Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Some Days

There is no stability in life when there are two small boys in it.  Or maybe just when those two boys are my two boys.  You know how, before you have kids, you have a nice morning routine?  You get up, go to the gym or for a run, come home and make coffee, shower, get dressed and do your makeup while drinking that first blissful cup of coffee, eat breakfast, and get in your car to go to work.  God, mornings used to be so nice.


With kids in the mix, your morning is a crapshoot.  If they wake up happy, hooray!  Things will go smoothly for approximately three minutes, until you spread the butter on their toast incorrectly or you tell them that yes, it is a school day.  If things go terribly from the start, well, you can allow a small kernel of hope to form in your heart that they will burn themselves out before it is time to leave.


Some days, they want to brush their teeth for 20 minutes straight and you get a chance to get dressed and brush your own teeth.  Other days, they insist on taking a shower with you, which will easily add an extra half-hour to the getting ready “routine” because now it’s run-around-naked time.  Your four-year-old might ask to wear his dinosaur shoes and then throw a screaming fit when you remind him that they are two sizes too small and have been put away for months now.  Your 21-month-old might insist on climbing up on the bathroom vanity to turn the water on as hard as it will go every time you turn your back on him to finish putting on your socks.


Sometimes, everyone gets in the car without fight and maybe even happily and you will all get to school and work on time.  More often than not, however, the older child will begin to cry because he doesn’t want to go to school or he doesn’t like the pants he chose to wear that morning and the younger child will struggle and fight against being strapped into his car seat so that by the time you finally manhandle him down, he is screaming like you’re pulling out his toenails.


Then, you’ll have to drag your older child, kicking and screaming, into preschool and leave him in a flailing pile on the floor as you walk out.  And just drive away.  You’ll feel like the world’s worst mother because all he wants is to stay home with you, even though you don’t stay home.  So then you start to think of ways you could maybe not work so much, maybe take a day off each week, and you recognize that it won’t work.  Besides, all the reasons you had at the beginning for being a working mom still apply: money, being a good role model, self-actualization.


The evenings are no easier.  The kids will beg for candy as a snack and you will deny them, which will send them into a whining spiral of doom.  The younger child will play in the water table and get soaked from head to toe while you prep dinner and the older one will beg to play on your phone.  You will tell him no, so he’ll throw a tantrum on the stairs, falling and hurting himself, at which point you will drop what you’re doing to go kiss the owies, then have a talk with the child about controlling his emotions.  Or not!  Sometimes the kids will be angel babies who want nothing more than to play nicely together!  It does happen!


And sometimes they are exhausted and go right to sleep after you read them their bedtime stories.  Other times they cry for you to pick them up and snuggle them well after you yourself have decided to go to sleep and are beyond the point of coherent though.  Often, you will beg them, as if they understood, to please just sleep already, mommy is so tired, you’re going to be tired in the morning if you don’t get some sleep.  Sometimes the older child will insist on sleeping in your bed and you will resist at first, but then acquiesce because your husband is off engaging in an affair with tax software until all hours of the night.  But that child won’t sleep in your bed at first because you are reading a book and so he asks for a book to read, too, and then a drink of water, and then a teddy bear.  When he does fall asleep, he’ll turn sideways and kick you in the ribs.


But God bless the moment they finally fall asleep.  In that moment, the day’s struggles are erased and all you see is the sweet, squishy baby who curled up in your arms, milk-drunk and asleep, smelling like your whole perfect world for those first life-changing months of motherhood.  You kiss their unlined brows, whisper how much you love them, and pray for a better day tomorrow.


Will your life ever return to stability?  Probably not as long as those kids are around.  But that’s why vacations were invented – by the end of them, we crave the chaos of those crazy little imps.  And I know I’ll look back on this period of my life and miss it with my whole being.

No comments: