No Room for Perfection

It was about two days into being a mother of two when I realized that I am not the parent I thought I’d be.

I always envisioned myself with a boy and a girl, but I never thought mothering them would be so demanding. I just assumed I’d float from one task to the next, taking care of my children’s needs and keeping them entertained with the magic and ease of Mary Poppins. But simultaneously caring for a newborn and a toddler has me in full-on survival mode. My younger, more vain self would be appalled at how often I look totally disheveled or leave the house without even checking the mirror.

In my head, my kids were always going to be perfectly dressed, nutritiously fed and the house, showroom ready.

In reality, I run around multitasking until I come inches from collapsing in exhaustion. I am at the beck and call of Cash and Ruby around the clock, fulfilling their every basic need and I still obsess over keeping a tidy home.

In my head, I would parent consistently with gentle discipline and turn tears and tantrums into giggles and guffaws.

In reality, my emotions swing to extremes I never thought imaginable from tearful frustration to astonishment to adoration. I submit quickly to loud demands to avoid confrontation and resort to silliness as a cheerful distraction.

There is just no room for perfection in parenting. I know this state of existence is temporary. No matter how different the real version of motherhood is compared to my ideal, I am still in awe and so proud that I made them and that they’re mine forever.


Near Misses

Childhood is filled with so many near misses, sometimes it's a wonder we make it through at all.

Dozens of times in any given week, Cash nearly slams his fingers in drawers, trips and flies forward or falls off the couch. I hold my breath, ready to react and usually...breathe a sigh of relief. Except for last week - a near miss turned out to be a hit.

Cash was running and tripped on his sandal, launching his face first into the corner of a table, just precisely at the right height to intersect with his mouth. With my shirt soaked in drool, blood and tears, I held him close and did everything I could to calm him down. After a half hour of no progress, I called for reinforcements and my husband came to our rescue, stranded at the mall with only a stroller and by this point, a second crying baby.

A compassionate onlooker asked if I needed help. At that moment, just that simple gesture of kindness from a stranger, caused me to burst out in tears making it totally obvious that I was just plain overwhelmed. Her eyes welled up a bit as I unleashed a terribly ugly cry. With all three of us crying, this stranger picked up my baby and calmed her down (and me too). I asked her a few questions to try to get to know this wonderful woman. Her name was Angelina and she was on her computer hunting for an apartment because she was moving back to the Milwaukee from Nashville. After a short conversation, I had pulled myself together and taken back my baby after a spewing a thousand thank-yous at Angelina.

By the time my husband picked us up and we got Cash home and in bed, he was just fine - no major damage to his mouth, just two chipped front teeth. Luckily, Cash is still able to eat strawberries (and everything else.) Even better is the assurance that there are so many incredibly kind people out there in my community and beyond. Thank you again sweet Angelina, I hope our paths cross again. If not, I promise to pay it forward.


Mom Life

Sometimes, I think, what happened to my life?

You get to a point in adulthood when you decide (or you just take the leap and don’t think it through, in my case) to sacrifice your free time and sanity to start a family. You experience highs and lows like a junkie – from exhaustion to euphoria. And you go back for more! You forget about the risks and the long, sleepless nights.

License to Chill

Never in my life would I have thought I’d call having a baby liberating. For the first six months, I felt like a slave to my precious and helpless little infant as the primary source of liquid nourishment. And now that he’s a toddler and eats any food in sight (with only five teeth!) I still lament being stuck at home from 6 PM on – chained to the kitchen sink or the couch out of pure exhaustion from chasing and cleaning up after him.