This week nearly broke me. It’s been filled with stress of preparing to move cross country, selling our house, and trying to understand the complete irrational nature of toddlerhood. Today was Margaret’s last day at the school she’s attended since she was 14 weeks old (it’s a daycare/Montessori school, but we just call it school). Henning has been out of the country for work. My workload has been so immense that I’ve been continuing to work every evening from the time Margaret’s in bed until way past the time I usually go to bed. I’m exhausted and emotional. I’ve been having pity parties for myself. This morning I yelled at Margaret several times because all she needs to do in the morning is wake up, get dressed, and eat breakfast, but all week all of these have been a struggle. She wakes up, but doesn’t want me to get her out of her crib or change her diaper. She’s fine with taking off her PJs, but doesn’t want to get dressed. She’ll tell me what she wants for breakfast, but she doesn’t want to eat it. I know she’s been through a lot of changes recently with preparing to move and more changes are coming, but this morning, I just lost it. We needed to get to school on time so I could start my work and meet my deadlines. On the way to school, I felt guilty for yelling but relieved that she was going to school because (1) she loves school and (2) I needed distance from the craziness that went down this morning.
When I pulled out of the school parking lot, I thought, “this week has been the epitome of motherhood from the trenches.” Things have not gone the “right” way all week. For example, the day of our house inspection, it poured rain and a crack that we had repaired in our basement started leaking again. Later that day, I went to the grocery store with Margaret on the way home from school, and when I swiped my debit card it was declined. I kept swiping, and it was declined four times. The cashier told me it was probably some kind of security breach or something like that, and I thought, “look, lady, that doesn’t make me feel any better!” I didn’t have any other method of payment on me, so Margaret and I drove the 10 minutes back home and 10 minutes back so I could pay for the groceries with a check (because we were now living in 1995). I cursed not having a credit card on me (Henning has them, and he’s in Germany [note to self: get another copy of the credit card]). When I got back to the store, I was about to write a check, but I thought, “let me just try my card again.” IT WORKED!!! On the first try. I was so pissed. All in, this adventure cost us 45 minutes, which is a lifetime when you need to fix dinner for a hungry toddler.
But you know what? I won’t forget this week and all the firsts and lasts, the good and bad, the tears and laughter. This week has stories in it that I know will become a part of Margaret’s childhood story. It’s the week that Mommy cried and yelled. It’s the week that Margaret said goodbye to friends she’s had since she was a tiny baby. It’s the week we sold our house that we lovingly renovated and never thought we’d leave. It’s the week we prepared to move cross country to a new home and a different life. It’s a week that I didn’t think I could do what needed to be done, but I managed to somehow figure it out. Margaret acted like a crazy toddler, but she was also her normal funny and independent self. She snuggled with me tonight before going to bed and we read Madeline over and over again. The morning struggle was forgotten (sort of).
Motherhood is hard. This all goes for fathers, too. Just replace motherhood with fatherhood. Replace them both with parenthood. It doesn’t care when your patience is thin or worn out. It doesn’t care that you’re so tired your bones hurt. It doesn’t care that you need to keep a certain schedule. It’s doesn’t care that you just want to binge watch Netflix. And that’s OK (maybe not the Netflix part). From these hard times you get some amazing stories, and I’m sure they all get glossed with varying shades of humor as time goes on.
This week might have been rough, but it ended on an exciting note. In fact, given the week I had, I’d say that the release of I STILL Just Want to Pee Alone anthology today couldn’t have been better timing. Sometimes all you want to do is pee alone, but the universe and your kid is like, “nope, that’s not happening…ever.”
Check out this third volume in the New York Times bestselling series put together by Jen Mann of People I Want to Punch in the Throat! Do it. Sometimes it’s OK to tell the universe and your kid to back off. You’re having alone time to read a page turner and eat chocolate. If all else fails, tell your child what you’re reading is boring (it’s NOT!) and that your chocolate is medicine (I’m looking at you, Mom–I realize now that you were a genius). It’s filled with tales of motherhood at its most hilarious, honest, and heartwarming. There are 40 contributors (including me!!) that tell it like it is, and it’s often not pretty, but it makes for a hell of a story. For instance, the story of Margaret’s birth.
I know I mentioned all the talented contributors here, but here they are again. Check them out.
Jen Mann of People I Want to Punch in the Throat
Bethany Kriger Thies of Bad Parenting Moments
Kim Bongiorno of Let Me Start By Saying
Alyson Herzig of The Shitastrophy
JD Bailey of Honest Mom
Kathryn Leehane of Foxy Wine Pocket
Suzanne Fleet of Toulouse and Tonic
Nicole Leigh Shaw of Nicole Leigh Shaw, Tyop Aretist
Meredith Spidel of The Mom of the Year
Rebecca Gallagher of Frugalista Blog
Rita Templeton of Fighting off Frumpy
Darcy Perdu of So Then Stories
Christine Burke of Keeper of The Fruit Loops
Amy Flory of Funny Is Family
Robyn Welling of Hollow Tree Ventures
Sarah del Rio of est. 1975
Amanda Mushro of Questionable Choices in Parenting
Jennifer Hicks of Real Life Parenting
Courtney Fitzgerald of Our Small Moments
Lola Lolita of Sammiches and Psych Meds
Victoria Fedden of Wide Lawns and Narrow Minds
Keesha Beckford of Mom’s New Stage
Stacia Ellermeier of Dried-on Milk
Ashley Allen of Big Top Family
Meredith Bland of Pile of Babies
Harmony Hobbs of Modern Mommy Madness
Janel Mills of 649.133: Girls, the Care and Maintenance Of
Kim Forde of The Fordeville Diaries
Stacey Gill of One Funny Motha
Beth Caldwell of The Cult of Perfect Motherhood
Sarah Cottrell of Housewife Plus
Michelle Back of Mommy Back Talk (Yeah, yeah, this is me. Just a little shameless self-promotion.)
Tracy Sano of Tracy on the Rocks
Linda Roy of elleroy was here
Michelle Poston Combs of Rubber Shoes In Hell
Susan Lee Maccarelli of Pecked To Death By Chickens
Vicki Lesage of Life, Love, and Sarcasm in Paris
Kris Amels of Why, Mommy?
Mackenzie Cheeseman of Is there cheese in it?
Tracy DeBlois of Orange & Silver
Don’t forget to get your copy of this kick-ass book!