God blessed my husband and me with two girls, seven and nine. They are my reason for living and my reason for fighting cervical dystonia every day. My oldest has struggled with perfectionism and anxiety since she entered preschool. She is a replica of me when I was her age. The other day, while lying in bed, scared that she was going to have nightmares she asked why she couldn’t be “normal” like everyone else. She says this often, and each time my heart breaks.
I understand. I desperately want to be “normal” too. I want to be a “normal” mom.
I see those “normal” moms. I call them Supermoms. You know the one, her cape flowing behind her as she navigates 7 children through the grocery store. All the children are respectful, helpful, and kind to each other. She emits an aura of confidence and has endless stamina. How does she do it? Well, between you and me, I think she has an indestructible magic bracelet! You know, like the kind Wonder Woman wears. That’s the only logical explanation, right? Then I want a magic bracelet too!!
Ok, I get that these Supermoms, in reality, are just having a super moment. And I don’t believe any person is “normal.” How would you even define a normal person? I joke with my husband that everyone lives their life in a mess of dysfunction. Humans are imperfect. Even so, it is incredibly frustrating to live with chronic pain. I am trapped in a body where my mind is willing, but my body won’t allow it. But oh, if I had a magic bracelet I would put it to such good use! With it, I would be able to tolerate the cold so I could take winter hikes and play in the snow. It would give me limitless energy. I could sew with my daughter whenever she wants. I could teach my children how to play the piano or even play it myself! It would keep me from losing my temper and yelling when I am in pain and can’t take it anymore. There would be no “But you promised we would…” when I did, and I just can’t. And while we are at it, you might as well throw in a cape. An invisible one. That way my girls would never see me as sick, or weak. Or in pain. They wouldn’t know I’m dizzy.
Feeling defeated and not at all like a Supermom, I decided to ask my girls two questions. I knew they would be brutally honest. I asked them: Why do you love me? What’s your favorite thing to do with me?
The youngest: You are amazing and you handle your teaching very well and even though you have a tough time you still make it work. I think you are a great mom. My favorite thing to do with you is having mom and me time and you take me to McDonalds. I like going to the store with you to pick out crafts to do.
The oldest: I love you because you are funny and silly. You make good dinners. I like to go shopping and spend time with you.
I’m not the mom that I planned on being, but I guess most mothers feel that way. And while I will never be a Supermom full time, it sounds like my girls already think I have super moments. I am unsure what the future holds for me, but I know that love for my family is infinite and I will always be there for them in some capacity. At the end of the day, I think I can live with that.
I still really want that bracelet though. Just for one day.
A big thanks to Patient Worthy who also published this piece.