It started today.
Courtesy of Rona.
My third grader crushed it. The kid barely needed me. I found myself tiptoeing to his bedroom, where he sat at his desk completely enthralled in his new learning platform. I kept assuming that any minute he would call out for help, but instead, a floor board would creak, his head would turn, and he’d silently wave me away.
It was a bittersweet parenting win – to know that he was OK on his own.
My first grader – She needed some help. She isn’t a strong reader yet and not as tech-savvy. In the moments she needed assistance, I was grateful that my oldest could do so much on his own.
The teachers were totally on top of it and super patient throughout the day. If they were stressed at all, I couldn’t tell.
I only cried once today, so I guess I did OK.
…And I at least waited til the hubs was home and I was away from the kids before I let loose.
I wouldn’t say I had a stressful day. More of an anxious day.
I spent the entire day moving between the two kids, making sure they had what they needed and were on task. Thankfully, I think the dogs sensed it wasn’t a day to screw with mama, and lied quietly on their bed. My little one though – the two-year-old – he tested my love more than once. I was so worried he would interfere with the others’ concentration that I kind of let him run a muck to keep him happy (yeah, I know, keep rolling those eyes).
At one point in the morning, my little guy had six packs of fruit snacks open and was trying to feed them to the dogs.
Another time, he peeled an orange by first stabbing it with a knife and then squeezing the juice into his hair.
Every time he did something psychotic, I had to remind myself that it wasn’t HIS fault my anxiety was through the roof, thus making him the recipient of a Toddler Rein Of Terror pass.
When the school day ended, I immediately went into rage cleaning mode. Earlier, I hadn’t been able to let myself accomplish any of my normal daily tasks because I was afraid a kid would need help.
When 2:30 hit and the kids were happily scampering away to play Fortnite and watch YouTube, I looked around the house with a heavy sigh and whispered to myself, “oh, hell freaking no.”
I started on one end of the house and just worked my way room to room. SO many Barbie shoes and Legos were vacuumed with zero fucks given. I sprayed bleach around the kitchen as if Aunt Rona herseld had visited. I even vacuumed some walls, which I barely ever do – because who actually has time for that?
When the hubs got home, I abandoned the rage cleaning and unloaded all my mom guilt on him.
The kids did OK, but I’m a wreck, therefore the day was a fail. The house is still a disaster and I haven’t even thought about dinner. I let my toddler bathe in actual orange juice and didn’t even try to make him pee on the potty.
Why can’t we just have a normal day? Why do I feel guilty no matter what I’m doing or who I’m helping? Why can’t the house stay clean for five minutes? And why the hell does making dinner sound like such a freaking chore?
As I unleashed my crocodile tears on my poor, unsuspecting husband, he did what he always does best and gave me the comforting words I so desperately needed: “Fuck it. Let’s order Chinese.”
OK, so he said more than just that! But, he really did say those words, and when he did, it made my loins quiver with excitement. Come on, what’s sexier than that? MAYBE the thought of hubs doing dishes or laundry. But, my man KNOWS the way to my heart is through my belly.
So, anyway, his other words of comfort were these: The kids are OK. The house is OK. He’s OK. I’m OK. Feeling overwhelmed is normal and having a messy house doesn’t make me a bad mom. Of course, I KNOW these things already, but it’s always helpful to get a reminder in a moment of weakness. And the ever-so-smart hubs also pointed out what I, as a mother, often forget. Today the kids were engaged. They were happy. They were fulfilled and excited. If I were doing something wrong, none of that would be so.
And my husband’s comforting words and Chinese food proposal brought me back to Earth.
For the rest of the afternoon and evening, we spent our time saying, “fuck it,” and eating General Tso’s chicken. The kids gorged themselves on wonton soup and lo mein, and all was right with the world once again.
Looking back at today, it wasn’t so bad. I just needed a reminder that I’m not Super Mom and there is absolutely positively nothing at all wrong with that.