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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Just another day in the life

Some days I feel like a failure.  I look back at the end of the day on all I didn't accomplish, all the times that sweet and loving gave way to harsh and impatient, all the moments I felt on the brink of insanity doing such simple tasks as getting out of the car, walking down a hallway, trying to hold a 2-minute conversation with an actual, real-life grown up, and I feel like a mess.  Like I'm doing everything wrong.

But today, as I rushed around the house like a mad-woman, and as I piled my family into the car and set off for school, late again, I started to realize the truth.  I'm not a mess.  I'm not a failure.  I'm a superhero.

I mean, there are people (ahem, Joel) who get up, take a shower by themselves, make one breakfast (for themselves), put on their own shoes and their own coats and walk out the the door!  Walk straight out the door.  Can you even imagine such a thing?  (I mean, sure, he wakes up at 5:00 to accomplish this feat and, you know, pour every ounce of energy into his job, but whatever.  I'm the superhero today.)

This morning I woke up to a toddler's face just inches from mine and a puddle of urine in my bed.  Once I got him changed and the sheets in the washing machine, I dressed, fed and played referee to three rambunctious young boys, one of whom is most definitely not a morning person, while simultaneously packing lunches, signing reading logs and showering.  You heard me right.  Somewhere in the middle of all that chaos, I actually showered.

I somehow safely ushered three kids from the parking lot to the classrooms, and with Benjamin under one arm and my bag on the other I made it back to the car in less than 30 minutes.  Every single conversation from the time I reach the school lobby ends in my toddler running straight into oncoming traffic and me sprinting across the parking lot to catch him.

In fact, much of my day contains these unreal moments of heroic strength and speed.  I mean, I don't want to brag, but I can run from the living room to the bathroom, where my super-sonic hearing has detected a toddler pulling up his underwear pre-wiping, in less than a second.  Olympic sprinters couldn't compete with a mom attempting to prevent poop-stained underwear.  

I can casually balance a large three-year-old on one hip while cooking, cleaning, drinking coffee, eating meals and using the toilet.  I can outrun a speeding balance bike.  Out-climb the swiftest monkey.  And outsmart the most clever and stubborn of all humans... the toddler.

Most days I kick myself for the moments I lose my patience.  But what about all of the many moments I don't?  What about the times where I scream silently in my head, paste on a fake old smile and answer, "What do you need, sweetheart?"  What about the hundreds of times a day Benjamin wants to "hold me" and instead of throwing myself on the ground in frustration I stretch out my arms and I hold him?  What about the countless hours I've spent preparing meals that were sneered at and cried over, and not once did I so much as throw a pea?

I field incoming requests from the second I wake up in the morning ("Mommy, I'm hungry... I need my swim stuff... I don't have any socks.") to the moment I lay down my head at night ("Mommy, I need a drink... I want tucked in... Something's bothering me.").   I respond to these requests quickly and efficiently and with only the necessary grumbling (particularly when they come before my coffee).

And at the end of the day I look at the three small humans who have leeched every bit of energy from me that day, and I think about how deeply and sincerely I love them.  After all that.  I don't look at their sleeping bodies and think, "Well crap, guess I have to deal with that tomorrow."  I think instead, "How could I possibly love them more?"

Weird, huh?

So I guess we're doing something right, tired mamas of the world.  Even on the days it feels like we're doing everything wrong.  I've heard people say that being a mom is the hardest job in the world.  I don't know about that, but I'll tell you this.  It is hard.  It is really, really hard, but we're doing it.  We're doing it with a good bit of coffee and a whole lot of grace, but we're doing it.

And that's the most heroic part of all.