Monday, April 23, 2012

I want to be a supermom

When I was a teenager, I happened to catch a small snatch of an American TV series on Doordarshan, our state-run television. I don't remember what it was called, but a song on that show, sung by an 8-year-old boy, caught my attention. I won't pretend that the words were exactly as I've reported them below. Only the first two lines are absolutely accurate. The rest I have forgotten and made up but they do catch the spirit of the original. The song went something like this:

"My mom thinks she's a supermom, but I don't think that's true.
She works on the computer and the telephone, but I can do that too.

My mom thinks she's a supermom, but I don't think that's true,
She works on the computer and the telephone,
And knits and sews and cooks and bakes, but I can do that too.

My mom thinks she's a supermom, but I don't think that's true,
She works on the computer and the telephone,
And knits and sews and cooks and bakes,
Plays football and mows the lawn, but I can do that too."

The little boy on the show was singing these lines and acting them out at the same time. So he would pretend to be stabbing away at an invisible keyboard while speaking on a telephone held between his shoulder and ear at the same time, then suddenly break away to bring two knitting needles together — you get the idea. Of course, the kid utterly failed to do justice to all the tasks that his mother managed with consummate ease, driving home the point that mothers are indeed supermoms.

My mother was a supermom. She cooked for us, baked the occasional cake on our birthdays, nursed us when we were ill and supervised our studies, was always home when we got back from school, all this while running her own sewing enterprise successfully. While I mentally acknowledged with gratitude all that she did for us, and even occasionally spoke of her in glowing terms, in conversations with friends, I am ashamed to admit this now — I don't remember ever paying her a compliment or letting her know that her efforts are appreciated.

In contrast, I barely manage to do a tenth of what my mother did for me, and my daughter responds with as much admiration as if I had accomplished three or four impossible things before breakfast.

The other day she told me, "Mamma, whatever food you cook for me, that I like." For someone who enjoys cooking post-motherhood, but is not exactly flooded with compliments (every time I cook, I have to ask the husband, "How was the so-and-so?" at least twice, before he will condescend to reply once, "Nice."), that was sweet music to my ears.

But I'm not one to take praise where it is undeserved. I have been trying to cook more, spend more time with the kids. I have already promised myself that I will always strive to be totally involved in my kids' lives, to be there for them always, to make them feel loved. I am trying my best to truly deserve the epithet of supermom.

There is another element of being a supermom that I long to have. Of course, mothers have always had eyes in the back of their heads, besides the near-magical ability to kiss the most horrendous boo-boos and make them well. And in my own case, I have discovered that I can function most admirably even on the strength of just  hours of sleep. What's more, I have been doing that for nearly 8 months now with my son, and for another 3 years prior to that with my daughter. Sleep deprivation? What's that?

But in today's world, it would be no mean thing to boast a super power or two. Super speed, super strength and flying are highly over-rated. But as a mother, I can imagine a day far into the future, when my kids will enter the volatile world of Teendom (or is it Tweendom now?), and then I could really do with X-ray vision, long-distance hearing, mind reading and seeing the future.

Meanwhile, I look at my 3-year-old daughter, so precious, so precocious, and I tell myself that if there is any super power that I would like to have right now, it would be the ability to stop time and savour each moment of my children's childhood.

Mothers today could certainly use some super powers. As a prelude, I had better get myself a cape.

This entry was chosen as one of the winners in the My Family Memories contest, organised by in association with


  1. Lovvve it, Cynshine Totally agree. In our quest to multitask and juggle through owies, and dinners, and cook, and clean, we tend to forget those lil things. Need to pause, taje a greak, and enjoy the kids at whatever stage they are in before we get re-gobbled by the daily humdrums. :)

  2. Beautiful .. and it gets more touching when a mother n daughter is in it ... :))

  3. Merw, Thanks very much. Glad you like my post.
    Shubs, You are so right. We get so caught up in the unnecessary details of our existence that we have to actually remind ourselves to enjoy our children's presence in our lives. And they grow up so soon too.
    Mark, Thank you very much. It gets equally beautiful with a father and child. Someday I shall put down my thoughts on the beautiful relationship between a father and a daughter, and then you can tell me whether I got it right or not.
    Merw, Shubs and Mark, thanks for the comments and the encouragement. This means a lot to me.



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