I just pulled a piece of linty grilled cheese out from under the sofa. There is banana stuck to everything. At least Spouse found the queen and Raided those ants dead. We didn’t used to live like this.
Motherhood has been, for me, an exercise in waiving expectations, of shrugging off the shrug-offable, of not sweating the small stuff. I have never been a micro-manager; big picture-wise, I assume everything will be okay. For me, motherhood has not been a learning experience as much as it has been a process of refinement; I was already awesome, but now I am awesome and (mostly) unshakable. Oh, it’s tantrum time? Cool, cool. I’ll hang out here while you do you and we’ll reconnect when you’re normal again.
Motherhood is a lot of things. It is patience, and patience-trying, and tried patience. It is exhausting and exasperating and exhilarating and existentially questionable. The line between having it all and doing it all is thin. The hour between dinner time and bed time can seem unending, the same way the hour between breakfast and daycare goes so fast.
Motherhood is double bottles of wine, and doing laundry after dark, and spending hours on Facebook just to feel connected with the outside world. It is playing outside, learning the difference between poop and pine cones after the rain, and shrieking with delight when he shrieks with delight at the way that pigeons shuffle across the road as cars approach. It is learning to identify what truly cannot go in the mouth versus that which seems gross but won’t end him.
Motherhood is staying up all hours listening to the sound of his breath and then getting up early. Motherhood is begging to sleep in even when it isn’t your turn. Motherhood is letting go, and letting up, and giving in. It is putting up fights and standing firm and not taking no for an answer, even if his favourite word is no and he’s standing just as firm. It is winning publicly while losing privately and crying in secret. It is watermelon for dinner and chocolate bars when your partner’s away. It is laughing out loud and trying to stifle laughter when he is being bad but you couldn’t possibly be mad.
Motherhood is something that happens to you or for you. Whether you greet it with enthusiasm or reluctance, it is something that takes you over. One year you are holding someone’s hair out of her face as she vomits, the next you are a comfortable surface upon which to puke. You are changed, no matter how hard you fight it. You are someone’s.
Motherhood is venerable and vulnerable. It is who you are but it is not your identity. It is serious, and seriously ridiculous, and ridiculously easy to take for granted and to take too seriously. It is never what you thought it would be. It is competitive, even if you are not competing; it is a sacred cow, but some people don’t find it funny.
Motherhood is finding a grilled cheese sandwich in a strange place and not being surprised. It is finding peanut butter in your hair and tongs in your purse and bobby pins in the toilet. It is weird. It is wild. It is wonderful, even when it is not.
Happy Mother’s Day. I hope you get to spend the day the way you want. You’ve earned it, lady.