This morning I woke up early to make steel-cut oatmeal with homemade applesauce. I spooned it into pretty bowls, played the “Moana” soundtrack and tried hard to listen to my kids for the entire drive to school.
Yesterday, I made pink homemade bubble solution and watched all the “tricks” the kids wanted to show me; a bubble stacked on a bubble, a bubble inside another bubble and “look there’s a mosquito inside a bubble!” (That one was impressive).
These were premeditated mothering moments.
I don’t dislike doing these things for my kiddos. Not at all. I’m just finding I must “manufacture” them more than I used to. I don’t have the kind of mental and emotional energy I had for entertaining my kids. It’s not “spontaneous” anymore.
I plan these moments out now and make deals with myself.
Be a patient, good mother all morning and when you get back home you can stare out the window for 30 minutes.
Play three games of Sorry! after homework, then you can make the kids play outside and listen to your audiobook while cooking dinner.
These deals keep me going, because motherhood is hard and I don’t want to share my candy or my blanket.
I don’t want to hear how unfair everything in the world is, how blobfish are the ugliest creatures on earth, every detail of a dream which includes the phrase “and for some random reason” about a thousand times, how adorable sugar gliders are and the life-changing effect a giant pogo stick would have on our family.
I just want to sit in silence and do what I want.
So, I do extra things when I can muster it up and make deals to push myself. I cut sandwiches into hearts. I fill hot water bottles up before bed. I massage their feet. I listen to the same story over and over.
Sometimes I’m rewarded with moments of pure motherhood bliss.
When my girl puts her hand on my chest because, “I can feel the warmth of your heart momma.” Swoon.
When my boy curls up in my chair, and I rub his head, and he coos the same sound he has made since he was an infant. Nothing better.
But then there are the moments when they are so loud, I can’t even breath. When the sound of their voices, even in play, makes me want to scream.
Yesterday, I read the same paragraph 15 times because the kids were laughing so loud I couldn’t comprehend the words in front of me.
They run by as squirrels, bears, monsters, quickly morphing from one to the next effortlessly with a kind of unhinged glee I can’t ever remember feeling.
They tear things out of every cupboard to make elaborate costumes, forts and lands, in an endless game of pretend which leaves me feeling dizzy with the speed and ferocity of it all.
Don’t you guys want to watch some TV?
Did I just say that?
Yes, I did.
I am turning 40 years old in April and I think I’m having a stereotypical freak-out. I don’t want to. I keep telling myself, it’s a number and it means nothing.
But, shit, I still have so much stuff to do.
I was supposed to have written lots of books by now, have tons of friends, explored castles and be a serious grownup.
I still sneak candy, forget to brush my teeth and don’t like vegetables (I only pretend to so my kids will eat them). I wear all black like a moody teenager, love Harry Potter, cry when I’m disappointed and don’t know what I’m doing.
When I pay bills and taxes I feel my age. When my back hurts after scrubbing the tub or my hand hurts from sleeping on it wrong, I think maybe this is adult life.
But, I don’t feel like an adult.
Maybe I never well.
I’m just Bridgette, and maybe accepting all my contradictions is the most grownup thing I can do.