Two nights ago I ended the day in a crumpled mess of a woman eating Fun Dip and Reese's curled up in the fetal position on the couch.
The details of how I got there are a little hazy. But I remember lots of crying, unbelievable amounts of spit up and poop...just a whole lot of poop. It was one of those days where I ambitiously had two things on my to do list and only one of them got done. Nothing about the day involved a shower or a change out of pajamas and I kept the same pony tail in all day that I had slept in the night before. There's nothing like the walk of shame in your own house all day long. I don't recall if I even had a toilet break. My darling children conspired against me and the day gave me an eye-twitch that may not ever go away. When my husband walked in the door from work I'm sure he looked at me in a squinting fashion and said, "Darling is that you?"
Like I said, I don't remember much but I do remember tears and poop, and also not a lot of napping. There was a moment at the end of the day where a meltdown from my almost two year old was happening because for the life of her she didn't understand why she couldn't have marshmallows for dinner. Avett was crying for a good 30 minutes because...well he's a baby and babies cry. My ears were ringing and I was trying to feed Evaleigh who had gone on an eating strike until marshmallows became available with one hand while vigourously bouncing Avett with the other. Everything came to a head and I just let out a high pitched operatic note. I needed a release. Sporadic opera notes are a normal in our house and I thought it was a good idea because hey, it wasn't yelling, but no...in the insanity of the moment it only made Evie cry harder.
It was that moment that I realized that the hardest part of this job is showing patience and letting the children think you have it under control.
Even when on the inside you are thinking, "OH MY GOSH WHY ALL OF THE IRRATIONAL CRYING?? STOP STOP STOP!" or "NO I CANT HOLD ERNIE AND YOUR PLASTIC HORSE RIGHT NOW IM NURSING YOUR BROTHER!" or "CAN I PLEASE POOP IN PEACE JUST ONCE...ONCE!"
Motherhood is a tricky thing. It is easily the hardest and most wonderful job in the world. Most of the time it is a big old guessing game. I would say that for me in moments like that it is a battle of patience and keeping my cool.
These little people that take all of our time and energy have so much to teach us if we let them. They have the capability of helping us to become our best selves.
I've realized that the best thing we can do when the crazy is breaking out is to respond to them with the opposite emotion. When they are selfish we need to respond with selflessness, when they are impatient we need to give them patience, when they are irrational we need to be the one to show understanding and compassion. This is a stretch for most of us and it's a hard thing to do when our initial reactions aren't so naturally good. Children test our deepest patience. But I've learned that when I react in the kindest way and exercise my restraint and tolerance I feel so good about myself as a mother. I love my two little people more than anything because they do push me to want to be a better person in the most profound way possible.
So, here's to reigning in the crazy, maybe one night saying, "I understand that marshmallows are a magically delicious thing, of course you can have them for dinner!", sucking up the eye twitch, and giving our babies our best. Here's to understanding we will rise from the ashes of the day. The sun will set and rise again and the next day we will have the chance to do it all over again.
Hopefully better than the day before.
(A thanks to my husband who brought home the fun dip and Reese's, ordered me to have a long hot shower, and gave me a foot rub at the end of the night. You da best.)