Motherhood is juggling five things at once while being told to look at the same magic trick 10 times and coming up with 10 different ways to express how cool it was.
It’s being asked to tie a balloon while driving or running in the store for one thing and spending more money and time than you had planned.
It’s the moment you get home and dig through a bag full of things to find your one item at the bottom.
It’s wondering how the instructions “don’t ask for anything in this store” are always misconstrued.
Motherhood is giving instructions to add the spaghetti sauce to a pan of ground beef while you step away for a second.
It’s forcing a smile when you return to the kitchen and see that the pot of boiling noodles is now completely red. It’s figuring out a way to make it work and ultimately naming it the best spaghetti you ever tasted.
Motherhood is creeping back into a quiet bedroom to steal a kiss because you were denied one at bedtime.
Motherhood is watching the grumpy little person sleep peacefully after going to sleep upset because somehow you’re the reason that bedtime is the same time that it has been all school year.
Motherhood is telling a good story and watching a pair of big brown eyes through the review mirror take it all in.
It’s approaching the railroad tracks and seeing those flashing red lights that we all love so much. It’s remembering the little voice in the backseat saying just the day before “we shouldn’t take a detour. Waiting is pretty peaceful.”
It’s laughing at the thought of taking the little one’s advice and waiting 13 minutes for the slowest moving train in history. Needless to say, a red slip was waiting at the door for us when we finally arrived at school.
Motherhood is taking a child’s advice every now and then. After school, I asked how she felt about receiving her first red slip. Her response: It didn’t matter. At least waiting for the train was peaceful. If only I could go about life the way my carefree 7-year-old does.
Motherhood is driving under a moving train and being instructed to make a wish.
It’s the tears that cloud your vision when you’re told after a two-minute moment of silence that she’s prayed for you and everyone in the entire world to have a good day.
It’s watching your children meet their goals and wiping their tears when they stumble along the way.
It’s watching them cry over a bad grade and secretly shedding your own tears when they stay up studying to assure that it never happens again.
Motherhood is them digging out a few shriveled up petals from the bottom of their book bag. They were plucked from a bush similar to the one that you pointed out and identified as your favorite flower bush on the way to school. Realizing that in her busy little mind, during her busiest time of the day, she spotted the same bush. The petals were placed carefully in her pocket and traveled all the way back to her classroom where she kept it safely in her book bag until the end of the day. The remains weren’t pretty, but the thought was beautiful.
Motherhood is giving yourself a pat on the back from time to time because you deserve it. You aren’t deserving because you ironed every single piece of clothing at the beginning of the week or because you cooked every single night from Sunday to Saturday.
Kudos to you if you’ve finally accepted the fact that it’s not the end of the world if you are exhausted and have managed to find an outfit that hasn’t been pressed and creased to perfection. You also won’t receive punishment from a mob of moms if you stopped to grab a hot-and-ready pizza on the way home because you couldn’t fathom the thought of standing up over the stove for 30 minutes or more.
Motherhood is wondering if you’re doing it right and being afraid to run out of time before you finally figure it all out.
Motherhood is forgiving yourself because you’re not perfect. It’s cutting yourself some slack because it takes a superwoman to play this role.
Motherhood is not about being the best mother you know but the best mother you know how to be.
Christine McCormick Cooper lives in Florence and is employed at PGBA. She enjoys spending time with her husband, teenage triplet sons and daughter. Contact her at email@example.com.