Motherhood is chaos.
No other faction of life can create such havoc inside one’s mind, of this I am sure. Within the span of 24 hours, I experience every emotion known to man, sometimes simultaneously.
I feel terror and frustration as my toddler makes a run for it, careening down the sidewalk as fast as her little legs will take her as I attempt to unload the groceries from the car. Anger at her blatant disregard for my instructions to walk directly to the front door. Understanding of the fact that she is driven to explore. Embarrassment over the fact that the neighbors quite likely heard my exclamation of “Damn it! Get back here!” as I chased my unruly child. And we won’t even talk about the ensuing tantrum when I dragged her back inside!
Later in the day I am visited by envy as I peruse my Facebook feed, bombarded by images of mothers who appear to have it all together. Disgust at the headlines that highlight the parents who harm their littles. Annoyance at the tiny hands that grab for my phone as I attempt to take 5 minutes to myself.
Exhaustion sets in as I stand over a hot stove, preparing the evening meal. I stare at the greasy meal I’, preparing and worry about whether or not I am providing a good enough diet. I notice smudges on the refrigerator door and chastise myself for not providing a clean enough environment. The worries dissipate as my toddler pops her head into the kitchen, proudly proclaiming, “Mommy, I pretty!”
Shock and wonder hit me as I realize that my child is buck-naked and covered head to toe in Vaseline. I could be mad about the mess, but the absurdity of the situation caused laughter to erupt from within. How did she even get that? It was on the top shelf! Why…?
After tossing her in the tub, I finish making dinner and we sit down to eat. Frustration returns as she tosses her food on the floor. Irritation takes over as I put her back in the bath to wash the food out of her hair. Annoyance hits like a ton of bricks after the 5th time of asking her not to dump water over the side of the tub.
Soon, all those negative feelings subside and I feel pride as she puts on her own pajamas. Amazement at how much of a big girl she has become. Joy as we read a book and sing a few songs. And love. All-encompassing, unrivaled love as we snuggle beneath the covers and her tiny hand strokes my face. She looks up at me with her big blue eyes and says, “Mommy, I love you.” Nostalgia comes in waves as I recall the day I brought her home. All her “firsts” pass through my mind, mixed in with many other happy scenes from her short little life.
Her eyes flutter closed and I am free to relax and reflect. The exhaustion I had felt before leaves my body and I walk around the house, picking up errant toys and random articles of clothing before collapsing onto the couch.
This motherhood thing is a crazy ride. No one warned me just how insane it would be. How could they have? The range of emotions a life with a little one can bring out is astonishing. One minute you want to tear your hair out and wonder why you ever decided to become a parent, and the next you’re filled with love and it all makes sense.
I think the key here is to embrace the crazy. Ride with it and let the lows bring out the highs. As fast as these two years have gone, I can safely assume the next 12 will fly by. My princess will be an adult before I know it and I’ll wish I’d been on the roller coaster of motherhood a bit longer.