I’m back to discussing 3 lessons I’ve learn the hard way as I journey through parenthood. Today I’ll share with you lesson 2 of 3. In case you missed the first installment in this series here is Lesson 1 – Parenthood: Some People Just Won’t Get It.
Lesson 2 – Some Days Are Harder Than Others
Yes, I realize this statement applies to life in general and that we’ve all experienced the truth behind this remark. However, I had no idea how accurately this would apply to parenthood. When I was growing up I’d play house, rock my pretend babies to sleep, and imagine motherhood was like a beautiful fairy-tale. Even after I grew up and found out I was expecting my first child, I was still completely unprepared for the reality that would soon be my future. I imagined stress free play dates in the park and well-behaved children sharing ice cream on a hot summer day. HAHAHA (excuse me a minute while I laugh hysterically at my former self)!
There are times and moments when motherhood is actually a million times better than I could have imagined. I’ve come to realize that those times are what get me through the really hard days. I am going to share with you a difficult day that finally made me realize that being a mom was the hardest job I would ever have and that I just needed to except that some days are harder than others.
This story takes place in my home. Let me set the stage for you. I was pregnant with my third child. My older two daughters were 1 and 3 at the time. As you can tell my life was already chaotic. To make things worse, I was also sick with the flu. Let me repeat this for emphasis. I was pregnant, sick with the flu, and taking care of a 1 and 3 year-old. Fun right? Not so much! In fact, I can remember feeling so sick and weak that I could barely lift my head from the soft pillow. After my husband left for work, I laid in bed and started counting the hours, minutes, and seconds until he would return. I remember trying to come up with a game plan on how to get through the day. Maybe a 10 hour movie day with the kids would be okay just this once?! Perhaps, I could pile every toy we own in my bed and that would keep them entertained. You see I have only had one rule for myself since I entered motherhood which is: don’t sleep when the kids are awake. I’ve always followed my rule and would only sneak a quick nap when they napped. This was MY rule and on this dreadful day, I broke MY own rule.
I remember feeling overwhelmingly tired. I never meant to fall asleep, I just meant to rest my eyes (the biggest lie anyone tells themselves). The next thing I knew I was waking up. Panic set in. Before I could open my eyes, I smelled something familiar. The strong scent of peanut butter in the air! I tried to think positive thoughts. Perhaps the kids were enjoying a snack in my room. That was my first and last best attempt at wishful thinking.
I crawled out of bed and staggered down the hallway. I could hear my little girls giggling, which would normally be music to my ears, but not today. No, today I know that the giggling meant they were up to no good. I pushed open their bedroom door and there it was, I had found the culprit, the source of the smell, the reason why I don’t sleep when the kids are awake. They hadn’t just enjoyed an early morning snack, no, they were elbow deep in the jar of peanut butter. My creative little duo had used their room as a canvas and peanut butter as the paint. Like any good resourceful artist, they’d covered the whole room. Every inch, every toy, even each individual blind was caked with peanut butter. There were foot prints in the carpet, finger prints on the walls, and two little girls with very guilty faces staring up at me.
Some days are harder than others, this was one of those days.
What I did next is very predictable. I sat down and cried. I used the last shred of energy I possessed to throw myself a pity party. Then it hit me. In the middle of world war peanut butter I gained clarity, motivation, and comfort. Amidst the nutty fumes I realized that this was it, the crucial moment that would test my ability to handle parenthood. And then I knew… I could and would handle it. Why? Because I’m a mom.
Have you ever cleaned up peanut butter? It’s like trying to brush your teeth while eating Oreos! After several bottles of cleaning products the evidence from that crime scene disappeared along with any lingering doubts about coping with the worst days of parenthood.
We all survived–and life continued on…
Stay tuned for Lesson 3 of 3