Spending long days with a toddler is magical and mundane, easy-peasy and back-breaking, tender and maddening. It involves deep breaths, deep belly laughs, and a shit-ton of bending over. You don't realize how much you need a break until you have one. I seem to have perpetually ambitious plans for Lou's nap times when instead, I mostly just stare at a wall and try to shove some food near my mouth. When he wakes, I feel the familiar squeeze of never having enough time to myself, but then I can't get in his room fast enough to see his little sleepy elfin face, smiling at me from behind the pacifier.
It's so personal and yet so universal, this motherhood. Here you are, experiencing it for the first time, watching it continue to grow your heart and smash your former life into a zillion pieces (for better or for worse). It feels so novel and remarkable, yet everyone else who has been there already is like yep. We know. A mom-friend recently said it's probably the hardest job in the world, but just about everyone does it so it's not recognized as being that remarkable or difficult. At the time, that felt super deep, sorta sad and wicked true. (We were well into a bottle of Rosé, and both being actresses, things perhaps got dramatic.) My takeaway (once the Rosé wore off) was this: No one but you as a parent really cares about the darling, special things your precious snowflake is doing moment-to-moment, and the corresponding joy you experience. And by the same token, no one but you really knows how hard your version of it is, what your unique struggle is. So it gets to be deeply meaningful and personal to you, which is wonderful if you honor it as such. (And quite rare in this day/age of social media oversharing.)
The paradox? Even if you don't know the exact unique joys and sorrows of another, this parenthood life manages to elicit a tremendous amount of compassion for other moms and dads. If you let it, your heart can be soft and melty. And wouldn't the world be nicer if we were all a little softer and meltier?
If I was really on top of things, I'd now introduce a fondue recipe. Alas, I am not on top of things to that degree. Instead, I offer you a media overshare:
I wrote this and The Huffington Post published it: Haiku For Moms of Small Children
Happy Weekend with love,