Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Awkward Mom vs. Positive Radar

"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." I agree, Readers; Mahatma Gandhi is a little highbrow for this blog, but let's see where she is going, shall we? I am sure it will still be mostly awkward.

When one becomes a mom, one is automatically gifted 2 superpowers. Everyone has their own unique and amazing superpowers on top of this, but we all share the same basic 2. Don't ask me why, I don't make the parenting rules and, despite their assumptions, neither does Baby Center. These superpowers are James-Bond-peripheral-vision and mom radar. For ages, these 2 mighty powers have allowed mothers the world over to know what their children are up to and still go to the bathroom, sleep, and manage to sneak the occasion chocolate. They created "the eyes in the back of the head" lore. Attributing eyes in the back of the head to a regular (i.e. not mutant mom) is akin to saying that Cyclops has lasers that fire out of his eyes. He actually produces optic blasts. Or assuming that Wolverine is immortal, when he actually has a healing factor that slows down his aging process. Neither is offensive, just slightly inaccurate.

The first time I held Super Preschooler, I could actually see the room in a whole new way. Everything became sorta heightened and brighter. I may have still been feeling my epidural, but I like to think that my eyes were turning into James Bond's eyes. 3 children later, I can almost see the entire park/museum/playgroup at once, and it slows down ever so slightly when we first walk in (a la hot Sherlock Holmes); so I can assess potential dangers and look for lurking lead paint. It's a pretty awesome superpower and one that new moms have a hard time recognizing in themselves. This leads to the whole helicopter mom phenomenon, which in turn leads to the "Whose Child is this? Lost child! Lost Child!" when they see my child more than 2 feet away from a parent. But I must be patient, they will learn. They just haven't grown into their new eyes yet.

Mom Radar is a little harder to explain, but it is essentially an invisible rope that ties you to your child. Vibrations are constantly riding up and down this rope because, let's be honest, children are never still. If the vibrations get too crazy or, even worse, slow down for any reason, you immediately find your child and see what is wrong. Quiet vibrations are the worst kind. Mom Radar is not fool-proof, or we would have completely avoided Super Toddler's wall-art phase, but it is a solid weapon in the parent arsenal. Mom Radar is also a multi-faceted superpower; it actually functions outward into the world. Your radar functions on most objects or people. Try it. That rusty pick-up truck at the highway rest stop? Just ugly or housing a potential kidnapper; your radar will give you a clue. That overly friendly mom at the playgroup? Trying to trick you onto the school board or just being her awkward self? Trust your radar, it knows. It always knows.

However, this post isn't about the basic mom superpowers, although, I have to admit, they are pretty cool to talk about. This post is about the downside to them. As a mom, you are used to scanning the room for asbestos and potential babysnatchers and you can forget that the world is a lovely and beautiful place. (Yikes, Pollyanna alert!) It's true that that's pretty cheesy, but it is also actually true. The world is magical and wonderful, which is something I very often forget. You see, I am an awkward mom and getting through the day can often feel like a battle; there is a reason that most of my blog posts titles include a vs. Life can be hard and lonely, but it can also be easy and full. There are just as many fairy godpeople out there in the world as there are villains. Want a list? I love lists! Here we go...

List of the fairy Godpeople that I have encountered just this month:

1. The man at the recycling center who was recycling glass and had one aluminum can, so he gave it to us so Super Toddler could put it in the machine.

2. The grandma at the bank who wasn't remotely phased by Super Baby's melt-down and even commented that she has "seen much worse."

3. The 14 people, this week alone, who have held the door open for us.

4. The Target checker who took every one of my coupons with a smile, even though it was the end of her shift and she had a line. And much love to the woman behind me who didn't sigh once and even applauded for me when she found out my savings.

5. The mailman who cheerfully waves at us every day, despite my semi-shovelled walk and half-naked children pushing in the window to get a better look at him.

6. Most of the loving volunteers at the Humane Society, who let Excellent Mom and myself drag a troop of noisy children through there to pet kitties and feed dogs on a snowy afternoon. The glaring volunteer knows who she is and I wish her some happiness and peace because she looks like she needs some, badly.

7.  The 4 moms that haven't shot me the stink eye when I can't help but make faces at their babies. Special love to the one who said, "Oh, that's a good one, you must be a mom."

8. The UPS man. We might be a little addicted to AmazonPrime, and he never mentions it.

9. Everyone who tells me that my children are adorable and well-behaved, which is reaching the upper hundreds this week and completely undeserved. But welcome.

10. The random Target lady with the paper towels in her cart who told me and Awesome Mom how to get to the paper goods because the store is being remodeled and we were pretty lost, despite both shopping there several times a week. Her directions were spot-on and there was no judgment.

11. The comic-lover on ebay who gave me nice feed-back.

12. The 4 bankers who helped me roll my coins and were endlessly kind about it, even though it was only $36.43.

13. The man from Illinois who answered every tax question I had and even told me that the entire state missed us. He also heard Super Baby cooing through the phone and then proceeded to tell me about his twins and how much fun 12-year-old boys are.

14. The man at Meijer who told me that I was "doing God's work." I have no idea what that means but I am gonna assume it is the more forgiving/loving aspect and less of the smiting/raining down locusts part. He smiled, patted Super Preschooler's head, and seemed to mean it in a good way.

15. The salesman at the shoe store, who told Super Toddler that he has "wonderful taste," even though the taste that Super Toddler was sporting was in the form of 4-inch silver-sequin-covered slingbacks.

16. Every single one of you, dear Readers. Thanks for being awesome and tolerant of my rambling ways.

What powerful and relevant quote is she going to end with? "Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth." And with Erma Bomback, we're back to normal around here.

Here are some pictures of the Supers with shoes. Just because.

Rock on, little fashionistas. Rock on.


  1. I just love your blog. It makes me smile, every time. Your writing is incredible, my friend (gift, can someone say gift?) I have nothing eloquent or profound to add - just, I love it. :)

    1. Awwww...thanks! I love your blog too. You art is so amazing!

  2. Evita Peron and Imelda Marcos beware.

    1. They better. The supers are shoe obsessed!

  3. Love this! It does restore my faith in humanity (yet again), and it was a much-needed reminder after my encounter with the opposite of a fairy godmother today. Now that I've read your list, I've remembered that when we got home today, the garbage man waved and smiled at Katie. Good people are everywhere!

    1. Mail and garbage men (and women!) are so friendly to kids, love it.

      Glad you have recovered from the hair incident. Totally not a fairy godmother....