I never knew I would have so much trouble getting along with you. You’ve stolen my body– reshaped it with post-pregnancy pounds that tend to crowd around my middle like a delicious muffin squishing up over the “skinny” jeans I’m wearing because I’m desperately trying to be a cool-looking mom. And you’ve got more hormones trafficking through me than New York has taxis. I don’t even know this body you’ve given me.
Your highs are really high– seeing the jelly-bean baby on the black and white screen pulsating with life, holding a squishy newborn for the first time, seeing my baby toddle across the room to my open arms for the first time, hearing that “MAMA!” squealed with pure delight. Watching my child read a book for the first time, seeing my kids show love and kindness to each other. Wonderful. Amazing.
But then your lows are so darn low. Forgetting the party and feeling like I let my child down. Losing the special blanket because I didn’t realize it wasn’t tucked safely enough into the overflowing diaper bag. Feeling overwhelmed by the tantrums and wanting to run away. And goodness gracious, the bodily fluids. The vomit, the pee, the blood, the poop. Ew.
So much of you, though, is spent somewhere in-between. Quite ordinary you are most of the time. Not pin-worthy. Buying toothpaste and toilet paper because a house can’t run without either and somehow the bulk of you– the toothpaste and toilet paper part– is lost between the mountains and the valleys. And I am left feeling guilty that I’m loading my carts (with the busted wheels, WHY do I ALWAYS get a crappy cart????) with the necessities and navigating preschool friendship drama and wiping bottoms because I feel like you should be more than this plain, un-fancy normal thing of creating-lives and raising-humans and being-a-mommy.
I feel like I’ve bought this lie that I should be sporting an apron and heels and baking (gluten-free, organic, naturally-sweetened, paleo) scrumptious cookies for my children in a spotless kitchen and just delighting in my happy, quiet, obedient children. I should be smartly engaging on social media and blogging about all my wonderful home organization systems. See the lies? It even sounds ridiculous when I read it back, but somewhere along the way, I’ve decided my version of motherhood isn’t enough– that you’ve stolen something valuable from me and given me something crappy instead. And although I concede that you have stolen my post-baby body, I admit that the rest of the problems lie with me.
So, I take your epic tantrums in public and your sweet preschoolers snuggled into the crook of my arm. I take your stomach bugs that cycle through everyone and your homemade cards and specially selected presents for special days. But most of all I take your grocery lists, and clean laundry piles, and your crayons on the floor and your math worksheets. I take all the ordinary moments in with the goods and the bads and I promise to make the best of them. I realize that you aren’t inherently awesome or terrible. You just are, and my experience with you will ultimately be up to me– can I buy the toothpaste, clean the toilets, serve the snacks, unpack the backpack, teach evens and odds, mop the floor, push the swings with joy?
Because if I can do that, then we’ll be OK you and me.