No one warned me that so much of motherhood would be lost in the minutia. Before my kids were born, I imagined myself gleefully spending my days playing with them, feeding them, doting on them, and teaching them. And while yes, that happens (in those glorious moments between all the muck and mire of my days), so much of my time is spent performing an endless number of tasks.
Some of these tasks I have to perform — while tedious in nature — really are bundled up in love and joy. Things like carrying my kids around; putting them to sleep (even when it takes 300 years); playing the same make-believe game over and over; listening to their never-ending stories and laundry list of questions — these all make me happy most of the time. And as hard as certain parenting moments can be, I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I would wipe a million of my kids’ tears away, any time, anywhere. And I always want to be the one to help them through their biggest, hardest feelings and struggles.
So yes, when my kids are big and grown, there is certainly a lot that I’ll miss — even the hard stuff. But some of it … well, no matter what you say, there are some tasks there is no way in hell I will miss. None of us will.
I’m talking about things including but not limited to:
- Cleaning poop out of a potty. (Really, I’d rather deal with a diaper blow-out any day over physically removing poop from a potty.)
- Cleaning poop out of the bath (a close rival of No. 1).
- Strapping squirmy, protesting toddlers into car seats.
- Standing in sub-zero temperatures while “curious” toddlers jump all around the car and refuse to get out.
- Picking each and every one of those “little hairs” off their oranges before they’re deemed acceptable to eat.
- Peeling crusts off perfectly good bread.
- Pinching “weird green things” off my kids’ food. (Dear kids: they’re called spices and they are YUMMY.)
- Picking up dirty socks and underwear off the floor 10 zillion times a day.
- Listening to the play-by-play of what my kid did on Minecraft that day. (It’s a world made of blocks, kid; and I hate to break it, but it’s not even real.)
- Cleaning out messy, crumbly, and impossibly sticky lunch boxes.
- Cleaning up LEGOs (which always involves me stepping on one or more ridiculously tiny pieces — and mutilating my heels).
- Negotiating with toddlers, preschoolers, or grade schoolers over anything and everything. (How can such tiny people have such strong and LOUD opinions?)
- Walking into a store with my kids and not realizing that the store has five aisles of candy. FIVE AISLES. (Really, these things should be clearly advertised.)
- Running errands, trying to shop for clothes, going to the freaking library — really, just going anywhere with my kids, where the goal is to leave with anything of use in a reasonable amount of time.
- And while we’re on the subject of being on time: Just trying to get out of the house on time with kids is like my worst nightmare. And yet I have to do it Every. Single. Morning.
- Brushing a toddler’s teeth. Ouch! (I am talking about my fingers, which inevitably fall victim to random bites.)
- Asking a child to wash his or her own hands. Asking a child to hang up his coat. Asking a child to do anything.
- Cleaning puke off of myself, the sheets, and my children at 3 AM. (Ditto for pee.)
- Cleaning pee off the toilet seat.
- Cleaning pee off the bathroom floor.
- Did I mention THE PEE? (Moms of boys, you know what I’m talking about here.)
Call me naïve, but going into parenthood, I didn’t realize that such little people would have such big needs, and be so helpless to perform the most basic tasks themselves. Much as I love my kids, I sure am looking forward to a few years from now, when they’re are a little older, and can take care of themselves more efficiently.
Of course, the Catch-22 to all of this is that they will need to grow up in the process — and I am SO not ready for that. When I look at their sweet faces, and cuddle them in my arms, I want more than anything to freeze time.
Clearly, I can’t have it all; at least not all at once. Still, I wouldn’t mind if they could just get their puke and pee in the toilet … (Too much to ask?)More On