We moms all have superpowers of one kind or another. We can tell our babies’ cries from others’. Later we can sense when our kids have had a bad day. We can carry a toddler on one arm, groceries in the other, and a human infant in our womb, all at the same time.
[To wit: I was at the pool the other day and I watched an enormously pregnant woman in a maternity swimsuit push her toddler up a mulched hill in a stroller. Sure she had to stop halfway to catch her breath, but that was only because she was doing something amazing.]
Nothing really brings mom superpowers to the fore, though, like discovering our kids are in dangerous situations. In these cases even the most mild mannered moms become ninjas ready to destroy the opposition.
When my three children were babies, my powers were focused on keeping them physically safe. Now that they’re older and better able to make commonsense decisions (like looking both ways before crossing the street and not sticking their hands in fire), my focus has shifted to keeping them mentally and emotionally safe. My superpowers have developed along with my children’s needs. These days
- I have X-Ray vision. I can see when my children are feeling alone or are riding an emotional roller coaster (ah, middle school, we meet again). I’ve been known to say to my kids, “Oops, honey. I just peeked into your soul again.” They roll their eyes but I can see that they feel relieved to know that someone understands them and will ask them the questions they need to answer. (I can also see if they’re lying but that’s another post for another day).
- I have fire power. Well, not really. But I can–and do–put up firewalls on my kids’ internet access. I keep our desktop computer in the living room so that the kids have to use it in a common area. This cuts down on lots of temptations of various kinds. We have a no-handheld-internet-devices-in-bedrooms rule. If, and when, the kids get older and want iPads, or phones, or data plans we’ll cycle back and talk about internet safety issues in more depth.
- I can become invisible. This one’s a more recent talent. I find that my kids and I talk a lot about how to talk to adults, how to answer the phone, who to give information to (or not), how to answer the door, etc. At different points they’ve had to practice these skills on their own. Even when I’m in the house, I’ve learned to stay silent as my kids navigate conversations with grown-ups they haven’t met before or answer the phone to take down information. I may not be invisible but I might as well be. Although it’s hard for me to acknowledge, it’s the one power I’m going to need more and more of as they grow and mature.
All moms have “superpowers” of one kind or another. It’s just the way we’re made. Most of the time we use them to keep our kids safe or to help them make good decisions.
What are some of your “superpowers” and how do you use them to steer your kids in the right direction?