Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! Its SUPERMUM!
Recently I was invited to catch up with friends over some afternoon drinks. Although my toddler is always welcome to join me on such events, what the host doesn’t realise is how said toddler will alter my behaviour.
Or more accurately, my identity.
This is because ever since my baby has grown into a strong-willed, fast-moving, and high-climbing toddler, I have become her guardian angel.
I, ladies and gentlemen, have become her Supermum.
Supermum is a skilled chaser, catcher, warner, finder, sunscreen sprayer and sippy-cup holder. She has excellent hand-eye coordination, and is ready to pounce into action at any given moment (even in her sleep).
Now, back to those drinks. The afternoon began in a deceptive manner, as my toddler played coy to all of the hugs and kisses she received. I was even able to ask two people how they were. However, it wasn’t long until Supermum was forced to swoop mid conversation to restrain a sprinting toddler from jumping into the open swimming pool.
Luckily, I managed to perform the well-rehearsed ‘toddler stop’ manoeuvre, hooking the back of her collar, and transitioning into a double armed waist hold. This was repeated numerous times, as she continued to venture toward open water.
Eventually I gave up and took her inside. Rooky mistake. Most people assume couches are for sitting. Toddlers are not so naive. Cue violent jumping and catapulting from couch to coffee table.
Mid catapult, she spotted the Christmas tree. In her mind it was in desperate need of reorganising, as she made some interesting design choices while frantically rearranging the decorations at her reach. Some even passed the taste test.
It wasn’t long until I decided indoors was possibly worse than open water after all.
And so, I decided to brave the outdoors once again, convinced I could keep my toddler warm, dry, and away from the pool.
Fast forward 5 minutes and she was completely naked and splashing on the top step of the pool. Not all Supermums are able to stick to their missions. And for the next chunk of my afternoon of ‘catching up with old friends’ I sat, bum soaking wet, and prayed that my naked child would not poo in my friend’s pool.
Now don’t get me wrong – I love spending time with my daughter. But there was a clear division at this gathering. The division of friends seated and conversing, and a fellow Supermum warrior and myself, both praying to the poo Gods as our naked children fought over a plastic Disney cup in the pool.
Soon, the tantrums began, and I, Supermum, gave in to defeat. It was time to go home. We were the first to leave, and as we did so, my lovely friends gave hugs ‘and lets catch up again soon’s’.
Had we actually ‘caught up’ at all?
See, this is thing about being a Supermum. You don’t get the name ‘Super’ by ‘catching up’, when there is a toddler to save.
Driving home I was so relieved to have my daughter safely strapped in her car seat, that it made me think back to the first time I had discovered the Supermum in me.
It was at a baby shower, fit with concrete stairs, and glass coffee tables.
A stunning setting to enjoy a glass of bubbles and appreciate the view.
If only that mother with the wild hair would stop running around in circles after her toddler (who had snatched the cheese knife and was ready to duel) shrieking commands and waving her arms.
That was me. I was the mother with the wild hair. I had made the terrible mistake of preparing myself for an afternoon of socialising. I didn’t realise I would become a lone superhero, darting between cheese platters and high heels.
When I finally gave up and made my exit, I stood in the driveway and cried. Ugly cried. Kim Kardashian needing a divorce after 72 days of marriage cried.
I was exhausted. I was embarrassed. And I hadn’t even spoken to the host of the shower, the whole reason I had gone.
Worst of all, I felt alone.
I felt angry. Angry at everyone who had been able to sit with a drink and make conversation. Angry at the funny looks I received as I carried my toddler like a surfboard as she kicked and screamed. Angry that my friends hadn’t, and couldn’t, understand.
Angry that I was angry.
Angry that I had been so naïve.
One of the biggest things I have learned about motherhood is the importance of perspective. In this instance, I had incorrectly perceived the baby shower to be a social event.
Today, I know that when I attend adult gatherings with my toddler that these will not be ‘social events’. I am prepared to wear my Superman panties and burn an impressive amount of calories as I treat friends’ houses like rugby fields, throwing myself in front of danger.
Understanding that this was my new norm was a shock to the system. And, realising that most of those who are close to me don’t live in this super world was even harder.
Although Supermum still feels a pang of jealousy as she sees friends drinking wine out of glasses that don’t require lids or straws, she is smarter when taking her toddler into adult territory.
Smarter in understanding that sometimes it is better to decline some invitations, should these involve open water, sharp knives, or concrete staircases.
Sometimes, people won’t understand this, and will still ask quizzically “why can’t you just bring her along?”
One day, they will.
But if you do decide to brave unchartered territory as Supermum, be prepared for an afternoon of super deeds, rather than conversation.
Even better, start surrounding yourself with other Supermums, who understand your strange social requirements.Enjoy some adult conversation while high chairs and packed lunches keep toddlers still for a few minutes (just avoid the flying muffins). Indulge in the joy that is being a mother, and the hilarity of some of the situations our toddlers manage to get us in to with the knowledge that your fellow Supermums are right there with you.
So, here’s to all you other Supermums out there.
I see you.
And I know, that you too, are doing a super job.