Saturday, September 1, 2018

The magical chaos that is parenthood.

Motherhood is a series of contradictions. Beautiful chaos. Magical and exhausting. Joyful tears and tears of frustration.

Feeling like I can conquer anything and feeling completely inadequate.

There is a scene in a show that I watched awhile ago that sums up parenthood for me. The little girl is trying to pour her own orange juice and the adult asks her to stop, but the little girl doesn’t listen and the juice spills all over the kitchen floor. The adult gets frustrated and tries to clean it up while balancing a fussy baby on her hip. Then, since they are sticky from orange juice, the adult decides that they should go outside and run in the sprinklers, and the sun shines through the water in a magical way and they are all getting wet in their clothes and laughing. Frustration and messes are trumped by laughter and simple magical childhood experiences. Motherhood brings the highest highs and the lowest lows all within five minutes.

It is beautiful and hard and wonderful and overwhelming and fun and frustrating. Over and over and over again. But it is magic. Pure magic.


The past couple days have been like that:

Cambria trips and falls. Everett runs to comfort her. Everett starts talking to her, "Cambria, you are okay, because I'm cuddling you. I'm going to cuddle you all day. Mom, I'm almost going to cry, because Cambria is so cute. Cambria, you are my sister and I'm your brother, so I take good care of you."

The kids are quietly playing after breakfast, so I try to do a morning clean up. I am in my room making our bed, and all of a sudden Cambria walks in with her diaper full of poop in her hand. All in a matter of minutes, she went poop, took off her own diaper, walked from her room through the dining room and kitchen to the trashcan, tried to put it in the trashcan but was unsuccessful, so she walked from the trashcan down the hall into my bedroom, slowly dropping poop all along the way. It was foul. 

Peeking in on my kids while they are sleeping, and they are in Everett's bed cuddling in their sleep. 

An almost two year old unrolling all the toilet paper while I take a shower, because despite how many times this has happened, I still leave the toilet paper out.

I am doing the dishes from breakfast, and all of a sudden it is too quiet, the kind of silence that usually means they are getting into trouble together, and when I go to check on them, they are cuddling in Everett's bed reading books together. 

For “school,” we make moon play dough to play astronauts and space shuttles on the "moon." Everett and Cambria get to take turns measuring and pouring the ingredients into the pot, which results in five minutes of simultaneous crying because they each want to do it all, and me thinking to myself, why do I even try to do fun things with them. We let it pass and don't give up, and when we are done there is an hour of sibling collaborative play with the play dough, and it is beautiful. 

A four year old who runs enthusiastically around the children's museum, because he can't contain his excitement, wanting to show his friend all of his favorite things. 

A four year old who cries for fifteen minutes straight because Cambria put her shirt on first, and he wanted to win. They told me four was easier than three, I think and I wonder, is my kid the only four year old who still throws tantrums for seemingly no reason?

Another swim in the ocean with my boy, because he wants to go to the deep part with his mama. 

I tell Everett it is time to get ready for the library, and he literally starts jumping up and down exclaiming, "The library is my favorite place in the whole world. I'm so excited."

We go to the library for our last story time before Everett is in preschool on Thursdays, and as he enthusiastically sits on the carpet in front of the librarian and turns back toward me to wave, I get a tear in my eye at this chapter closing and a new one beginning.

A boy who decides he wants to make a rocket out of cardboard and paint it, just like the real astronaut in his book did when he was a kid. He needs to take a trip to Mars with his co-pilot Cambria, he tells me. 

A family date night where we get to take in a view of the city from a museum rooftop and then listen to live music while we watch our kids joyfully dance at the golden hour. 


Like every day, being a parent is so full of magic and yet, so exhausting.

Sometimes it’s tough to be a 4 year old or an almost 2 year old. Sometimes it’s tough to be the parent of a 4 year old and an almost 2 year old. And it’s also wonderful to be the parent of 4 year old and an almost 2 year old. So many contradictions in parenthood.


Another scene from a show that I remember about parenthood was a mom hiding in an empty bathtub eating chips. This was before I had kids and I remember thinking, why do shows have to portray moms in such a negative light, and now I can totally see myself hiding in an empty bathtub to get a minute of peace and eating a snack that I don’t want to share with my kids. In fact, that is a coping mechanism that I may employ this next week.

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