Ok, so yesterday was just an average day. And I know I should feel ashamed about this, but my toddler watched the movie “Cars” 3 times yesterday (twice back to back) while I did work from home. I made sure he was fed, changed, and safe… but otherwise, I did very little parenting for the little fella outside of helping him build a train track. This kept him occupied for all of 4 minutes before he would scream out of frustration because one of the train cars would derail, at which point I would give him a bowl of crackers and cheerfully suggest he go watch Lightening McQueen some more.
Parenting score, right?
So later that evening, my kids returned home from school and The Hubs helped them finish homework while I got dinner on the table and rushed my son off to youth group. Realizing I hadn’t really talked to my oldest outside of hurried dinner conversation, I casually asked him how his day at school was.
Now, usually this would be answered with a “fine”. And good moms would then press for more information. Unfortunately, I was not feeling in the mood to be a “good” mom. I hate pressing for more information because then I usually hear about how he got in trouble for something and we have to write apology letters and call school personnel and figure out consequences… and who has the energy for that day in and day out, really?! Not this mama.
But last night, after I ran a trillion errands and listened to the “Cars” background music while making umpteen phone calls, I asked the question, “How was your day, Cam” and was then regaled with a 15-minute monologue about his day. He spoke in speeds that could rival an auctioneer. Only his words made no sense and his stories never really came together clearly. But I was not given the chance to ask for further explanation because, well, he wouldn’t shut up long enough for me to do so. (And honestly, was I listening all that closely? Mmmmm, no.)
I dropped him off at the church and drove home while my ears finished ringing. All I wanted to do was to go home, put my feet up, and play candy crush (on mute) so that I could unwind from the frazzled day that was not close enough to being over.
And that’s just when the female child wanted all of the attention. ALL OF IT. She wanted to play games and paint nails and have me guess random objects she was holding behind her back (I mean, seriously, that’s desperation, right there). And all I wanted to do was zone out for the briefest of moments….
However, just as all hope felt lost, I remembered my old faithful trick. “Taylor, I have an idea of what we can do! Do you want to practice doing hair? I’ll let you practice on me…” We hadn’t played this game in a while, mainly because I have curly hair and she has the talons of an eagle, scraping and clawing at my curls without the slightest bit of compassion. Yet I knew that if she was this desperate for a playmate, she would be gentler than usual.
Sure enough, this child of mine sprang to attention and immediately ran for my brush and all the hair accessories she could find. And for the next hour, I sat there as she gently played with my hair, putting me into a partial coma, me barely hearing the long stream of high-pitched words emerging without stop from her lips. With each brush stroke and each careful twist of the hair, I was instantly transported into a state of complete calm.
And then she asked if she could massage my feet….
What is happening to my life right now?!? I could barely fathom my luck, but there she sat, rubbing my tootsies and tickling at my ankles. My body felt like putty and all I wanted to do was tell her that I was sorry for all the times I’d grounded her or scolded her for getting into my things. I was willing to forgive all wrongs and forget the past entirely. We were starting fresh in that moment, and I was going to sleep like a baby.
My husband arrived home with my oldest from church at 8pm and it was time for everyone to brush their teeth and get ready for bed. Sadly, my time of soothing had to come to an end - but that was okay, because I was still fully relaxed...
And then the kids argued over something stupid in the bathroom and the lights were left on and clothes were left everywhere in the kitchen (why are they in the kitchen in first place? No one will ever know.) and people kept finding reasons to avoid bedtime and, wouldn’t you know it, my feeling of calm left as quickly as it had come.
I had to do the yelling and threatening once more… I was willing to charge them their Christmas money to pay the electric bill, tape them to their beds if they got up once again, and I was all about ready to light “Cars” on fire if the toddler screamed to watch it for the fourth time that day (because honestly, 4 times is where any decent mother draws the line, right?).
Distressed but trying to appear “normal”, I ran the idea of Ben and Jerry’s past my husband… but he wasn’t biting. “You’re not asking me to go to the store for ice cream right now, are you?” he asked.
“Gosh no, I was just saying that if you ever feel like it, it’s on sale at Uni-Mart…” I replied hopefully.
He didn’t take the bait, so I retreated upstairs with the toddler to watch Peppa Pig and make a blanket tent out of my bedding in an attempt to calm him enough for bed. After a half hour of suffocating under my sheets, I was able to wrangle the little guy into his crib, accompanied by his handful of matchbox cars.
Twenty minutes later, I heard the familiar clang of a car falling out of the crib, followed by the equally familiar calls from my youngest. “Mama! Oh, Mama!! My car car fall out da bed!” I arose and retrieved his car, kissed him goodnight again, and went to watch something non-animated on the television as I tried to fall asleep. Then the clang happened again… but this time the car had fallen behind the crib. There was no way in the world that I was moving his bed at 10:30pm to pick up a toy car.
And I told my sobbing child just that. Although that didn’t seem to stop him from yelling, “Mama, oh Mama” a million more times with increasing vigor. So, I did what all “good” parents would do… I turned up the volume on my TV, turned down the volume on the baby monitor, and I willed myself to close my eyes and wake up on a beach somewhere. (PS, I still woke up at home and next to a hairy man hogging my side of the bed.)
It was just an average day… nothing unusual, just a day. And my house isn’t the beach, despite the January rain acting deceptively like a monsoon. But I am content with these chatty, arguing, squawking little people with all their quirks and peculiarities. I’m happy with my hairy bed-sharer. I am fulfilled at my job that makes me talk on the phone CONSTANTLY and neglect my child to the television sometimes. And I am happy being just a “good” mom. We make it work and I’m kinda proud of us for doing so.