September 16, 2018|MOTHERHOOD (Originally posted on Authenticfamily.org) Photo Credit (my kids pictured): Chels E. Photography, St. Louis, MO
It’s been one of those days where every pen in the house seems to be without ink. Every game my daughter has chosen to play involves a thousand pieces, a million clippings of paper. My attention has been pulled in two directions between my infant and my toddler to such an extent that I feel I am constantly neglecting one or the other, playing clean up and patch over more than being actively invested and involved. And around here somewhere lives the maintenance guy, er, my husband whom I’ve most definitely neglected over the past four months since my son has been born, or has it been over three years, since the birth of our daughter?
Speaking of my daughter, she somehow found a permanent marker today and the dining room table is now decorated with one hundred permanently black C’s. During her five minute stint with the permanent marker she also managed to draw a perfect Hitler mustache on her face.
Motherhood is messy.
I have now started wearing socks in my house, not because it is chilly but because I am shielding my feet from the goop. So much goop. Globs of it everywhere. My feet are actually both up on my chair as I write this because underneath me is an interesting smear of, let’s hope, chocolate. I think to myself, “How is it that everything that we own can end up on the floor at the end of the day?” And also, “Didn’t we clean up today?”
And while my husband and I have done the same bedtime routine with my daughter for the last three years, she has decided to see bedtime as a personal assault to everything she holds dear and has just wailed for a good hour. Everything was wrong and I was the reason in her mind, the enforcer of life’s misery of teeth brushing and shirt putting-on. “You are not the girl I need” was one of the lines she shouted, and part of me felt it was true. Sometimes it takes more energy, more ability to bargain and restrain and calm down than I am able.
I sort of want to bring cookies to my neighbors and apologize for our collective existence as a family, but I am too tired, so tomorrow I’ll politely wave when I see them and act like business as usual.
Raising kids is hard.
I am not sure on days like this whether to cry, or go to bed without cleaning up, or to stay up into the early hours of the morning thinking up how to try to make tomorrow better when I feel like all of the knowledge I have put into the wisdom of today has failed. Part of me wants to pour Merlot to the very tip of my wine glass until it is almost overflowing, but I restrain myself, only because I don’t want to wake in the middle of the night with my eyeballs stuck to my eyelids from dehydration (not that I have any experience with this).
I feel it all below my rib cage. A little ache like a close friend that wants it all to be clean, to be easy, to look nice, to feel perfect, but it does not. Will not. Yet behind that little aching friend is another feeling of being alive. Terribly, wonderfully alive. Amazingly in this moment. Terribly and frighteningly aware that the permanent marker drawings and sock wearing are not permanent at all. And amidst the disaster that is parenting and child-rearing, I am anchored by this feeling of aliveness and I hope that tomorrow will be just as real as today. With just much slobber and mess and baby-breath in my face and toddler dancing. Just as challenging and full of hope and purpose and growth.
Our story is very much still being written and I know there are some good-working pens around here if I would only just stop to look for them.
And until then, I will hopefully shower and wipe the raccoon swirls from my greasy mascara eyes to face tomorrow with a grin. After all, I need my face at least clean when I greet my neighbors.