Tag Archives: mother

the child's pencil sketch of a superhero

Parents are superheroes – here’s proof

I admired my parents as a child. I thought they were the prettiest, best-dressed, youngest parents EVER. Now I realise they must’ve had other (less superficial) skills too to cope with four kids. I was a mere mortal before motherhood, but soon developed my own enhanced abilities vital for child-rearing. Parents are indeed superheroes, and here’s the proof.

High grossness threshhold

I grew up with three brothers, so grossness is normal to me. Little did I know this is nothing compared to experiencing a small human’s faecal matter on your hands. After this their other bodily excretions such as projectile vomiting, is generally a breeze. Disclaimer: snot is my kryptonite.

PhD in mother tongue

You’ll correct every bit of slang, bad grammar and mispronunciation emitted from their mouths until they no longer embarrass you in public. Just like your own mother did to you.

Secret code developer

You and your partner will perfect the spelling of swear words and invent secret code for relating grownup stuff not meant for innocent little ears. Disclaimer: this might beget a child who perfects the spelling of swear words at a tender age.

Master’s in psychology

You’ll discover that consistently rewarding and praising them for every little fart only develops a misguided sense of accomplishment and entitlement. Not nice to be around and detrimental to the child. They sometimes need to bask in the quiet enjoyment of a job well done, without expecting validation from you.

6th sense

Proof that parents are superheroes: because they know EXACTLY when kids are doing, have done or are thinking about doing something untoward. It’s one of the essential capabilities we’ve evolved as a matter of survival.

Superhero hearing

Think Daredevil at his peak, shadowing a baddie. Your ability to hear the smallest sigh or intake of breath is at 200% capacity. Conversely, also at 200% is the child’s inability to hear you calling them to supper or to clean up their mess.

Award-winning actor

“MOM, talk like Merida’s mommy again!”

Parents need to be highly entertaining or the child will seek entertainment elsewhere.


“Woman, it’s your turn to put the money in the slipper.” Disclaimer: sorry if your noisy knees out you as the Tooth Fairy one fateful night. At least you managed this move for a good 10 years.

Low budget party planner

Yes to cake, decorations, party packets, food for kids AND grownups for less than 1 grand. No to self-indulgent, wasteful kid’s parties that they won’t even remember, just to compete on social media.

Wonder Woman’s upper body strength

Carrying a heavy child, your handbag, groceries AND unlocking the door with one hand, without dropping anything. Yass, queen.

Costume designer/milliner

Whoop! First prize for the dragon fairy costume and Easter bonnet. Ensure you have stuff like wigs, fairy wings, assorted frippery and the internet for Googling last-minute costumes. And access to a colour printer.

Archiving skills

Arranging the sprog’s new artwork on the fridge in an un-shite manner is an asset. As is the artful display, curation and practical use of assorted preschool clay creations around the home.

Wrap artist

Sometimes you run out of time or forget to do important stuff. Then you need to know how to wrap gifts like a nocturnal ninja without waking up the whole house.

Crafty like a fox

Be handy with a needle or at least know someone who’ll sew for free. If you have a kneeling, shredding, clothes-killer, you’ll need to sew patches on the holey knees of every pair of little pants. And when you hear “MOM, I can’t wear THAT, it doesn’t have POCKETS!”, you’d better make bespoke pockets post haste.


The Matrix’s Neo’s got nothing on you.

The child: Mom, what’s a penis?

The mom: I don’t have one. Ask your dad.

Reluctant hairdresser

The child insists on having a fringe, so you have to cut it despite this not being a skill. Do it in the vain hope that one day you’ll actually get to see her forehead (i.e. cut it skew on purpose). Also show her that moms don’t need to be stuck at the hairdresser while dads get to do cool stuff. DIY haircuts make trips to the hairdresser a treat, not a torture.

Personal chef

“Mom, what’s for supper?”

AARGHHH! Yes, providing decent family meals is expected of parents, but sometimes you wish you had a personal chef. It helps to have a husband who also knows how to cook. It behoofs you to learn how to hide veggies in meals for fussy eaters. Make sure you follow the 80/20 rule of 80% good food, 20% bad.

Lie detector

Apparently it’s natural for kids to lie. I lied constantly as a child. As long as you know BS when you hear it. When they’re older, you’ll need to hone this skill because their lies might become life-threatening if undetected.

Ninja sex goddess

When you want to have secret conjugals without grossing out the child, you become super creative, extra stealthy and nimble. Decorum is the path to mystery. Ergo, I know for sure my parents only had sex four times.

the child’s pencil sketch aged 8, featuring two baddies, one caped hero AND a floating sword

Really, you need more proof that parents are superheroes? Just become one yourself and enjoy the transformation to god-like status. I hope you’re ready.

mothers and daughters

My mother’s three names mean ‘sweet, happy song’. Probably true when she was a toddler, but try having four kids in five years and this soon changes to ‘bitter, sad death knell’. I dare any 25 year old woman to stay sweetly happy without a nanny or housekeeper and a full time job. Cue tons of shouting and bickering in our house – we were quite a handful.

Did your 16 year old aunt* teach you to call your mother “bitch” when you were three? Mine did. My mother pretended to be angry at the time, then she laughed about it. Mothers and daughters. Oh the love and hate – ample fuel for a slew of motherhood-based horror movies like Mama, Madre, et al.

A true style icon with expensive tastes, my mother wore gorgeous dresses and Bruno Magli shoes because low heels ‘hurt’ her. It was a gift from the gods that we had the same shoe size. It may have been imagined but instead of admiration she mostly gleaned jealousy and envy from other women. I’m not surprised, she looked pretty when she woke up, with not a stitch of makeup on her green eyes or fair skin AND she was married to a handsome, charming man-child who brought orchids to Mowbray maternity hospital when I was born. The same poor man I used to kick on the shins for giving me his brown eyes instead of green eyes like I wanted – but that’s another story…

I could never fit my 12 year old arms into her pink tulle 21st dress** (she was 1.74m tall and weighed about 45 kilos). Later, she dieted like crazy during her supposedly too-fat phase on the Atkins diet and injections until she weighed 50-odd kilos and started climbing into my clothes much to my twentysomething disgust. Even then my father’s sister asked her whether she had cancer instead of complimenting her.

I’m sure she could’ve been a model but not with her seventh day adventist upbringing. My mother never smoked or drank but she could dance like a demon. My father and her mesmerised people with their dancing. Everything she cooked, baked, knitted, sewed or wore, looked and tasted awesome. So that’s quite an icon to aspire to, especially if you’re frizzy-haired, lomp, big-boobed with braces and zero interest in fashion or makeup. But at least I didn’t need any pseudo icons in magazines when I had my own to look up to at home.

Sounds perfect? Far from it.

Take soup meat out of the freezer instead of lamb chops and you’d know all about it (my attention to detail came rather late in life). The Samuel L Jackson character in Pulp Fiction would cry in his boots when my mother raged. Once she burnt a huge iron mark on my father’s red lace shirt WHILE HE WAS WEARING IT. And let’s just say when I turned 13 on Friday the thirteenth it was not a good day for me when I made us late for my orthodontist’s appointment.

Thanks mother, for fixing my bok bek with braces when I was 13 and my big boobs when I was 20. Thank you for using up your whole salary on a private convent school education so that I wouldn’t be affected by earlier boycotts and riots in the ’80s and where I communed with squirrels at lunchtime and went to posh girls’ birthday parties. Thank you for teaching me how to cook by beating and shouting the crap out of me every Sunday. And thank you for giving me a backbone and the strength to give natural childbirth to a baby with a huge head who weighed 3.78 kilos.

Without any drugs.

I used to cry while hearing Sweet Mama by Richard John Smith as a nine year old (maybe because it was on a Sunday and I still hadn’t done my homework or I was slaving in the kitchen or my periods started). Whatever.

This song is for you mom, because I know you did your best…

Glossary of South Africanisms:

  1. lomp (lorm-p): clumsy
  2. bok bek (bawk beck): literal meaning – buck mouth, overbite 
my mother's 21st with my dad and her cake
My father and mother at her 21st in that dress**