Posted on | January 27, 2012 | 8 Comments
Motherhood is not always about showing up with perfectly iced cupcakes with sprinkles for a classroom birthday party, or handmade Valentines. Sometimes it’s not about a bath every night and perfectly matching clothes pressed and ready for school. It’s not the everyday serenity smile and kiss on the cheek or the cover tuck at night after a sweet bedtime story.
Sometimes? Sometimes motherhood is just about staying one teeny, tiny step ahead of your ever-running child.
And we’re not talking about an average, well meaning jaunt of a step, no. This isn’t a “Take one giant step forward, mother may I?” kind of a deal. This is more of a tiptoe past while your child is glancing at a squirrel in the backyard and breathing a sigh of relief that finally you are ahead of something.
Motherhood, for me, has been a constant struggle to be ahead at anything… ahead in paying for daycare, ahead in laundry, ahead by making my lunch the night before. I can’t do it all and I can’t even pretend like I can do more than the minimum on most days. If my child is well-fed and he arrives at daycare without something stuck in his hair or to his face, then I feel like I’ve won for the morning. If I remember to grab a cereal bar for myself on the way out the door? I’m a rockstar.
Because motherhood isn’t about perfection… it’s about breathing. It’s about plastering on a smile as you read “Goodnight Construction Site” for the fifth time in a row. It’s about standing firm on some rules and caving in on others. It’s about learning how to craft a sentence into such a way that argument is futile.
It is survival of the fittest.
And it is with that in mind that I bring you my latest mothering success.
This morning, my son wanted desperately to stay home and watch Little Bear. He cried. He begged. He refused to stand up and make his way out to the car, no matter what I offered as incentive. And then, in a stroke of pure, unadulterated genius, I struck a bargain.
“J, if you will go to school today, I promise, promise, promise that you and Mommy will both stay home tomorrow. We’ll stay in our pajamas and watch TV all morning.”
And he grinned and nodded, totally placated. Totally thinking he’d won the game.
Point, match, set to me, little one… Today is Friday.