It really was a good week.
I’m contemplating that it really had been just a great week. I was happy. I felt genuine, uncomplicated, happiness.
Both of the kids had been relaxed and pleasant. There was a random, late-winter snow storm and we all got stuck at home. But instead of contracting cabin fever, we lounged blissfully in our jammies, snuggled, and watched TV. I even snoozed. We baked muffins. We ate muffins. It was a day of cozy comfort.
Then Jack found out a piece of his art had been chosen to be in the district art show. It was a totally unexpected accomplishment, and we were absolutely thrilled to celebrate it with him. He was proud and humble as he reluctantly posed in front of his drawing at the local library where the exhibit was held.
The very next day, Emily picked up a book and started reading it to me. She is having a pretty great year in kindergarten, and all of a sudden, a switch has been turned on in her brain and all she wants to do is read. She tenaciously sounded out words and struggled through page after page of Dr. Seuss as I cheered her on.
It felt almost too good to be true.
Things almost never go this smoothly.
We were getting out of the house in the morning in one piece without any drama, on time, and with cheerful attitudes. The kids were not bickering with each other as much. I made a French Toast Bake that Jack (my super picky eater) declared was so good it should be on a cooking show. Emily slept through each night without coming up to our bed and waking us up. They said “thank you” for random things that they normally overlook as crap that I just do on the daily because I’m their mom.
Part of me was tempted to break into song and dance, because surely this sort of delightful existence only happened in musicals.
Honestly, I just felt like I was nailing it. I was totally rocking the working mom gig. I wasn’t even doing anything different or extraordinary.
I didn’t post about it on any social media for fear of seeming braggy, although I did put up pictures of Jack’s art and a video of Emily reading. But the larger, greater sense of the motherhood machine running just right- I did not post about that.
It isn’t often that I feel this way; like all is well, and all will be well.
Much more often I am beating myself up for letting the kids watch too much TV, not serving as much veggie as I should, and forgetting to check if Emily has remembered to change her underpants.
I so easily fill with self loathing because I lack energy to force my kids to write thank you notes. I convince myself I am a failure because my kids’ rooms are pits of despair and I’d rather not deal with them.
And then there are all the times I wonder what the hell I am doing wrong when I can’t seem to get places on time, or when I burn dinner, or when I forget to sign a field trip permission slip.
Even worse are the times when Jack is having a sensory meltdown because his anxiety has gotten the best of him and I am completely helpless to assist him in regulating his emotional state. Or when Emily is annoyed and frustrated and she tells me she hates me.
This stuff is so hard. I had no clue that the hard stuff would be so hard, nor that by contrast, that the amazing stuff would be so amazing.
I also had no clue that motherhood would frequently and chronically consist of so much more of the hard stuff.
So, that’s why I’m writing about the little sweet spot we shared that nice week.
It’s important to acknowledge and remember what it feels like to nail it in this gig. It’s good to write it all down so when times are tough we can remind ourselves what it feels like to know and hold happiness, to do it right. It’s important to remember that we are doing so, so great, even when we think we aren’t, or when we feel like we are struggling to even put milk in our coffee.
There are good moments if we look for them. We create them, like we create life, like we create last-minute, haphazard recipes from the last four random things in our fridge at the end of the week. It doesn’t have to be anything earth shattering. There can be joy.
And that’s the other important thing to remember in this parenting game: that there will be joy again. Even when it feels like the rough patch is going to go on forever, there is still a potential for change.
When was your last parenting sweet spot? How did you nail it as a mom? Are you going through a rough patch now? Talk to me in the comments!
Find something small.
Stay with it.
Give it your heart.
Resonate with it.
Tell it your secrets.
Feel the urge to leave.
Trace its grooves with your fingertip.
Find its secret scent of earth and salt.
Allow your tear to drip onto its surface.
Laugh, but do not leave, not just yet.
Realize the terror in adoring something tiny and tender.
Whisper to it that which you know is certain.
Pull your hand back and continue to find the energy pulsating.
Find something small.
Give it your heart.
Do it again.
Do it over.