The Supermom

When my baby brother was born in the early 90s, my parents invested in a video camera. It was a big purchase at the time, and an important one. To this day, we cherish the home videos that were made with that video camera. His childhood has been captured in 3 minute snippets, and then compiled into a few hours of home videos that trigger uncontrollable laughs every time it’s viewed.

With the advent of the smartphone, moms everywhere take videos and photos of their changing baby as if to bottle up the emotions experienced every single time he smiles, burps, or screams in joy. My friends tell me to enjoy every minute of this beautiful time because it goes by so fast. Before I know it, I will have an emo teenager on my hands who I’ll be wrestling to the ground just to get him to wear black socks at his graduation (Yes, in 18 years, I see myself as Frankie from The Middle).

It’s a precious time, the world at large tells us. And I have no doubt that it is; then, why do I find myself loading the dishwasher, folding laundry, and making dinner as my baby boy rolls in delight while babbling at his teddy? Shouldn’t I be there right beside him cherishing these moments?

It is so tough to fight the domestic urge to keep it all together as a woman. At one point, a happy, healthy, well-behaved baby was the indicator of a good stay-at-home mom. Somewhere along the way, a clean house, folded laundry, three home-cooked meals, and a beautifully manicured woman got tagged on to the SAHM job description. Most of us refer to this emerging new species as the Stay-At-Home-Supermom. And to the mothers who are doing all of the above PLUS a full-time job, taxonomists everywhere are still working to find a name for you extraordinary creatures.

The problem is it all happens so fast – in a single moment, really. You go from being an independent, put-together, carefree woman to a full-fledged mom in a blink of an eye. Sure, the 9-month baking time helps you mentally prepare for the transition, but it doesn’t really hit you until that wondrous moment when that baby is placed ever so gently onto your chest. And, just like that – the independent, put-together, carefree woman ceases to exist. Just like that – her once hour-long shower, hair, and makeup routine is immediately replaced by 5 minute power naps and 2 minute power showers. Just like that.

This short transition time is why so many of us have such a hard time maintaining that supermom status without burning out. Maybe our male counterparts have had it right all along? So what if you let the laundry pile up, skip the bathroom cleaning, and load the dishwasher later? For the last 6 months, I have scoffed at that question. I’ll tell you what’ll happen – the laundry pile will graduate to mountain status, and food remains will change state and become fused to pots and pans as crusty, impossible to scrub off lumps of turd.

At the end of the day, the supermom is not one who does all of the above and then some; on the contrary, she, without fail, puts her children above everything else. She lets the less important things go because she realizes that life is not a home video – there is no rewind button. These moments will not come again. These moments not only define her baby’s childhood, but also her motherhood. Given the choice, she will opt for another trip to the park, roll in delight alongside her baby, babble to the teddy, and play hide-and-seek with her little one.

Besides, the laundry mountain makes for a great hiding spot.

Published by Anjali Joshi

Anjali Joshi is a science educator, author, and lifelong learner. She is mom to two curious boys who keep her on her toes!

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