The Day I wore a Superhero Cape

A white postcard stands in front of a wooden background. The postcard states, "Mom, I've always known," and underneath is a superhero cape and eye mask, both in pink.

The day my son heard me take that business call, I laughed so hard, I worried that my tear ducts would dry right up.

Allow me to set up the scene.

The kids and I are in our family car, driving up our street and into the driveway, back from an activity, when a call comes in.

It’s work.

The powers that be from work have a question and they need it answered now.

I naturally move the call to bluetooth, so I can multitask: both arrive at our destination and answer said question simultaneously, a talent perfected best after having children.

I go through the motions, talking, explaining. I throw in a word or two from an old SAT prep course from years back. Some medical terms are also exchanged.

I get through the call only to notice my son has shifted positions, angled toward me, and staring.

“What?” I ask.


I notice his blinking cease, as he looks on in wonder. Or maybe it’s confusion and I’m just reading into the stare, or even exercising some run-of-the-mill wishful thinking, fit for any working parent. He’s trying to understand the scenario that has just taken place.

“Me what?”

“You. Why do you talk like that? You’re, like (and, in a deep authoritative voice, he proceeds with the imitation, brows bunched close together, accentuating dramatics), ‘Have her come back into the office, blah, blah, blah, syringe.. blah, blah, bloodwork, blah, blah, blah.”

He proceeds with his theatrics until he’s made his point, then stops. He wants an explanation.

I let his words sink in and then hysterics follow.

My Take

Our children have their own vision of what we are like. When we deviate from that expectation, even by a bit, we seem unrecognizable.

To him, I’m always his run-of-the-mill, everyday Mom. He doesn’t recognize Work-Mom, doesn’t know her.

I play many roles at home, from Mom-Who-Makes-Pancakes to Mom-Who-Dances-In-PJs to Mom-Who-Screams-‘Get-Back-in-Bed!’ (which I alternately refer to as Mom-Who-Kisses-Me-Good-Night).

I’ve certainly never been Mom-Who-Decides-Which-Labwork-To-Order-On-A-Patient.

That afternoon, after he heard that call, I felt like I wore my own sort of superhero cape, even if it was just for a few seconds. He looked at me differently for a short while after that, from the side, and with a newfound admiration.

Even though it was short-lived, it felt terrific. During those moments after I hung up that call, I felt my cape fly, and stood just a wee bit taller, feeling pride.

And then it was time to make dinner.

Moms! Not all superheroes wear capes.

Afternote: Our children admire any deviation from the norm, no matter what it is that you do. If you’re a stay-at-home Mom, your child will surely look up at you in awe if you show him old photos from your wedding, or from those college years when you wore a crazy ‘do. Each of us wears the different superhero capes that work for us. The key is to own it and be proud, because, once we’re home, we’re back to ‘basic us’ and, once again, transform into the Mom-I-love that they know all too well.



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