I can't find my Supermom cape anywhere. You know, the one they give you when you become a mom.
I'm sure it's under a pile of laundry or was used as a drop cloth for a quick painting project. I don't think I've worn it in years. To be honest, I feel ridiculous walking around with a big "S" on my back when most days I feel like I'm barely getting by.
(Here's a photo taken spring break at Six Flags of my kiddos and their superhero capes.)
I became keenly aware early in my parenting that I was issued the regular style while everyone else got the deluxe. I remember one of my daughters coming home from Kindergarten announcing she was the "snack cowgirl" and needed to bring something yummy for the class the next day.
"How about grapes and cheese cubes?" I suggested.
"Hmmm. James' mom sent muffins and everyone loved them," she countered.
"Okay, I can pick up some muffins" I offered.
"No, Mom, these were HOMEMADE muffins," she informed.
Remembering I had a friend named Betty Crocker, I replied, "Yes, I can send HOMEMADE muffins, too."
My delighted daughter added, "Oh wonderful! And don't forget the cream cheese icing that James' mom put on the top. And she squirt it for each student in the shape of their initial."
Okay, I'm out. We sent in grapes and cheese.
Yep. Just like the superheros of the comics have their superhuman specialties of spinning webs and turning things to ice, the supermommies I encounter have super strengths. These hand-smocking, birthday-party throwing, bread-baking, home- organizing, coupon-clipping, interior-decorating moms can make me feel like I will never even attain sidekick status.
But the past few years have changed me and changed what inspires me. There's a new group of supermoms that humble me. They are serving on the mission field--leaving their world of comfort and convenience to care for those who are physically and spiritually starving. They are adopting children--doing so out of great sacrifice of time and money. Forfeiting easy for days that are hard--parenting children with major medical, developmental, and emotional needs. They are starting businesses to raise funds to care for orphans. They are writing and speaking out for those who have no voice. They are raising families that glorify God in a world that is all about glorifying self. I know many of these moms personally and have met many through their blogs. I hope to introduce you to some in the coming months.
I'm not the only one influenced by superheroes. My kids are watching, learning from, and imitating those they admire. It starts young with princesses and caped crusaders, but quickly changes to entertainers and athletes. I think it's fine for them to have people they look up to, but critical that admiration doesn't turn into idolatry. Because these people are human, even those who are Christians (or claim to be) are sinners in need of a Savior, living in a fallen world. We should never put people on a pedestal that should only be occupied by One.
A few years ago, my girls and I loved to watch "John and Kate Plus Eight." I guess in a way they were "heroes." A sweet family that valued life and seemed to be doing so much right. What has happened to them is so sad, especially for those children. It was difficult to address the questions as my girls saw tabloid headlines at the grocery check-out. Their family was a sobering reminder that we need to guard our marriages and families with diligence. But it also made us careful about what "superheroes" we invite into our home. Too many "wholesome" pop stars have gone from singing about butterflies to posing provocatively for magazine covers and being arrested for DUIs.
Sometimes it's not about choosing between good and bad, but good and best. I remember a line in the movie "Superman" where he catches Lois Lane falling from a skyscraper. She says, "You've got me, but who's got you?!" I guess that's what it comes down to. Who is the source of that person's strength? If it doesn't match the source of your strength, that's not a "hero" you want in your home.
We try to read books as a family about missionaries, people of faith who have made a difference, families who are currently serving in their daily lives and on the mission field. We need to find "heroes" that not only encourage us, but challenge us. If you have a favorite book, movie, or person that has inspired you or your family, I'd love for you to mention it in the comments.
And for all those supermoms out there making a difference for eternity . . . thank you. You not only humble me, but inspire me. I look at your faithfulness and it makes think, "Now that's even better than homemade muffins with cream cheese icing."
More Than Lots,