I plunk my kids into the cart at the grocery store. They’re thrilled because they got the one-and-only race car cart. Today they’re a comedy act…a veritable Laurel & Hardy. One makes beeping sounds while the other buzzes his lips like a motor.
They smile at strangers and melt old ladies’ hearts. They each take a banana from the free fruit basket and eat like little gentlemen. The oldest makes monkey sounds triggering the youngest to bust into giggles. Today, they are dreamy. Today I have a surplus of patience. The sludge of motherhood can’t touch me…not today.
I see you at the end of the aisle. You have two toddlers too, but today, it’s your turn. They are demanding Goldfish crackers but you’ve clearly said no. I see your daughter bash your son over the head with a frozen bag of peas. He retaliates with a ruthless bite. She screams and kicks off her boots. He screams because she’s screaming.
You tear into the Goldfish crackers and offer them up as a peace bond despite your earlier boycott. Their screams dwindle to whimpers as they drown their emotions in salt. You huff down the aisle biffing stuff in your cart. Your goal is to get out of that store as fast as possible and still manage to gather enough food to make three meals a day for a week.
Today, your kids are nightmares. They are testing your internal fortitude to its breaking point. You look frazzled; you ARE frazzled. Lord knows their testy attitudes have been simmering all day. You have tears just waiting to take centre stage but you manage to hold them back. You get to the car, and that’s when you cry.
Today it’s your turn.
Once upon a time, long before I had kids of my own, I may have been a smug asshole who judged you. I may have thought, get a hold of those kids, lady! I may have raised my eyebrow when you gave in and handed over the Goldfish. I hope not, but I may have judged you.
But not today.
Today I’m standing at the end of the aisle wishing you the grit and guts it takes to hang on. I’m with you in that cracker aisle sending you mom vibes full of the tenacity it takes to muddle through the days we feel crushed by parenthood. I’m sending you telepathic thoughts saying, “You’ve got this, Mama Bear!” “I know these moments suck.” “We’re with you because we’ve all been there!”
Yes. We all take a turn being “that” parent…the one whose kids run amok leaving us feeling browbeaten and broken. But just like we all take turns feeling defeated by motherhood, we also take turns having those dreamy days…the days where parenting seems to have that effortless je ne sais quoi. We all take a turn with those days too.
So hang on Mama Bear, because tomorrow it’s your turn.