I was talking with some girlfriends the other night, and I noted that how I’m feeling about how things are going depends on the time of day. How in the morning it can feel lalala, this is so wonderful, but then by the afternoon, someone has peed on the floor and every toy we own has been scattered near and far and I think, this is too hard. I’m passing judgment on my life depending on whether it’s 7:30 am or 4:30 pm.
Sometimes that flip flop can happen in a matter of moments, let alone a whole day. Just last night I was rocking them both and reading books and it tasted so sweet. But only a few minutes later one of them was screaming and one of them was stalling and I thought sleep would never come. Not till Brooklyn, not till ever.
But the truth is, my life is neither moment on its own. It’s both of them; it’s all of them jumbled together running into and over the memory of the other that make up my life.
There’s a reason the stereotypes about stay-at-home motherhood exist. It’s comedic normalcy. It really is not being alone to use the bathroom. It really is sweeping and mopping the kitchen floor over and over. There actually are days when I don’t shower.
Nothing we are doing is new. We’re not breaking any records or forging any frontiers, but it is all new to us. We are all learning, me most of all. I’m a better mom in my mind than I am in real life, and sometimes that discrepancy smacks me in the face. And so much more regularly now that I’m home with them every day.
I’m not an overly empathetic person by nature. I’m quick to sigh and roll my eyes. I’m impatient. And little kids will bring all of that to the surface quicker than anything else. One of my friends once said that when she’d get annoyed with how long it took her little girl to put on her shoes, she’d literally remind herself: “She’s just a little girl.” And of course it’s going to take a little girl, who just learned how to put on her own shoes, longer than a grown up. So sometimes I do that: they’re little, I remind myself. They’re little. And they get bigger every day.
It never stays 4:30 pm for ever.