The other day, I had just finished cleaning up after my tornado of a daughter, made a delicious one pot spaghetti dinner I had found on Pinterest, cleaned up the kitchen, and finally got to taste my pasta creation, twenty minutes after everyone had already started. As I sat down, for probably the first time all day, I let out a huge sigh. It was as if the relief my feet were getting somehow had escaped my soles and made its way up my body and out of my mouth. Yes, today we were eating in front of the television, which I was not happy about, but we had gotten home late from practice and my daughter politely asked to watch one of her favorite shows. You choose your battles.
So, there were were. I looked around at all of the empty plates and then down at my very full plate. I always seemed to be the last one to eat. As I picked up my fork and began to twirl my pasta, my daughter decided that sitting on her mom’s lap, while I held a very full plate of spaghetti, seemed like a good idea. As she crawled across my lap, taking the longest and most difficult route, her bony knees kneading my thighs, her elbow suddenly found its way deep between my rib cage and my gut. As I let out a huge “OW” and almost dropped that very full plate of spaghetti, my daughter turned and looked at me, finally comfortable, and said “Aww, take it like a mom!” As I stared at her, puzzled at how she even came up with this remark, I began to laugh.
Take it like a mom. She was right. As a mom, we take a lot of elbows to the gut. In fact, life can often feel like a constant elbow to the gut and we simply take it. Every minute of every day. Schedules, tantrums, diets, cleaning, budgeting, time itself. My little seven year old was on to something. She is far wiser than her years. So I started to think. How do you take it like a mom? I’ve heard the saying “Take it like a man”, but that seemed trivial. (No, I am not here to bash men or to say that what they do isn’t as important as the role of a mother. It is simply different.) I love my husband and know for a fact he takes a lot with his job. But as a mom, we take a lot from every angle. We take it like a mom by painting fingers and toes just to watch them pick them off ten minutes later. We take it like a mom by making dinner only to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich because the chicken has too much speckles (pepper). We take it like a mom by trying to squeeze out the logic, the to-do list, the stress, from our brains for just ten minutes so we can pretend to be jungle animals in the grass in the back yard. We take it like a mom all day long. We answer the same question 100 times, 100 different ways because explaining why the sky is blue the first 99 times didn’t work. We listen to Frozen’s “Let It Go” so many times we hear it playing even when the song isn’t on. We listen to the temper tantrum of our screaming children because they can’t have the toy they wanted because it is not in the budget this month and they don’t understand why you can’t just go to the magic machine that just gives you money. And then, on top of all of this, we have to be human beings. We have to shower, clean, do laundry, work, use the bathroom, love our husbands, and even be social. It’s a lot of work. I mean A LOT of work.
So, how do you take it like a mom? You laugh; don’t take life too seriously. Your kids won’t care why the sky is blue, or want to crawl around in the grass pretending to be a snake forever. So stop. Clean the house later. Make the grocery list later. Do the laundry later. Play and laugh…a lot. Breathe; when life feels like an elbow to the gut, just breathe. Regain composure. It will work itself out and if not, just know you have to tools to figure it out. You’re a mom for pete’s sake! You have changed a poopy diaper in the tiny compartment of an airplane, pushed through the pain of a tingly, dead arm, to feed a bottle to your baby while driving, and have managed to keep fifteen 3 year olds happy at your child’s third birthday while waiting for the jumper to arrive. Look around; stare at those beautiful faces of your babies you worked so hard to have. Stare at their cute smiles, their messy hair, their tiny freckles. And know that they are the reason you keep going. They are why you do this. Life sucks sometimes. It gets overwhelming and chaotic. But take a moment to remind yourself that you can do this. They are why you do this. Know you are amazing. It takes a special person to be a mom. I am amazed by all of you. So, keep doing what you’re doing. Keep loving your kids to the moon and back. You can never be reminded enough! And most importantly…Keep taking it like a mom!