I had originally anticipated writing something sweet about the father figure. But then a friend called. And I got sidetracked. I am not about to let something like sentimentality get in the way of a good rant.
The friend called frustrated and annoyed. She had come across an article published in a homeschooling magazine, one that was written by a starry eyed mother. Or a good mother. Our lives do not resemble hers.
Not to invalidate or diminish her experiences or perceptions, we all need something higher and better to strive towards. But this is why I blog. Really. Because everyone wants to put their best face forward, to talk about their children in the best possible terms, to show how very happy and put together and successful their lives are. And that’s fine. It’s good.
But we all struggle too. We all have the children who won’t nap, who embarrass us in public, who are odd and try to drink from mud puddles. In parking lots. They poop on us; they blow their noses on our sweaters and think our smart phones exist for their entertainment. They do this because they are children and we, as their parents, have two choices, to grit our teeth and try to survive or to enjoy the moment. Or at least laugh about it.
There are plenty of rose colored blogs out there, I’m not knocking them. But I hear the mother who feels defeated when she reads one too many tales of cooperating children who like to clean their rooms. I’m the mom who has her arms wrapped around her husband’s legs screaming “Don’t leave I think they’re trying to kill me!!!!” And mostly mean it.
So I blog. I blog because I know twenty years from now I will remember the beautiful trips to the pumpkin patch and the excellent soccer games. I’ll remember the poise and confidence my daughters exhibit, but would I remember their conversation where they planned my funeral?
It’s the crazy, unscripted moments, the ones that make us cringe, that make our children who they are. It’s how we handle those times, the times that make us want to pull our hair out, throw our hands in the air and admit defeat. They are just as much a part of child rearing. Our sons will walk into the office, mouth full of tooth paste grunt unintelligibly and expect us to understand. And we’ll actually try to understand. That’s routine. The typical night. Sure I don’t have to share, we’ve all been there. But we’ve all had the beautiful moments too. Those are easy to find joy in. Those are the moments that we feel like good mothers. We need to know that all moms have those less glamorous moments. That every mom has lows too. We don’t like to talk about them. We think that if we were better moms our kids would be perfect, without the personalities they leapt out of the womb with. We try to pretend that those awkward moments don’t happen.
But the thing is, you never know what the moment that matters most to the kiddos. Which smile when they do something silly, dumb silly not cute silly, will be a source of comfort to them. Which time we chose to laugh about an absurd situation, rather than become frustrated, that they realize, really and truly, that we, their mothers, will always be there for them. That nothing they do, including walking out of the church bathroom naked, yelling “Mom I need help” will be a red line for our love. Those moments, the non instagram moments, are often the ones they hold to. The time they messed up, but mom just snuggled them all the tighter.
Every mom has wonderful days. It not then that we need support. It’s when everything is falling apart. It’s when someone has spent three hours crying about having to do subtraction. It’s when your toddler is thrashing in your arms during soccer practice. It’s when you’ve run your car off the road. It’s moments that come with kids. And it’s then that we need to remember that every second with them is special. Not wonderful, just special. Very special. Because those moments that we feel like failures, often that’s when our children need us most. When they are uncertain, or when they know they’ve messed up, that’s when they need mom the most. And if mom can find something to smile about, something to laugh about, it’s just easier for everyone.
So some moms will blog about everything they do right. Not to gloat or lecture or to feel superior, but to celebrate. And I will blog as an attempt to figure out why my toddler is obsessed with licking the brand new window we had installed. Because both sides are essential to motherhood. And appreciating both sides in the only path to sanity. Sanity being a relative term and all.