I’ve been a lot of different moms this week.
Some of them, I’m more proud of than others. But it’s summer vacation. I’m home all day with four kids. And I don’t care if you have one kid or five, if it’s summer vacation or the busiest week of school if you’re on your own or you have people helping you, the ride of motherhood can spin you around so completely that you no longer have any idea who you are.
This week I’ve been the mom taking names and getting it done. I’ve paid the bills, opened savings accounts for college, and dealt with health insurance. I’ve taken four kids to the grocery store and even had them help me load and unpack the bags. I organized everyone’s clothes and donated gently used clothing that we’ve outgrown. I’ve helped the kids make banana bread and chocolate chip cookies and had the supplies so they could make art projects, crystals, and slime.
This week I’ve also been the hot mess mom. My four-year-old got frustrated with one of his dino toys and yelled, “dammit!” We ran out of diapers and milk. I left groceries all over the floor to feed a screaming newborn while my toddler took off her diaper and pooped on the family room rug. That same toddler fell off a chair. She was climbing and bit halfway through her tongue. Meanwhile, my oldest two still won’t stop spitting at each other, no matter how many times I yell.
This week I’ve been the fun, adventurous mom. We took a trip to the farm, had pizza on the beach for dinner, and went to the movies. We had McDonald’s for lunch, and I painted jewelry and dinosaurs on my kids’ arms. With the help of our neighbor, the older kids set up the lemonade stand they’ve been asking to do for ages. And one night, even though it was time for bed, I let everyone go to our neighbor’s inflatable pool to swim and throw water balloons.
This week I’ve also been the crabby mom. I went on a cleaning rampage before the family came to visit and threatened to throw away everyone’s toys. I’ve responded to the constant bickering and tattling with empty threats: “You’ll spend the rest of the day in your room” or “We’ll never do anything fun again!” I’ve resorted to swearing under my breath…and sometimes louder than that. I’ve yelled at my kids to hurry up, to move, and to pay attention because I’m frustrated by our consistently slow pace.
This week I’ve been too tired to care. I’ve let laundry pile up so that I can sneak in a nap while my newborn and toddler are sleeping. I’ve let the older kids watch more television than I usually would. I’ve let everyone help themselves to the juice boxes and snacks in the pantry rather than preparing them something healthier to eat. I’ve turned a blind eye to bad behavior rather than deal with discipline, and I’ve let my son wear his favorite outfit every day. I’ve ordered pizza instead of making dinner.
This week I’ve also been the mom that vowed to do better. I’ve stopped using my phone so much so that I’m setting a better example for my kids. I’ve chosen to read or play with my children instead of cleaning up all the time. I’ve chosen to feel less guilty for a messy home or full hamper so that I don’t become that insane, crabby mom again. As a family, we’ve made a practice of sharing what we enjoyed everyday and what we’re grateful for. This helps us all refocus after a long day. Basically, I’m working on focusing on what’s important and letting the rest go. I’m trying to teach my children to do the same.
Motherhood is wonderful, overwhelming, exciting, and utterly stressful in turn. It might turn you into someone you don’t even recognize anymore.
What kind of mom have you been this week?