I saw this story in my social media news feed this week: Dad Strength.
The reality is the incredible (and mysterious) strength that otherwise non-assuming dads seem to have. Wiry strength is as much a part of fatherhood as back-hair or yard work. While speed and reflexes can decline, dad strength can more than make up for it. Part of this is undoubtedly cunning and experience. Part of it is stubbornness, dammit. However, there is also a physiological basis for middle-aged strength — something rooted more deeply than a need to show the neighbour’s kid who’s boss.
But like the dad bod before, I got to thinking about mom strength. Because that’s a thing too.
Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, references to mom strength are often dubbed “hysterical strength.”
It’s when moms perform feats of incredible strength in order to protect children. Here’s two examples from Wikipedia:
In 1982, in Lawrenceville, Georgia, Tony Cavallo was repairing a 1964 Chevrolet Impala automobile from underneath. The vehicle was propped up with jacks, but it fell. Cavallo’s mother, Mrs. Angela Cavallo, lifted the car high enough and long enough for two neighbours to replace the jacks and pull Tony from beneath the car.
In 2006, Ivujivik, Quebec resident Lydia Angiyou saved several children by fighting a polar bear until a local hunter shot it.
Here’s a fun fact about me. I have three kids but I don’t really very often identify as “mom.” My care of my kids (once we were through the birth and breastfeeding bit) hasn’t been particularly gendered. I think of myself, as does my partner, as a “parent.” We call the person in charge at any given time, the ODP, or “on duty parent.”
So I think the thing being talked about here is Parent Strength. And then we can drop the “hysterical” modifier.