To all the new moms and mamas-to-be:
Here’s yet another side effect no one remembered to tell you: Motherhood blesses you with supernatural, superhuman superpowers. Those prenatal vitamins you’ve been taking for months do a lot more than just make your hair shiny and your nails strong. They help prepare you for your newly acquired mom superpowers. Within a few weeks of becoming a mother, expect the following powers to strengthen:
- Ability to hold everything. You will become the family pack mule. Long gone are they days when you need to take two trips to carry the laundry baskets up the stairs or haul all 19 bags of groceries inside. Not only will you be able to cart your small child to the car, but also their diaper bag, your purse, the stroller, a passel of toys, a blankie, an extra blankie, a sippy cup, an umbrella, their lunch box and several other extraneous items your child will insist they cannot (and will not) live without.
- Living off no sleep. It’s a well-known fact that moms don’t rely on sleep for survival. The only fuel they need is the unwavering and completely reciprocated unconditional love from their children. Well, not really. But it is impressive how few hours (or minutes) of sleep that human mothers can survive on. However, this superpower doesn’t come without strings attached — side effects may include: grumpiness, tearfulness, narcolepsy, dark circles, loss of coordination and bloodshot eyes. This directly correlates with the less popular superpower: ability to go up to seven days without showering or changing your clothes.
- Supersonic hearing and eyesight. It’s true, moms have eyes in the back of their head. We know when our ornery 5-year-old is scheming to smear peanut butter on the head of the unsuspecting toddler. We can hear it when our child is two floors above us, attempting to flush an earring down the toilet. Stealing cookies from the pantry? Thinking about giving baby brother a haircut? Curious to know if the iPad floats in the bathtub? We moms are well-versed in kid agendas.
- Propensity to find anything. We aren’t necessarily super sleuths, but because we are likely the ones who regularly corral the same lineup of toys, dishes, accessories, clothing, keys, electronics — and all other things that a child (or spouse) can dispense around a house — our memory bank holds onto the geographic coordinates of everything we own. We recall that the family dog left our spouse’s left sneaker behind the couch; the pacifier is stashed in a vase on the mantle; Goodnight Moon is on the second shelf in the playroom, three books from the left; and so on and so forth.
- Cat-like reflexes. You’ll find that you suddenly can catch anything out of thin air: the lego brick your toddler launched across the room at your infant; your children, as they try to scale the walls of your living room like spider monkeys; your kiddo’s pacifier, when they threaten to drop it on the floor for the umpteenth time at a restaurant; and then there’s less fancy: poop, spit-up and barf. Yes, just like you are able to hold all of the things (see superpower No. 1), your cat-like reflexes will enable you to catch all of the things, as well.
- You know when something’s not right. Your mom gut is more than just that awkward lump in your upper you-know-what area; it’s your intuition, your compass and your translator. If so much as a hair on your kid’s head is out of place, you’ll know. If your baby’s snore is out of tune, you’ll know whether it’s a cold, allergies or really nothing to worry about. When, for the eleventh time today, your toddler is mad at the dog, throwing herself on the floor and mumbling incoherently: clearly, she’s upset because her blanket is the wrong color, her babydoll can’t stand up on its own and the M&M cookie she finagled you into buying has too many red M&Ms. You’ll just know these things.
All of these superpower are cultivated for the same reason: We love our children so much that we know every freckle on their body and every toy they cherish. We strive to be prepared for their every need — even before they need it. We develop this dynamic skill set because of our instinct to comfort and protect our little ones. So although we might not tie on a cape and fly through the sky anytime soon, we can comfort our kiddos when they need it most, locate the car keys that were inadvertently placed in the dishwasher and we can schlep our weight in groceries — all of which are arguably superhuman accomplishments.