Moms are super. We do magical things, every day, and to be honest, I’m not always sure how we do it. Whether we’re coordinating fifteen different schedules, swooping in to save a homework emergency, or finding the energy to combat the family flu, motherhood has a way of presenting unique challenges that require some serious feats of strength.
In honor of Mother’s Day, Summer Infant started a project highlighting the work of moms with their debut of The M.O.M. Squad: “the world’s first team of all-pregnant superheroes.” Each character was modeled after four strong pregnant women and brought to life by the talented comic artist Viera Boudreau.
Hearing about the project was intriguing. It made me see how parents are superheroes every single day. We save our children from boo-boos and monsters under the bed, we show our children right from wrong, and we encourage good citizenship. I just saved my toddler from the cat’s quickdraw claws, and if that isn’t a show of lightning reflexes, I don’t know what is. We’re from different walks of life and have different parenting philosophies, but we are all united in trying to be there for our families.
What’s Up, Super Mom?
As it is Mother’s Day, I asked my super mom friends how they felt about motherhood, and like Lois Lane, I got the inside scoop on everything from what it means to be a Super Mom to how important it is to take each day in stride.
Fox Mom (Kristi) – “Everything doesn’t have to be serious. Laugh. It makes all the difference.”
Super GeekMom Corrina – “Superheroes are the ones who take responsibility for other people, no matter what the odds against them. I feel like motherhood is like that. You have to sometimes go forward without a clear idea, knowing failure is not an option because people are counting on you.”
Super Mom Leah – “I try and remember that none of this came with an instruction manual, so what a superhero needs is sheer willpower to go ahead and do all the things, not be perfect, and feel good about themselves whilst doing it.”
Super GeekMom Karen – “Although I often feel like the ‘clumsy sidekick’ as a mom, seeing my child mentor smaller kids and act as an empathetic force for change in the world feels more powerful than saving someone from an alien invasion because I know these are behaviors I’ve helped cultivate … Parenting is equal parts joy and self-doubt, and sometimes, it feels like self-doubt weighs heavier on the scale. Do the best you can with what you have. And if there are days you can’t do or be your best? That’s ok.”
Phantom General (Ynes) – “[Don’t] let anyone else define you or what’s right for your family—and don’t try to fit into someone else’s picture of what it means to be a mother or a hero. Just like fathers can be gentle and nurturing caregivers who do their best work in the home raising their children, women can be incredibly powerful and revered leaders—without having to fight for respect from others—even if they aren’t particularly outgoing or commanding.”
Evil Genius Mum – “Every time I see or hear of one of my kids/spawnlings overcoming some social bigotry or generational failure, I feel like I have broken the cycle. It makes me feel like I CAN do this parenting gig, and I CAN make a difference. If we can raise them ready to take on the world, then I feel like a superhero.”
Doctor Death (Angela) – “Maybe you don’t feel super all the time. Maybe you’re worn out, maybe you’re comparing yourself to others. But if I could give each of you the power to see yourself through others’ eyes, you would see that you’re the best you that there is, and that’s pretty awesome.”
Making a Super Mom
The M.O.M. Squad – Illustrated by Viera Boudreau
I was fortunate enough to be able to interview illustrator Viera and get some behind-the-scenes insights into the secrets of creating the M.O.M. Squad.
Viera was attending Portfolio Day at MECA (Maine College of Art) when she met with Kurt Graser and Alex Steed from Knack Factory, the multimedia production house that was in charge of creating the promotional video from Summer Infant. “They had viewed my website beforehand and said that my style was just what they needed for this project. (I was so flattered!) They told me they needed an illustrator to draw moms as superheroes and I accepted on the spot.”
Drawing in a comic style isn’t new to Viera. She’s been working on her own sci-fi adventure comic called Dragon War for the past seven years. She’s also not unaccustomed to drawing under-represented groups of people, either. “The main reason I was so excited about the MOM Squad project was because it resonated so much with my drive to represent the under-represented, and show the public that even imperfect people can be heroes.” Viera’s own original comic utilizes themes that highlight minority demographics, such as people of different colors, genders, physical and mental disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community. “I was DELIGHTED at the idea of moms as superheroes. I’ve always seen women of all walks of life, moms especially, as exceptionally strong and powerful people, so to get the opportunity to depict four, real mothers as heroes was right up my alley.”
I asked Viera what qualities she thought a great superhero needed. “In my opinion, great superheroes need a great deal of humanity. They are not necessarily individuals without human problems, but those who can take those problems and overcome them in order to help others. These moms aren’t without their own hardships, but they power through every ache, every inconvenience, every obstacle, and make sure they take care of their children the best they can. Even if they aren’t perfect, the fact that they put in all of that effort is what makes them heroes in my eyes.”
Meet the M.O.M. Squad
AquaMom – Jasmine Sumlin from Detroit, author of Living For Jasmine.
AquaMom has the power to calm and control the waters at bath time, making cleanup a splash.
“We are our children’s pathway to life and we hold a huge responsibility to be the best mother we can be while learning to accept and adjust the mistakes we make along the way!”
The MotherLoad – Patty Osorio from Washington, D.C., author of Patty’s Kloset.
Able to carry anything children need while out and about, The MotherLoad is always prepared for any situation.
“Moms are the real superheroes of the world! Motherhood is one of the best jobs, and also one of the most challenging. It’s crazy how you can love a soul so much before you even meet them.”
Agent Momitor – Steph Herron Rice from Boston, author of A Little Too Loud.
Even in the dead of night, Agent Momitor detects movement and sound from her baby’s room with supersonic vision and hearing.
“The only constant in motherhood is CHANGE. The minute you think you have your routine down, baby goes and grows up bringing a whole lot of change to the dynamic; that’s the biggest constant challenge for me. With every new stage come lots of firsts that make all the running around to catch up with baby oh so worth it.”
Professor Potty – Tammy Preston from Washington, D.C, author of A Loyal Love.
Professor Potty goes above and beyond to make sure every child is properly potty-trained—with a little help from her secret weapon and a great deal of patience.
“The super challenges of motherhood start at birth when you realize nothing is in your control and life as you know will never be the same, but the super rewards are seeing that life is better than you could ever imagine and in letting go of that control you feel a love so much stronger than you thought you were capable of feeling.”
Moms are Super Amazing
The M.O.M. Squad has inspired a message; all moms have a superhero within them, ready to burst forth towards victory at a moment’s notice. And while this is a campaign for a whole line of Summer Infant products, I’m not here to endorse or review those products. What I love about this campaign are the stories being told and the conversations being started. I love the message that this is sending to the moms who maybe don’t feel very super right now. I love the idea of being a superhero in my own right every day. This is a celebration of all you Super Moms out there. Keep up the good work. I’m Galactic Ink, wishing you all a Happy Mother’s Day.