way. Thank you!

  5. says

    Beautiful Kim. I know all too well the moments of feeling like less than Supermom, but it is also important the moments when it all comes together for us! :)-Ashley

    • says

      Thank you, Christine – he bounced back quickly after I wrote this.
      It is easier to see those moments when we think we fall short, isn’t it? I love it when a good-feeling-moment pops up and I let myself enjoy it. :)

    • says

      It is nice to see those glimpses of Super Mom, isn’t it? It is refreshing since it is usually easier for me to reflect on the thing I wished I could have done differently.

  6. says

    Glimpses only, but yes. So much.
    I do so much every day. I’m hard on myself multiple times a day but I blog, care for two kids, get the puppy out of trouble, and try to make money. Sometimes I even do make money. So on many days, I go to bed knowing I’ve done a lot.
    Scarlet is all about Dada right now but when she was sick, it was me. And I knew that my hugs and cuddles were superheroic to her. Even if there was nothing else I’d rather do.
    Tamara recently posted..Winter’s Leftovers.My Profile

  7. says

    Oh – I can so relate to this post!
    But I think that if someone else asked your 2 boys they would definitely say you are supermom and the best mom ever!!!
    Even though it comes with sleep deprivation – those nighttime hours soothing a child are some of the best memories as the kids get older!!!
    Kim recently posted..Calming Your MindMy Profile

    • says

      I hope they would say that, Kim! (I would like to think so, anyway.) :)
      Although I do not like to see them sick, those cuddles are pretty special – especially since they are getting harder to come by.

  8. says

    This is beautiful. I think more mamas need to share the not so glamorous side of parenting. The media and sites like Pinterest make it seem like everything is always rainbows & sprinkles while raising the child. I was really starting to feel inadequate. This post made me feel like I’m not alone. I’ve gotten dirty looks when my son starts crying in a restaurant and even had a nanny yell at me when I turned my back for a second to find my son had tripped and fallen after running. Society thinks we really should be superwomen all the time but we’re only human & I thank you for reminding me.

    • says

      We are only human, it is true. We cannot expect perfection all the time, including from ourselves. I have to remind myself of this, too. All we can do is the best we can.
      Thank you so much for your kind words and your comment!

  9. says

    I just discovered your blog. This post is beautiful! There are so many times we feel like we are doing everything wrong but I love that you captured a moment that put it all into perspective.

    • says

      Thank you so much, Becky. It is wonderful when we can recognize one of the moments when it all comes together, isn’t it?
      And thank you so much for your comment – I am so glad you are here. :)

Trackbacks

  1. […] Although there are times that I feel like I still have that magic touch as a mother, four really has a way of squashing my momma heart sometimes. Now that he is feeling better, the cuddle embargo is definitely ON once again. […]