When gushing about the magic of motherhood, you’ll hear a lot of clichés. For example, “These are the best years of your life!” and “Cherish every moment,” and “It goes by so quickly.” These usually come from people who are not mired in the quicksand that is early motherhood–their brains have already produced those chemicals necessary to wipe away the memory of days that lasted at least 36 hours or the way time seems to stretch nearly to snapping when a toddler is trying to put on a pair of pants. Our brains all produce these chemicals eventually, and they allow us to frame family stories under rose-colored glass, thus encouraging our children to reproduce, thus encouraging the continuation of the species. Thus another cliché, reconciling the two feelings: “The days are long but the years are short.”
But clichés–or any form of rhetoric, for that matter–don’t really help with the day-to-day frustrations of shepherding children through the many long days of development that lead to them becoming (I presume–I hope–I pray) real people, who can wipe their own bottoms and carry on conversations and shut themselves up in their rooms. That’s the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, but one pinprick of light can’t overpower the darkness. Luckily, there are bright spots along the way. Like:
- When you pull into the grocery store parking lot and another family is just unloading one of those truck-shaped carts your kids love to ride in, but never seem to be available when you need them, and you know you won’t have to spend half the trip explaining why you can’t always give them what they want, and why they have to ride in a regular cart or even (gasp!) walk on their own.
- When you’re unloading your fancy truck-shaped cart in the parking lot and some nice person shows up to relieve you of it, so you can buckle the kids in the car and drive off without having to worry about where to put it or whether it will fit in the already overloaded cart return, and you won’t have to suffer those thirty-four seconds when you wonder if someone’s going to call CPS because they see your kids sitting unattended in the car while you run across the parking lot to put the cart away.
- When you discover that the grocery store offers free fruit to keep little ones’ hands and mouths busy while you’re shopping.
- When you put your hard-to-train kid on the potty for a routine pee break and he just happens to poop in the toilet, whether he wants to or not.
- When your child falls asleep in front of the TV at just the right time, thus saving you the fuss and the fight over taking a nap.
- When your kids magically end up napping AT THE SAME TIME.
- When they’re learning to talk and half the words sound dirty. Giggles all around.
- When they start picking their own clothes and go with the adorable Christmas sweater/flowered shorts combo.
- When they dance.