One of Those Days
It had been a particularly trying day. You know the kind. The ones where everyone spills their breakfast and then someone poops on the floor, and then while you're still busy cleaning that up, someone else writes on the chair with permanent marker. If this doesn't sound familiar to you, you probably don't have three kids under 5. I do.
I furiously worked to get it cleaned up, shouting at them as I went. How was I supposed to catch up? How was I supposed to keep a clean house? How could anyone possibly do this? I was flustered, and angry and frustrated. I felt like I was drowning in my home. I continued on, laundry, dishes, lunch, dishes again, cleaning the floors, changing diapers... I became more tired, and angry, and frustrated as I went. How was I supposed to do this every day? How could I ever be the perfect mom I dreamed of being? This was not what I signed up for. This is not what I'd pictured.
I wanted to quit. I wanted to throw in the towel and walk away from it all. No one even noticed that I was working myself to death. No one even cared. I was just expected to soldier on, working every second, cooking every meal, filling every cup and every need, with nothing as much as a thank you. It just wasn't worth it. I felt empty and alone. Why do I do this anyway? Maybe it was time to go back to work. I could put them in daycare, and get a break. I could get a “real job” with recognition, and pay, and respect, and sane conversations with real live grown-ups...
That’s when it happened. Aidan, arguably my most challenging child, ran into the room. Eyes dancing, face beaming he smiled at me a huge smile that could melt a hundred hearts. He gently placed both of his chubby little hands on my face, pulled me close, and kissed me on the lips. “I love you mommy.” He whispered, and stroked my cheek. My heart swooned. I melted. My arms wrapped around him and all the anger and hurt and sadness vanished into the pool of a little boy's love.
This was why. Why I stayed when I wanted to go. Why I loved when I wanted to scream. Why I gave up my old dreams of a career, and made new ones filled with finger paint and picture books. Because of these tiny hands that held me tight.
Noticing they were missing out, the girls flooded into the room. “Sandwich hug” Maya screamed, giggling and hugging us with all her might, baby Ava right behind her grabbed onto my leg smiling and saying “mama mama” and in that moment, I knew I was where I belonged. I was theirs and they were mine. We were all in this together, learning how to love. One trying day at a time.