Yesterday’s rainy afternoon took us to Walmart; partially because we were out of fruit, but mostly because we needed an outing. Nap time for the almost 2-year-old was being put on hold to try to get on a better bedtime schedule (Summer has been terrible for schedules). Our aisle wandering finally took us to the toy section where the kids explored and pushed all the buttons, creating a chaotic, noisy section of the store. It was still rainy outside so I let them play for longer than usual, I was being a fun mom. There were a few tricycles out on display that my two little rugrats hopped on and started motoring around on. No one else was around, so I didn’t mind.
Eventually, all good things come to an end. In an explanation of how we needed to purchase our items, my 3-year-old happily hopped off the bike eager to help me push that cart- awesome. However, my son gripped the handlebars with all his might, wrapped his legs around the seat, and let out an ear popping squeal as I attempted to remove his tiny body from the metal frame. There were a few people around us at this point, and his apparent disapproval was gaining attention. Sometimes, almost 2-year-olds cannot be reasoned with. This was one of those times. Eventually, I pulled him free, stuck him in the seat of the cart and buckled him in; all highly protested. His tantrum accelerated, and shouts of “BIKE! RIDE BIKE!” in between his shrieks and yells were most likely heard in the far corners of the store.
I sighed. I was one of those moms today. I could either abandon my cart and head straight for the car or grin and bear it. So, I plastered a calm expression on my face. Each passerby either held an expression of annoyance or sympathy; I appreciated the latter. A kind grandmother-type woman tried in vain to distract him while I loaded the conveyor belt, and the cashier tried to make him laugh while I paid for my groceries. All very kind, but not much could be done.
All terrible things eventually come to an end. Once the groceries were put away in the trunk, the still screaming toddler shoved and buckled into his seat (his sister being ever so obedient the whole time), and a 20-minute continuation of the tantrum at home on a time out, peace emerged. I took another deep breath and thought to myself, “Motherhood is crummy.”
Motherhood is more than just the crummy stuff.
A few hours later at a church activity, another woman asked me “What’s it like being a mother?” My immediate and absent-minded response was, “It’s hard, wonderful, challenging, and beautiful: I love being a mother.” Nearly stunned by my own response my thoughts filtered back to the afternoon’s blow up; so quickly forgotten in my brief contemplation of motherhood. Some things, no, many things about motherhood are crummy. The sleepless nights, not peeing alone, constantly feeding hungry stomachs, trying to juggle 5 things at once, tantrums, and feeling like there is always more that should be done. However, there are wonderful and beautiful moments jammed in there as well; plenty of them.
When I pause and think about what its like to be a mother, a series of memories flash through my head; like a story on a photography reel. Flash one: a memory of holding them for the first time, fresh and sticky. Flash two: a snippet of their jokes and contagious giggles. Flash three: first steps or bravery with new things. Flash four: sweet little voices saying “I love you mommy”. There are so many flashes of wonderful stuff. Happiness surrounds me as I contemplate not only their growth but mine through our ups and downs.