The Dichotomy of Motherhood

Dichotomy of Motherhood

I saw Bad Moms last weekend. Laughed until I cried, although I’m sure the happy hour ahead of time helped. Then I came home and gave my kids the same kiss and sweet whispered thoughts I do after they’re asleep every night.

I woke up the next morning, and although I didn’t keep track, there’s a good chance I started fussing within an hour of the last of our family of five waking up. I can’t tell you whose raised voice started first: the middle child, whose primary form of communication is a few decibel levels higher than most of the population; or the youngest, who has learned that to be heard you have to be the loudest; or me, who after what was probably several attempts at taking deep breaths and remaining calm, finally snapped and told one of the kids what exactly was wrong with them demanding that I sprinkle the cinnamon on their bagel counter clockwise.

{Spoiler alert}: There’s a scene in Bad Moms where some of the mothers take a minute to reflect on just how much they love their children, and just how much they drive them up a freaking wall at the same time.

While I found much of the movie spot on (seriously have they been bugging my house??), this was the most realistic moment in the film for me.

How can we love a human SO MUCH, when sometimes we just aren’t sure we want to be anywhere close to them? How is it that I’ve quit my job and embarked on a new professional path, specifically so that I can spend more time with my kids, but find myself counting down the hours until I’m “free” and have time to myself?

How can I be so excited about having some time with my son and his tennis clinic, while simultaneously engaging in a shouting match about why he has to participate in some team sport? How can I (every day) have discussions with my children about what is fair, when I have several “that’s not fair” thoughts of my own? How can I keep my eyes on the clock as it (soooo slowly) ticks towards bedtime, my time, and then feel sad that I don’t get to hang out with my kids any more that night?

How can I be willing to fight anyone over something they say about my kids, but voice my personal opinions with great regularity to my sister? How is it that I can enjoy the freedom of summer with my kids, while also calculating the days left until school is in session?

What is this dichotomy they call motherhood? And how in the heck do you figure it out?

We spent an awesome day at Splash Country this week; it was all around a really great family day. We finished the day at a local restaurant, and had our act together, or as much as it can be, when you’re trying to feed three kids in a place that requires you to get your own drink and ketchup, all the while attempting to grab bites of your own food between running what are considered must-do errands for the children. We made it almost all the way through dinner without incident, and then while my husband and I were cleaning up, the three year old climbed up on a bar stool and grabbed the just re-filled lemonade and dropped the darn thing all over the floor. To my credit (do moms ever give themselves enough credit?), I cleaned it up without shouting, although I’m sure there was much pursing of lips and probably heavy sighing.

As I finished (so many napkins later), another mother called me over to her table. She opened her arms, and offered me a hug, and I took her up on it. She told me she had three kids as well, now teenagers, and that it would all be ok. She pointed to the three year old and said “Him – he’s the one that keeps you on birth control?” and laughed. She told me that I was doing a good job raising them, and that they’d appreciate it someday. She laughed with me as we realized the kids had, in my absence, climbed up onto the windowsill that was at least four feet off the ground, and were posing for the passing road. She told me that kids with that kind of confidence will do great things in the future. And she smiled when she told me that after a day at the water park, at least they’d all fall asleep easily.

Thank you to that woman, who in that moment, helped me realize that all of the above is normal. That, as it turns out, I am a good mom, with good kids. And for helping me understand that even though there’s good and bad, it’s the good that matters most.

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