By Melissa Stefanec
If anyone caught my column last month, she or he might think I need a good therapist or a week’s worth of sleep.
Both of those things are much needed by most of the parents I know, so I think I am good company here.
Parenting can be tough and, on its tougher days, it can be crushing. It will make you question almost everything about yourself. It will make you hard on yourself. That’s all right though, because parenting is somehow both overwhelming and overwhelmingly beautiful. Last month’s column was written from the point of view of one of those just plain overwhelming times.
But, this is a new month, and for all the times parenting brings you down, it also lifts you up. Thus, this month’s column is dedicated to my superhero moments. The moments where I impress my own worst critic — myself.
Hopefully these moments will help parents of any age stop and realize the superpowers they possess. In my world, small victories are victories with a capital V. I hope you can take the time to see the victories in your world, because to your children, they are big victories.
Here is a list of my superpowers.
When I see my kids unsure or nervous of a situation, I can just give them my hand. Handholding reassures them and lets them know I’m there to protect them. When kids get older, they likely don’t want to hold hands, but something as small as a touch on the arm or a pat on the shoulder can remind them you are there, in more ways than one.
When my kids are inconsolable, some love and a hug from mommy can make all of the difference. When they have just a minor booboo, a kiss can make it disappear. As a parent, you are literally a healing force. How cool of a power is that?
You know how kids are always the worst-behaved for their parents? Who among us hasn’t talked to someone else who cares for our kids and heard a lot of praise from that person, only to think, whose kids are they talking about? That’s because moms and dads have a whole lot of patience. More patience than we likely extend to other people. I love my kids and am very forgiving of them. My patience may not be eternal, but it’s pretty amazing.
Parents have a way to getting to the bottom of things. Maybe we wouldn’t solve a real forensics case, but when it comes to our families, we are master detectives. Parents have a sixth sense for when their children are being dishonest or not telling us the whole story, and we have our ploys to make them reveal themselves.
Ever feel like the amount of stuff you accomplished in a day should’ve taken four people to achieve? That’s because parents have the super power of being able to multiply themselves. On days you kicked butt, take a moment to recognize this power. It’s awesome.
The same intuition that lets us get to the bottom of things also tells us when something isn’t right with our children. If you listen to that intuition, you can help your child through some really tough stuff. We may not be mind readers, but we aren’t too far off either. It’s a sixth sense that most parents have regarding their children. When it’s yielded, it can be a game changer.
Parents have a way of hearing the important stuff. When kids are up to no good, we catch the drift. When kids are actually hurt, we can pick their tiny voices out of a group of 50 kids. We can also differentiate between real cries of pain and putting on an act. We hear distress cries from our children whether we are across the room or across a field. Our ears were made for their voices.
Eyes in the back of your head
This is an oldie but a goodie. I’ve seen my kids try to get away with so many things because they think I am not watching or otherwise distracted. We may not catch them in the act of every transgression, but we also catch a lot more than they think we do.
Truly everlasting love
This is every parent’s superpower, and it’s the best one. Barring major atrocities, there really isn’t anything my kids can do to make me stop loving them. On the flip side, there isn’t anything I can do to make them stop loving me. Pause and think about how amazing that is. How often in your life do you come across a love like that? It’s really something.
So, next time you find yourself falling short of expectations, running on empty or failing a lot, remember your super powers. We all have times where we feel less than — less than perfect, less than adequate, less than our best selves.
For all the days you are less than, your children believe you are more than human. Remember all the special stuff you can do for your kids. For most of their lives, you really are a superhero to them.