Today I had a semi-serious case of the Momdays. So, I’m creating this entry as a mini-mama-mantra to reflect on in days ahead when I feel a relapse coming on. Don’t be scared, dear reader. I won’t hurt you.
No mother is perfect. No mother is flawless. I’ve never known a mother who has never yelled, lost her patience, or wanted to hand her children off to the nearest circus that passes through town. And, it’s true – I too am a mother. And today I yelled. I lost my patience. And, at the wrong moment, had there been a Barnum and Bailey recruiter in Minneapolis? Well, yeah, I may have traded my two brown-eyed beauties for a bicycling grizzly bear.
I took my kids to the zoo. It was an impromptu stop after dropping off Nate’s laptop that he had accidentally left at home. In my short time packing up this morning, I slapped together two PB&Js, packed them each their own favorite-flavored juice box, and, upon arrival, was already pushing one in the stroller while the other rode on my shoulders so they could both view the clumsy baby giraffe from different angles. I am not one to half-ass motherhood, and it’s something on which I (humbly or not-so-humbly) pride myself. Every day should be filled with joy, lessons, memories, long talks, kisses, more lessons, and plenty of “I love yous.” The zoo was a success. Naps on the car ride home were a success. Even transferring them from the car to their beds was indeed a success.
During nap time, I tried to do some work, wash some dishes, fold some laundry, and concoct some sort of Italian dinner. I balanced some of my bank accounts, paid my bills, looked in to a new weight loss app, and focused on a few other personal vendettas I’ve been trying to fight day in and day out. I played with the dog, replanted a flower pot, uploaded some photos to Shutterfly and actually watched 5 minutes of Bethany Frankel’s new talk show. Then the kids woke up.
During those 90 minutes of glorious, silent slumber, my “give-’em-everything-I’ve-got” fuse grew short. I’m embarrassed to even admit that, but then again, I know I’m not alone. Er, I hope I’m not alone.
I caught myself snapping at Coen for putting the hose too close to the sidewalk chalk. I reprimanded Mabel for throwing her popsicle into the hostas. I smacked Chloe’s nose when she barked at a skateboarder. I was finished. I felt unappreciated. And I know that’s ridiculous. I’m a MOTHER. That is precisely what we sign up for the second that kid makes its grand entrance into the world. My kids are FOUR and ONE, for Peter’s sake!! And, for four and one, they have damn good manners. We are having lots of talks about gratitude and it’s nice to instill these lessons in their minds before they are too old to have it make a difference. Coen knows when I ask him, “How many people is mommy?” that the answer is, “One. So I can only do one thing at a time.” But, today, I expected too much.
I wanted to finish the dishes. I wanted to finish ANYthing I had started. I wanted to shop online. I wanted to mow the lawn. I wanted more time. And that was the issue… I got a glimpse into a little me-time, and it was taken away abruptly (as it is every day so don’t ask me why today felt so different). We, as parents, take on too much. And that’s fine, as long as it’s accompanied by a breather here or there. Seconds after I snapped a “STOP! Just everyone stop talking!” and started crying in the kitchen (good LORD, woman, pull yourself together), I texted Nate and told him I needed some time alone tonight. He agreed and after we ate the dinner I sort of whipped together, I grabbed my laptop and walked away.
After two hours of catching up on work emails at a local (what I thought was a coffee shop, but wound up being a) kosher deli, I had kicked some project booty, eaten the world’s greatest peanut butter crepe, and gotten my head back on (as straight as it’s ever been). I shot Nate a text apologizing for being a hot mess, and he reminded me that I had a great day with a bad hour. Always wise, that man.
Walking in the door at 8:30, I was greeted with smiles and loud “MOMMY!” chants. Even Mabel the Anti-Cuddler wanted a hug. I scratched my dog’s belly and thanked Nate for, well, everything and settled in to watch The Great Pumpkin before bedtime. Of course, I finished those dumb dishes first.
Momdays will come and go. Some weeks, Momdays will occur more than once. There may be stretches of time when EVERY day is a Momday. Just remember that you’re doing your best, no one is perfect, and even those impossibly hard moments too shall pass.
Then, if time permits, take an evening retreat to the nearest wine bar to enjoy a flight of expensive reds. Alone.