These are unprecedented times. I generally have a significant amount of grace for myself, my daughter, my husband, and anyone else I come in contact with. Life is weird, and hard right now. It’s uncomfortable. There’s no end in sight and we truly don’t know when this is over or how much longer we have to do this. I can’t make a countdown chain to help us visualize the end, nor is there the accompanying joy that comes with tearing one of those colorful strips of paper off as we celebrate being one day closer.
There is no end. That fact right there → I think that is where the grace wore out, that that’s the one that finally broke me.
Today, I hope you read this story and walk away encouraged. I hope that my epic failings as a mama make you feel a little bit better about your own. I hope that next time you find yourself losing your cool, you remember ‘Jenn and the fake poop’ and you remember that you’re doing ok.
Maybe even better than ok.
Can I be vulnerable for a minute? I debated sharing this story with you. It casts me in a less than stellar light. It shows my failings as a mama and a wife. It reveals my lack of a sense of humor, my short fuse, and my lack of self control. But what’s the point of a blog that only shares the rosy side? Why bother telling you how to entertain your kid on day 100 of quarantine or share the recipe for the most perfect sugar cookies you will ever make (these really are the most perfect ones. Stop baking any other ones, this is the recipe that you need) if we don’t share the other side too?
We’re not super moms over here, who have our ish together everyday. We’re more like perfectly average moms who have our ish together…once in a while.
So please keep your personal judgements in check as I get a little bit real, honest, and vulnerable here with you, okay? I’m just as much a real person as you – I’m just baring it all on the internet to help y’all feel a little bit better about yourself, m’kay?
First, let me set the scene for you at our house right now. It probably looks an awful lot like yours right now too. My husband is working from home and he stays holed up in the basement bedroom all day, every day. He has a folding table and a rocking chair for furniture in there. It is less than ideal, but it’s most everyone’s reality right now. Of course, Reese’s playroom is in the basement also. Every toy she owns is right outside his bedroom door – the bedroom where he takes 16 Zoom calls and 4 Microsoft team calls every day. You can probably imagine how well that is going. Basically, I spend all day trying to keep Reese from stomping around like an angry dinosaur upstairs and barring her entrance to the downstairs. It’s a losing battle y’all. Also, the TV is downstairs. What’s a mama to do?
As for me, I’m currently laid off. So yay, I don’t have an actual job to focus on all day, but boo, because that makes me feel like garbage. And it means that I should be able to give 110% to being a stay at home mom, wife, teacher, housekeeper, and personal chef. That’s what I tell myself anyways. It’s a lie though. I’d rather be at work. I’m better when I work outside of the home. It is something that I do for me. It fills my cup. I have a deep need to be busy and feel productive. Staying at home doesn’t do much for my mental health. So, let’s just sum it up by saying I am not at my best right now. Not even close. But…neither are you, right?!
Okay, so, the scene is set. You can see that I’m a little bit weary. You are probably (hopefully) nodding your head yes, because you, mama, you are there too. So again I ask you, please be kind when you read what comes next. I was a weary broken mama, clearly done.
The whole day was tough. Reese, bless her heart, is an only child. And since daddy is in the office working all day, that leaves me, just me, as her sole companion, playmate, and best (worst) of all, the ONLY PERSON SHE CAN TALK TO. Me, the woman who misses her quiet, her thoughts, her ability to finish something without being interrupted. That space currently doesn’t exist, and if I hear ‘hey mom’ one more time, I might, I might…oh, just keep reading.
I knew I was in a bad head space. I took some time alone in my room, with the door closed and strict instructions for Reese not to enter unless it was a real honest to God emergency. I’d at least like to give myself a few gold stars for recognizing that I was fragile and that I needed some space, that there was some bit of emotional intelligence in me somewhere.
All that to say, we made it through the day. I rallied and made dinner, got laundry in the washer and got it moved over to the dryer, cleaned up dinner, and finally, finally got that girl in bed. All that was left between me and my own bedtime was a clean load of laundry waiting to be folded. I dutifully began folding that laundry, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw this…
And friends, that was it. It broke me. It was the proverbial last straw that broke the camel’s back – but in this case, it was the fake poop that broke the mama’s back. I am completely ashamed to admit it, but I lost my $h*t. I went bonkers. I grabbed that pile of fake poop and marched into Reese’s room and just started hollering. Then I started crying.
Asking why no one could see how hard mama was working? Why couldn’t anyone see how hard I was trying? Why, why, why?
Reese didn’t know what to say or do (I mean, who would when there is a lunatic in your room holding a piece of fake poop, screaming and crying at the same time?). Defeated, I walked the three steps from her room back to my room to finish folding that damn pile of laundry. And do you know what I found there?
My husband – laughing. And that? Well, I guess that was the final-final straw. That was the true back-breaker. With all the rage I could muster, and before I could even think about it, something really, really bad slipped out of my mouth. Just two words, dripping with venom. I looked straight into the baby blue eyes of my laughing husband and said “Fuck you.” Reese 100% heard me.
Thankfully, she was smart enough not to say a word and my husband was smart enough to leave our room. I then had myself a good rage-filled cry while I finished folding the laundry before putting myself to bed at 8pm.
In the morning, as all things usually are, everything was forgiven. I could laugh about the poop and my dirty mouth with my sisters, as well as encourage them that they could always be worse mothers. Always. I was the gold-star standard for bad mothers that day and they didn’t need to feel worried at all about sending their girls to their room for time out. Or for hiding in the bathroom with a bag of chocolate covered pretzels.
We’re all doing our best to survive right now. This season of being mom, teacher, speech therapist, chef, housekeeper, friend, pastor, etc etc etc is really hard. None of us can do all those roles well all of the time. And that’s ok. Every morning we get new starts. We begin again. There’s grace.
If nothing else, I hope this made you laugh a little. And honestly, I hope it made you feel A LOT better about your mothering. No doubt about it, you are doing better than me.
P.S. These 17 Hilarious Tweets From Parents During Covid-19 Quarantine are cracking us up. This is hard. But we are clearly not alone.