Welcome my friend, you’ve got this. It doesn’t seem like it now, but you will grow into motherhood just as gradually and quickly as the brand new baby you’re holding in your arms. It will become you, it already has. You just went through the most mind blowing, godawful, gorgeous, magical, frightening event of your life. No one prepared you. They kind of tried, but they forgot to use the words “blow torch” and “freight train” and “concrete drill” to describe what you might feel when your little one was born earth side.
We are a family who loves each other. We love each other in a messy, beautiful, broken, and together way. Sometimes that means making messes in the kitchen with spaghetti sauce finger prints on the glasses and stains on the tablecloth. Sometimes it means trying to scrape together tiny remnants of sanity for bedtime routines. Sometimes it means kissing a dirty forehead as I tuck them in at night and thinking it’s okay, they’ll take a bath tomorrow.
In our family we fight. We argue about things. We say we’re sorry. We overreact and then we apologize. We take a minute in the other room to pull ourselves together. Some of us are more full of passion than others, and I take full ownership of my title as Queen.
We just moved into a new neighborhood and I met an elderly woman a couple blocks down the street. She looked at me in shock (almost horror) when I told her that we have four kids and she kept saying, “Four? Four??” Then she looked at me square in the eyes. “I guess that will be okay,” she said, “as long as they are quiet.” She was dead serious.
I laughed like it was a joke (because that’s what I do when I feel awkward).
I’m too damn busy.
I’m too busy making mistakes and praying my kids turn out alright anyway.
I’m too busy looking at my musty smelling laundry pile and wondering if I should fold it or light it all on fire.
I’m too busy teaching my kids good work ethics which means saying “stop playing and keep cleaning” over and over until everyone is crying.
Sometimes on Mother’s Day I find myself reflecting on how I’m doing as a Mom, and today, these are my thoughts…
We are never going to be perfect. Sometimes we are going to be messy, and human, and moody.
Sometimes we are going to feel real shitty at this. That’s normal I think.
Sometimes we are going to lose our cool. Like when I held the tablet out the car window and threatened to let it break into one million pieces if EVERYONE DIDN’T LISTEN UP RIGHT NOW. I scared them so badly that then I spent 45 minutes comforting them.
I’m going to call this bonding.
I like to think of myself as fun and relaxed, as brave with a touch of crazy. I’m the one who loves to laugh and awkwardly dance in public, the one who jumped off the cliff first and who shaved her head because she felt like it. I’m the one who traveled across the world alone.
So naturally, I thought I was going to be a really fun parent. A free spirit, spontaneous and unconcerned with dirt or danger. I’d probably raise kids who were sponsored by Red Bull they’d be so fearless and capable.
When traveling it’s easy to focus on the adventures we will have and the things we will see. I dream about the glow worm caves in New Zealand, I envision long hikes up peaks with stunning 360 degree views. I picture the togetherness we will feel around late night campfires.
Also…in those dreams no one has a bad attitude or a headache and someone is playing classical guitar in the background. NBD.
As I’ve travelled with kids I have found, that the adventure is great…but only if we take care of a few basic things first.
1. They don’t share. AT ALL. You are pretty sure that you will be working on this until they are in their seventies. The main problem is that the other kids give them WHATEVER they want, WHENEVER they want. When you ask them why, they say things like, “She screamed so I gave it to her.”
You are really excited for their future parent-teacher conferences.
2. DRAMA. That noise that sounds like they’re being de-limbed in the back bedroom? That is the noise the youngest makes when their sock is “bothering them”.
I was going to be the Dr. Oz of parenting. I was going to be a guru, and then I realized that I would probably have to teach my kids to stop acting like wild raccoons at the grocery store. I don’t want to be negative but my kids are 10, 8,6, and 3. This is never going to happen for me.
You are not going to get advice from me on teaching toddlers to read, or getting your kids to stop gagging on their vegetables. I could however offer a step-by-step guide to watching them chew on the same vegetable for two hours, until you eventually give up and let them spit it out.
I am not very perfect at parenting, but I do love my kids enough to cuddle with them while they smell like pee, and I feel like that’s kind of a lot.
I have recently gone back to work part time. This is mostly because I plan on giving my kids a sub-par childhood.
So far everyone is suffering and wearing weird clothes to school, because I’m not there to control their fashion decisions. My kindergartner wore pink leggings and cutoff jean shorts to her school Christmas program. I snuck in a few minutes late from work and scanned the kids on stage. When my eyes fell on Oaklee, I burst out laughing. There she was, surrounded by red and white dresses and tiny bow ties. My husband waited in great anticipation for my reaction. Our eyes met when I slid into the seat next to him. He grinned and nodded proudly. “Yeah I did…” he whispered, giving me a big wink.