Lessons on Geek Anthropology gets real answering why Mothers are Superheroes. I know, parents, both mothers and fathers, are Superheroes. But why do mothers become more Superhero under their children’s eyes? If we take a look at Superhero origin stories, we’ll find out that these stories have something in common with new parents: their identities are forever transformed. I’m not saying that babies are like radioactive spiders that will bite you and give you superpowers, nor I’m stating that babies will make you fly. However, I’m arguing that parents, in particular, mothers, see their identities transformed forever when they greet with their arms open their first born.
Think about it: before giving birth to your first born, women usually define themselves with many words, but certainly mom or mother isn’t one of them. You might define yourself by your occupation, your hobbies, but certainly not with family words like daughter or sister. However, a new parent will certainly use words like Mom or Pop. Parenthood then, becomes the central characteristic overshadowing all other characteristics of the self. And that’s what happens to Superheroes!
Can you define your Mother without stating her status as Mother? Certainly not! Just as much you cannot define Peter Parker without acknowledging Spider-Man, or just as much you cannot define Tony Stark without acknowledging Iron Man. What’s more, you cannot separate being tired and exhausted because having that role either. Being a parent is as much energy-draining as being Spider-Gwen! Mothers have to multitask suddenly, especially when they are working mothers and need to do more than expected from them. They have a baby, are new moms, and suddenly they get all these new responsibilities. In the same way, Superheroes fight crime, Mothers will do whatever for their babies. And sometimes, society will look at them with terrible eyes misunderstanding them too! Think about how many times Spidey is confused to be the villain! Now think about all these mothers trying to breastfeed their babies in public spaces and getting shamed for doing what nature provided us with!
Mothers try to balance power and responsibility just as much as Superheroes do. Just as happens with Spider-Man, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Being a Mother implies being a Superhero, a figure that is both responsible and playful. Mothers keep, nurture, work, spend their time with you and also play with you. And so do fathers. However, Mothers have gained their new identity quite traumatically.
Most Superheroes have gained their super-identity through a traumatic event: for some radioactive accidents, for others, the loss of their parents, for others having a piece of technology attached to their chests. Mothers carry around their babies till they’re born in a very painful way. Let’s be real here: giving birth is painful. And so is having a new identity, that of a mother. What they did before and how they defined themselves before being Mothers is gone forever, while the new identity takes place. And they must face challenging times, not only at home but also when living within society.
So, are our parents Superheroes? Are our Mothers Super Mothers? Well, the answer is obvious: yes, they are! They might not be perfect, but, as we can see in comics, Superheroes aren’t perfect either. But they are, and forever will be Superheroes for us!
So, next time your Mother asks you to do something, don’t complain. Think about how many diapers she changed, how many nights she was awake, how many things she stopped doing for you, how her life changed because of you. Give her a hug. Give your pops a hug too. They earned it!