Motherhood. A time to leave one’s pride and self-consciousness at the door. Delve in and be present with the kids.
Model fun by going with the flow. If your children want to adorn you with crowns and capes…then let them.
If no napkins are available then use your shirt sleeves to clean their little faces. If they’re scared of the public restroom’s abnormally loud hand fan – use your scarf or sweater for drying their hands.
Cuddle them to absorb their fevers when they’re sick. A Motherhood rite of passage is: the ability to catch unexpected ejections in one’s hands when children are suddenly experiencing emesis. A true talent – light speed reflexes are needed.
Piggyback them home when they “just can’t” walk any further. Gracefully carry all of their things, bags, toys, your bag, the grocery bags, and maybe them…all at the same time (while thinking, “Oh for f*ck’s sake”, but don’t whisper it out loud – they have super sonic hearing and they’ll bring it up later to strangers who’ll judge you).
Play referee between the siblings and maintain decorum at all times. No raising your voice…because Ladies don’t yell. They never yell, “Enough!!!!” – not even when crying is involved…even if it’s Mom hanging onto the last fragment of patience of the day. Sobbing Moms are frowned upon.
When you step on a Lego, Littlest Pet Shop, doll accessory, wooden block, etc – just bite your lip and keep walking. Don’t yell out in pain. You may draw attention to yourself, and then one of the kids will ask for a snack.
Never sit down – eat standing, drink your tea/coffee while standing (after re-heating it 2-3 times), and when you get tired lean against the counter. We all know that the moment you sit down the kids will instantly sense it and ask you to get something for them. Also as a rule, expect that the moment you apply nail polish (including clear or nude polish) the kids will ask you to help them with something, and you will, and you’ll re-do your messed up nails again hours later, and at that time you’ll smudge the polish just because that’s how life goes some days.
Know that the kids will claim to forget how to do seemingly simple tasks like putting on shoes and jackets when you’re late for an appointment or school. They may make a fuss or scream in your face…but just keep everyone moving out the door. Arrive at your destination as if all is well and it was a lovely journey. (Make sure to wear oversized sunglasses during every outing so the public doesn’t see your tears of frustration.)
Also know that the kids will probably lose their mittens [and possibly the several replacement pairs that you’ll send in their backpacks], a single runner, or a sweater at school, and you may never see them again. You’ll dig through that germ infested lost and found bin in the school hallway – your face in the other kid’s random lost sweaters and shoes…but to no avail…so you’ll buy the third pair of “outdoor” runners of the school year hoping that they’ll see the end of June and come home in the backpack….
After all of this, when the kids give you an unexpected tight hug, or words of thanks, then the slate is clean, and the day is complete. Tomorrow is new day.
PS. While I was editing this post one of the kids slipped and just about fell down a few stairs…so I lunged for him and stepped on my computer bag, crushed my glasses case, and banged my knee on the wall…but I caught him. So today I’m a super Auntie and a super Mom.
After I helped him he looked at the photo of me at the top of this post and said, “Who’s that?”. I said, “That’s me.” He said, “You look weird.”, and ran off. He was wearing gardening gloves and a huge wizard hat…I guess some days I look weird.
It’s time to shop for a new glasses case, and keep my computer bag on the floor on the other side of my chair….