What happens when a normal, PTA-fearing mother of two teenagers suddenly finds herself thrust into a new career at the tender age of forty-one?
And what if that career happens to involve an entirely new wardrobe, including high heels (which she hasn't worn in decades) and underwire bras (ditto)?
Furthermore, what if the job description includes keeping the world safe for democracy and engaging in hand-to-hand combat with really evil villains with unusual names?
Well, apparently she starts hearing voices.
At least, that's what happened to me, after a full six months on the job as the newest kid on the superhero block, that maternal dynamo known as—
Super Mom. (That's me.)
I'd just come home from yet another busy day of fighting crime. I stumbled up to the back door tired, cranky because I'd forgotten my key, but then realized that it wasn't necessary because the extra set was dangling from the door knob, practically sending out an engraved invitation to any interested evil villains to c'mon in and take their best shot at me. I sighed, pulled the keys out of the door knob and pushed the door open with my shoulder, because it's old and it sticks.
"Who left the keys in the back door?" I called, stumbling over the pile of discarded tennis shoes, flip-flops, snow boots and chunky platform wedges just inside the door. None of which was mine. I flipped on the kitchen light, only to shield my eyes from the devastation - the open cabinets, dirty dishes and globs of peanut butter - that greeted me. "Well, I have had it," I muttered, tightening my Apron of Anticipation around my waist, preparing myself for one more final, epic battle between good and evil.
(I'm good, for those keeping score.)
"Martin," I called, my hands on my hips. "Pick up your shoes! Kelly, get that backpack out of the way! Has it occurred to anyone around here to close a cabinet door lately? And what have I told you about turning out these lights? Money doesn't grow on trees, you know!"
I was met by a menacing silence that set my Super Mom sense on high alert; I whirled around, tense, ready for the onslaught of an enemy more terrifying than any villain imagined—Teenagers.
(They're evil. In case you're still keeping score.)
"Mom, I'll just have to put them on again tomorrow, so what's the use? Jeez!"
"Mother, please! I'll get it later when I do my homework! Have you tried lifting that thing, anyway? Do you want me to put my back out by bringing it all the way up to my room?"
I tugged on the offending backpack, crammed full of high school textbooks; even with my superpowers I couldn't lift it. So I kicked it out of the way and sighed dramatically, just in case anyone was paying attention to me. Then I trudged upstairs, untying my Apron of Anticipation, shaking out the dirt and cookie crumbs that had settled into the pockets - and bumped into two huge piles of laundry in the hallway. Stepping around them, I tripped over an empty soda can somebody had left in the middle of the hall - only to discover that it wasn't really empty.
My chest started to vibrate. I clenched my fists, reared my head back and felt my mouth almost split my face in two.
"ALL RIGHT! THAT'S IT! I HAVE HAD IT, I CANNOT LIVE IN A PIGSTY ANYMORE. NO ALLOWANCE THIS WEEK, DO YOU HEAR ME? NO ALLOWANCE!!!!!!!!"
My Mighty Roar thundered through the house; mirrors shook, dishes rattled and I cringed, just waiting. Sure enough, I heard a huge crash accompanied by the tinkling of shattered glass.
"Mom, that's the second picture this week!" My children confronted me at the foot of the stairs, their arms folded over their chests, twin pillars of martyrdom.
"Can't you learn to control yourself?" Kelly arched one golden eyebrow.
"Now who's going to clean it up?" Martin shook his head.
"Sorry," I mumbled. "Sorry. It just - came out." I took a deep breath, worked up some quick tears and pulled another weapon out of my arsenal. Super Guilt Trip.
"It's just that I've been a little busy today, fighting crime and all," I whispered, wiping my eyes with the corner of my Apron. "I'm sorry if I seem a little cranky - but I did stay up late last night doing all this laundry. But never mind." I sighed and sat down on the top step, showing off the cuts and bruises on my hands, hitching my costume up to reveal a giant gash on my knee from an earlier battle. (Me vs. The Ice Cream Man from Hell, who was notorious for driving away with little kids' change and not giving them their Push-Ups. I won. Just in case - you know, the score thing.)
Reprinted from Super Mom Saves The World by Melanie Lynne Hauser by permission of NAL, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Copyright © 2006 by Melanie Lynne Hauser. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced without permission.