Today I met some friends in town for coffee and shopping. I ended up bear hugging my four-year-old on a bench as she screamed and kicked in a level ninety-nine tantrum. A shop owner came out of a pottery store with wide eyes, but her face softened when she saw me.
I’m so sorry I mouthed.
“You are totally fine!” She smiled encouragingly. A minute later a woman and her older daughter walked by and said, “You’ve got this mama! You’re doing a great job!”
I continued on as a human straight jacket.
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).
There I am, standing in the checkout line. One child is having a meltdown because they want a soda and the other one is doing aerial spins in the aisle. She is seconds away from taking out an elderly gentleman. He will never see it coming; she’ll take him out right at the knees. I grab her, which is kind of like capturing a demonic butterfly. I wrangle her and pin her between my legs.
They say that family dinners around the table are very important. I completely agree. Mostly because it’s character building. It’s very important to learn how to feed people that do not want to be fed, while attempting to have meaningful conversation. It’s kind of like highschool math…it’s unclear HOW this is going to help you in your future, but it will.
I guess It teaches patience. At least I’m assuming that’s what it does, it hasn’t worked on me yet, but we are all awaiting this gift with eager expectation.
Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I see that you’ve grown over night. Your face is more defined, your eyes look older. A part of me is excited and in awe; I know you have so much ahead of you. Another part is scared because time is racing and I can’t slow it down. I’m afraid that I haven’t always been awake and noticing, and that somehow I have slept through the magic of your growing. I wonder, have I enjoyed you enough? Have I given you what you needed? Is your heart still whole? Is your spirit unbroken?
I’m not always good at this. I’m not always as good as I want to be at being your mom. I want to be great; and sometimes I am, but sometimes I’m not.
Sometimes I get it, and sometimes I don’t.
Sometimes I do it right, and sometimes I completely miss it.
Everyday I make mistakes.
Recently I went to a sports bar/pizza place for a friend’s birthday. There was sawdust on the floor, peanuts, and initials carved into the table. I thought, you know who belongs here?
I was right. A week later we brought them. We got a paper tray full of peanuts and my husband instructed everyone that their shells were to be thrown on the floor. I guard the carpet under our kitchen table like a prison warden, so my seven-year-old’s eyes lit up like it was Christmas. His shrill, villainous, laughter could be heard across the bar as he plowed through peanuts just so he could throw the shells to the ground. Graham busted out his pocket knife and my nine-year-old set to work on the table with the prowess of a young Michelangelo.
We are such good parents.
I sat down and mapped out a life plan, and so far it looks like I will be late for approximately 15 more years.
I’m so excited about my newest post for Motherly, because, FOR REALZZZ.
Mornings before kids:
1. Get self ready.
2. Get self in car.
1. Wake up children.
2. Go to the kitchen to start breakfast.
3. Hear no noise from children.
4. Holler at children every 30 seconds.
5. All appear, except one. Your future seems bright, you keep hollering.
6. You hear last child thrashing and grunting violently. This is the worst moment of his life.
7. Child finally emerges. It is unclear if he is human or zombie.
8. Child sits on couch.
9. Child becomes one with the couch.
10. You call frantically to them while making eggs: “Shoes!” “Hair!” “Clothes!”
11. Child stares into space.
Read more at Motherly…
Sometimes I teach my kids things that I did not intend to teach them. Sometimes this is an extra bonus, like when I accidentally taught my oldest child to be extremely bossy. I pretend to hate this, but really it’s like getting a third parent for free.
I’m half-heartedly retraining him to be a child.
It is completely not working.
Maybe you’re sitting on a stool in your kitchen right now, surveying the damage from breakfast. You look in bewilderment at what appears to be the remnants of a crumb monsoon. You stare at your cup of coffee, looking for the answers to life’s questions. About that time, your kids run past you. They tear around the living room leaving a wake of toys, books, and unidentified underwear. They are screaming in decibels your mind cannot compute.
“MOM!!!” they shout in pure glee, “Can we have a SNACK???”
In brief moments of family serenity, where everyone is acting very Brady Brunch and not screaming or tearing off their clothes, people ask me what my secrets are. We’d have to sit down to coffee for me to get all specific, but I do have a few vices that make the day to day more doable.
Mommy must haves…