The reason I'm prefacing this post is that perhaps not everyone reading this entry will have experienced what it is like to spend all day every day for an extended amount of time with small children. I don't think I appreciated how draining parenting could be before I had my kids. And how could I? It's one of those feelings that I think is very hard to relate to until you are right there in the moment. Honestly, sometimes when I'm away from them even for a day I somehow forget how much full-time parenting can siphon all of your energy, and within 5 minutes of coming through the front door, it all comes back to me.
Having said that, it's not always like that, and it's hands down the best thing I've done with this life of mine. :-)
But... sometimes you have to have a sense of humour about it. I feel like a scene from "The Back Up Plan" (yes, yes... I watched it... so sue me!) really captured the essence of how parenting can sometimes feel. Let's take a look....
Those magical moments are sooo wonderful, but as any parent will tell you, you sometimes just gotta do what you gotta do to get through the not-so-magical moments.
Here's the part where half my readers may write me off as a nutbar. :-) I do this weird thing to cope some days. But you know what? I figure if it helps me keep a sense of humour about it all, then it can't be a bad thing.
If you are a fan of the Office, you will know the many "faces" of Jim Halpert. Whenever something ridiculous happens, or someone is doing or saying something ridiculous, our protagonist Jim looks at the camera with any one of his "faces" as if he is silently saying to us, "can you believe this?!" or "here we go again..." or "just stab me." :-)
Sooo... (maybe you see where we're going here) when I'm having one of those moments where my kids are acting up and even one more second may not be bearable and I think I'm going to explode, I just turn my head slightly to the side, pretend I'm looking at "the camera" and give one of my best "Jim" looks. There... I've said it. You may think I'm crazy, but I swear, it makes me laugh and then I'm in a better place and consequently am able to be a better parent.
I'll show you how it works with some real life examples that have all happened in the last 72 hours:
It's been a loooong day. Rushed home from pre-school, finally got Knolan to take a nap and I need to get supper going. I set Kaycie up in the dining room with some newspapers, blank paper, paints, a paintbrush and a cup of water to clean her brush. In a rare moment of responsible mothering, I even remembered to put an art smock on her - go me! I head to the kitchen, and start multitasking - cooking AND cleaning (again... go me!). Kaycie comes around the corner and says "look Mommy - I made an apron!". I can see that she's pulled on a long-sleeved shirt by putting her legs through the neck and tying the sleeves in knot behind her back. Great. But... in another moment of excellent parenting, I encourage her imaginative play and say "how cute! I love it!" and send her back to painting. Lost in the world of dishes and potatoes, I reach for a tea towel and suddenly realize that all of my tea towels have disappeared from the oven. I stop and listen for a moment, and hear Kaycie talking to herself in the dining room, but I can't quite make out what she's saying. I slowly peek around the corner to see what she's doing as I hear her saying things like: "Yes, step-mother", "right away Anastasia", and "Jacques... Gus... come along!" I realize that she is pretending she is Cinderella mere nanoseconds before I see that she has poured all of her paint water on to the floor, and is on her knees singing away, wearing her "apron" and pretending to be Cinderella scrubbing the floor with all of my tea towels. That's when I look off-scene to the camera and make this face:
Knolan has been sick and teething for days. I've been doing my best to function with him waking at all hours and being irritable and restless most of the time. One day - unbeknownst to me it was mere hours before a tooth finally broke through - I had FINALLY sang and read and cuddled enough to coax Knolan to sleep. I left his room and quietly told Kaycie that he was finally asleep and that she could have some quiet time in her room... and that it was very important to not wake up her brother. I tiptoed down the hall to try for the 4th time that day to tidy up the
It's bedtime for the kids, I'm on my own with the kids on this particular night, and I'm elbow-deep in a prune-triggered dirty diaper. I've just hit that point where I'm dangling my little guy by his feet half in the air and I've pulled away the offending diaper when BAM... I'm in total darkness and I turn to see the silhouette of Kaycie quickly walking away. I call out and barely manage to stop her. I ask her to turn the light back on, only to have her inform me that, "Daddy says we need to save electricity" and march away leaving me in the dark holding a poop-coated, squirming baby dangling from my grasp like a fish out of water. All I can do is give the camera one of these:
But then, magical moments do happen that make all of my less sane moments seem completely bearable.
...Like when Knolan looked at me with smiling eyes today and said, "mamama".
...And when Kaycie came running over with overflowing pride yesterday to show me that she wrote a "K" and an "A" all by herself.
And I cried happy, happy tears both times. :-)