There are some days when she wakes up at 8:30 a.m., well-rested, and singing to her baby doll. Days when she wants to cuddle for half an hour and read Click, Clack Moo three times before breakfast. Days when I place her snack in front of her, and she says “ank ooh!” without prompting. Days when she points to every item in the house, wanting to know its name, and giggling as she practices saying “pan-oh!” Days when I flawlessly fit games of chase and “tickle-monster” into the motions of running errands or returning e-mails. Days when she contentedly plays by herself for increasing periods of time while I fold laundry or cook dinner, and when I tell her it’s not time to eat yet, she says “okay” with only a hint of disappointment. Days when I manage to cook real food for my family, and we sit together at the table and share our lives.
On those days, I think, “I’ve got this. I’m an awesome mom. I rock! I can parent a dozen children!”
There are other days when she wakes up in the wee hours, and I stumble through the darkness, trying unsuccessfully to find my robe. Days when after demanding paci, water, ‘ola bah! (granola bar), blanky (the pink one, not the yellow one), baby (never the one already in the room but the one hiding somewhere in the van), and rocking, she won’t go back to sleep.
Those days, she decides a banana and cereal are outrageous indignities and hurls her entire plate to the floor. Days when as I clean her tray, she stomps all the cereal into powder on the floor, and when I pull out the vacuum to clean the cereal, the dogs begin barking incessantly for breakfast. Days when the vacuum breaks and dumps masses of clumped dog hair and cereal crumbs back onto the floor. Days when I turn from this dirty, doggy mess to find her holding an open red Sharpie marker, and discover this:
Those days, I make Herculean efforts to speak in calm tones. Days when I refuse to give her jelly beans on demand, allow her to run around the house with the toilet brush, climb her closet shelves/the cabinets/the table. Days when we she wants to sit on the pottie three times in thirty minutes only to completely fill her diaper five minutes later. Days when changing that noxious mess induces horrendous screaming and anaconda-like death rolls. Days when every “no ma’am” elicits immediate shrieking and outraged head-banging. Days when she is wholly and perfectly two-years-old. Days when my brain is so fried I can only write in weird, choppy fragments, y’all.
Those days, I contemplate hiding under the covers in a ball. On those days, I think, “I will never have this! I’m a terrible mother. What the heck are we doing?!”
But then I remember, we’re being parents, and sometimes, it’s just not pretty.
And on those days, I’m SO thankful for all the honest Mamas out there. THANK YOU sweet mamas who do NOT have it all together every moment of every day. BLESS YOU for letting your guard down long enough to be real with the rest of us. For on the crap days, I can call a friend and remember that my kid isn’t the only one who throws tantrums. I mention the head-banging, and she says, “Yup. Mine did that too.” I post my Sharpie-woes to Facebook and in moments, I know I’m not the only Mom who has found her house re-decorated on occasion. I read a blog or attend a mom’s night, and I’m reminded that we’re all here in Crazy Town together.
So THANKS to the moms who fight against the notion of perfection in motherhood. The moms who refuse to judge others for the way they feed, sleep, diaper, educate, discipline, etc. The moms who lend a shoulder, a listening ear, and understanding. The moms who know there’s no shame in sharing our weaknesses (since we all have them) and realize that together, we find renewed strength.
To those moms, thanks for being awesome. You give me courage that I can do this….one day at a time.