I was one of those little girls who walked around with her American Girl Bitty Baby playing Mommy. I'd feed her, change her, lay her to sleep in her pretty little bassinet where she slept soundly for as long as it took me to play outside, write stick figure novels, eat several meals throughout the day, and watch The Flinstones. Sometimes she'd even sleep for a couple days. Then I'd pick her up, ready to return to Mommy mode. I'd stare at her adoringly mostly, reveling in the awesomeness that is motherhood.
The Nicest Lie I Was Ever Told
When other little girls talked about their big aspirations (president, police officer, astronaut, actress, even the odd CEO here and there), I basically wanted to be my mother. And to me that was one hell of a dream. My mother was a stay at home mom who cooked all 3 meals from scratch to accommodate both the vegetarians and carnivores in the house, she packed my dad lunches, clipped coupons, and managed to entirely homeschool 4 children.
We all not only survived, but we actually have pretty fond memories of our upbringing. Plus nobody grew up to be a serial killer or prostitute, we also have impeccable manners. In my book that says parenting=WELL DONE!
As I got older I continued to picture myself as the mother that I would one day be. I would be laid back, loving, calm, a real go with the flow mother earth kind of parent.
I felt this was an attainable fantasy. Hell I still think that half the time.
I never pictured the kind of day like today.
I got stuck at work late last night. By the time I got home and cleaned the place up (my darling other half, bless his heart, thinks cleaning up means closing the cabinets and perhaps even relocating the dishes from the table to the sink), I didn't get to bed until after midnight.
Baby girl wakes up at 2:30, I change her, I feed her, I give her some cuddles, put her to bed, and close my eyes again with a sigh of relief. PSYCH! No thanks mom, I'm actually not in the mood to sleep tonight. Let's HANG OUT.
Which is what we did for the next two hours until she passed out. Another two hours and the day has begun.
Little man wakes up ready for some shenanigans. I take some deep breaths, pray my usual "Please Lord, GRANT ME PATIENCE" prayer, and sip my coffee like it is the air keeping me alive.
He and the dog start at it. He runs his car into him. I sit him down and have a calm little discussion with him about how toys are not for hitting and we are to be gentle with the dog. This is the 7,437th time we've had this chat. I seem to get through to him. We bond. I pat myself on the back for a job well done.
Nanny 911 would be so proud right now. Stellar parenting skills I'm exhibiting right now. They shall be the best of friends from here on out.
10 minutes later, as I'm getting the clothes together for a big trip to the laundromat, I look over just in time to see Little man get irritated with the dog and swat him in the face.
SERIOUSLY? DIDN'T WE JUST TALK ABOUT THIS? DO WE HAVE TO DO THIS EVERY DAY?
Yea, I yelled.
We continue to argue the rest of the morning. He's pushing his limits and I'm desperately trying to hang on to some shred of sleep deprived patience.
While the clothes are in the dryer I load the kids up and hightail it to the grocery store.
There's some issue with my card, while it gets sorted out I hold up what is apparently the ONLY LINE, embarrassingly trying to assure them I have money to pay for everything and even though I forgot to put my size NEARLY A cup boobs into a bra this morning, I'm not actually a teen mom.
Purchase my groceries (VICTORY!), load the kids up, oh crap. Wheres my phone? Back into the store, find it on a shelf. Do you need to go pee pee? Are you SURE? There's no bathroom at the laundromat...
Of COURSE I'm sure MOMMY.
My fault for believing the 3 year old, rookie mistake.
Half way through folding the laundry...
MMMMMMMMM....MMMMMM....I HAVE TO GO PEE PEE. MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY, I HAVE TO GO REALLY BAD.
Oh. My. Gosh.
So I grab the last dryer load to toss it on top of the folded clothes and race home when...of course the clothes I put in for over an hour are soaking wet. The dryer is out of order. Dish out some more quarters and high tail it back it home.
Run the kids and the groceries inside. Get everyone's bladder situations in order, take the dog out to go with us for the clothes. Look like a crazy woman yelling and pulling back a dog pulling me with a baby attached to me while yelling at my other offspring to stop playing in a mud puddle.
Mud puddles are not for playing honey...honey I need you to listen. That's 1, STOP IT DOG, Little man...that's 2...DOG, SIT...I need you to put your sandal back on and get out of the....SERIOUSLY GET OVER HERE RIGHT NOW!!
Square one for a day of patience, we're back there.
Put the kids down for a nap. Phew. Silence. Time to speed clean. And do some prep for dinner. Oh crap. Forgot to turn on the rice cooker. Wait why is only one pot boiling? Oh, have to turn on the other one. Reaching for a lid...FIRE! I'M ON FIRE.
Note to self, no baggy shirts while cooking over a gas stove.
Have a nice phone conversation with my mom, who never ceases to pull me back from the edge and help me to laugh at myself.
Unfortunately I then realize I forgot to turn OFF the stove now. Burnt lentils, yum. Oh good little man's awake, and in 5 minutes he and the dog have managed to piss each other off.
This is half way through my day and I'm going to spare you the rest of the details. Let's just say I popped a beer at 6 for survival purposes.
I never, in all my wildest hippie peace mommy fantasies, ever saw myself as THAT mother. You know the one. The one in yoga pants, no bra, half a braid still intact, no make up unless you're counting last night's mascara, sweating due to the 8 month old attached to her in an Ergo during 90 degree weather, whilst yelling at her 3 year old and hyperactive puppy simultaneously.
I use to judge those sweaty, angry moms for not being the peace lover image I had of what every mother should be.
Basically the nicest thing someone ever did for me was lie about how hard being a mom is sometimes.
My mom had her breakdowns, oh trust me did she ever. I never doubted that she was an imperfect, beautifully flawed human being. But I also never doubted how much she loved us or how dedicated she was to being the best mom that she could be FOR us. Even if sometimes that fell a little short of her expectations.
I get it now, some days are really freaking hard. Some days you'll find yourself having a good cry in the middle of the afternoon because you're feeling like a little bit of a failure.
Thanks Mom, for making it look like a piece of cake and inspiring me to get into this beautiful mess in the first place.
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