All it took was a tidied kitchen with dishes cleaned and put away, a kitchen table set for a dinner that was already cooking in the crock pot, a quick run to Target for a few necessities, two loads of laundry nearly completed and a happily napping baby. Mom accomplished all of this before 9 a.m. the other day, in what I (as a key eyewitness) would argue as a successful feat of motherly multitasking.
I find there are days like that. When everything goes smoothly and everything that needs to happen happens without a hitch. The house is clean. The laundry is done. Dinner is accounted for. Work gets done. Everyone is happy.
Today was not one of those days.
It all started with a “spill-proof” snack cup. I never knew there was such a thing, but apparently the idea is for a toddler like dear baby Carter to help himself to a variety of handheld treats in a neat and orderly fashion. Much to my snacking pleasure, that idea couldn’t be farther from reality. In a matter of about 90 seconds, the “spill-proof” container of snacks evolved into a sea of doggie snack goodness all over the carpet. And that was only the beginning. Within another few minutes, I couldn’t believe what I watched unfold before my eyes.
Toys were everywhere in various states of torn apart distress. Containers of baby bath soap and lotion were strewn about in hallways and bedrooms. Garbage cans, laundry baskets and cabinets were emptied in a way that created a minefield of everything from dirty underwear and peanut butter jars to tupperware lids and canned tomatoes. No room was safe from the tiny toddler tornado known as dear Carter, who (by the way) was a happy little camper about what he managed to accomplish in such a short period of time.
I knew we were in trouble when I saw it. Mom consciously decided not to address every little thing as it happened like she usually does. It was like a switch went off in her mind or something. It was like she was paralyzed. And all she could do was cry.
Because today was not one of those days.
The house was in a worse state than I think I’ve ever seen it. Dirty dishes were piled up in the sink. A forgotten load of laundry was developing some sort of unfamiliar stench in the washing machine. Dinner was destined to be takeout again. Work was not getting done. And soon there will be two tiny toddler tornadoes around here.
It took an intervention from some very special loved ones for her to realize it. Not every day is going to be a good day. The supermom cape doesn’t have magic powers. But somehow you just do it. You figure it out. You “mommy up.” You put on your big girl panties and move on with life.
They are skitchy and uncomfortable sometimes. And they’re certainly nothing to look at. But somehow making that decision to put aside the tears and power through seems to provide the boost you need to survive a day like today. That, and the strength you gain from knowing you (and your big girl panties) are never as alone as you may feel.