Take a sample of parenting blogs out there and you’ll read a lot of bloopers.
We mothers, especially, are quick to point out our failings and our foibles. Perhaps it’s easier (or more cathartic) to confess the time you melted a Tupperware lid in the dishwasher, causing poisonous fumes to fill the apartment, than it is to reflect on the millions of other times you scrubbed plates clean without incident. After all, washing the dishes without a hitch—or, for that matter, the millions of unremarkable moments of motherhood—aren’t particularly newsy.
But in anticipation of Mother’s Day (coming up this Sunday for anyone who’s forgotten!), I’m stepping out of the self-deprecating, self-questioning rut I sometimes fall into.
I’m celebrating what a wonderful mother I am.
Here, then, are ten aspects of motherhood I totally have down.
- Making up songs. Peeper loves hearing me sing, and she requests musical accompaniment to just about everything we do. Sometimes—especially if I know she’ll ask for “Hush Little Baby” yet again if I ask what she wants to hear—I’ll wing it. I’ll create lyrics about something we’re doing (putting on a diaper or swinging at the park, it doesn’t matter) and pair them with a familiar or made-up tune.
Sometimes my ditties are duds and Peeper stops me mid-tune; other ones have become as familiar as “Old MacDonald” or “Twinkle Twinkle.” I may sound ridiculous, but I don’t care. Peeper loves it.
- Not laughing during wind-down. I have Peeper’s pre-bed routine down to a science. Milk, three books, two songs, crib. I rarely deviate from our pattern.
Peeper’s mood is a little less consistent. Sometimes she’s sleepy and just lies on me as I rock; rarely she drifts off to sleep in my arms. Other times, she is silly.
Lately, she holds her face an inch from mine and breathes onto my mouth. Is it practice for prank calls? Or something else? Regardless, she cracks herself up. But I don’t laugh.
I wasn’t always this restrained. When she was younger, she would act cuckoo and pull back to look at me, waiting for my reaction. The fits of laughter would tack a half-hour onto her wind-down time, and sometimes our giggle sessions would wake her up too much to nap at all. I count it a fairly major triumph that I can get her into bed, silliness or no.
- Getting outside. If the weather’s decent—and pretty often if it’s not—you can find us outdoors. We hike every weekend and frequently during the week, too, exploring the many trails around our home.
Peeper loves the great outdoors already. She runs ahead on the path, points out the sights she sees (“Found some lichen!”) and asks to “fly” over patches of mud. It makes me so happy that we’re raising a little forest fairy—at least if fairies wear Boggs and bandanas and carry big sticks.
- Multitasking. Peeper still loves to be held, especially if she’s cranky or hungry, which means I do a lot with only one arm free. Pouring milk into a sippy while holding her? Piece of cake. Making a peanut butter sandwich with a monkey clinging to my side? A little tougher, but manageable. Feeding Peeper lunch while drawing pout pout fish and reading her a book and spooning the occasional bite of food into my own mouth? This is my life.
- Not caring about dirt. As a species, humans have a finite number of effs to give. (This, I’m pretty sure, is scientifically proven fact.) As a mother, many of my effs are taken up with really important stuff—making sure my kid doesn’t drown in the bath, say, or making sure she eats vegetables every day.
That leaves precisely zero effs for dirt.
I don’t care, then, when Peeper makes a game of throwing dirt when we’re out on a walk, even if half of it ends up in her hair. And all those stains from sitting down in a pile of rocks or biffing it on the trail? Oh well.
Those family mottoes you see framed on your friend’s walls? You know, things like “Love, life, live” or “Family is forever”? Well, mine is “Dirt won’t hurt.”
- The stand-up diaper change. These days we roll with a pared down diaper bag, and that sometimes means I forget the pad I’d lay on a changing table in a public restroom. Well, not to worry! Peeper and I have the stand-up diaper change nailed.
- Kissing it better. When you’re two feet tall, your feet gain about an inch of clearance and you think everything worth doing is worth doing at a run, you fall. A lot.
Peeper, then, ends up with her fair share of bumps and bruises. Thankfully, she comes to me to kiss them better.
Even when one kiss isn’t enough, a kiss plus snuggle plus song will usually calm her crying before too long.
I relish these chances to comfort my daughter. It won’t always be the case that I can make her feel better.
If only all her hurts could stay as simple as a scraped knee.
- Falling asleep early. Raising a toddler while a bun grows in my oven is exhausting. Thankfully, I have no qualms—and usually no problems—with turning in early.
I got a lot of practice with this when Peeper was little. I would go to sleep when she did, not minding that my new 8pm bedtime was a bit crazy.
These days I don’t hit the hay quite that early, but I don’t torture myself by staying up just a little later to finish those emails or wipe the counters or take a shower. I just make peace with a dirty kitchen and hairy legs and get the heck to sleep.
- Doing the voices in books. I’m not going to start a career in voice acting anytime soon, but when it comes to doing the different voices in Peeper’s books, I’m a pro.
- Loving my family. Ok, this one’s kind of a cheat because it’s so easy. But I’m really, really, really good at loving the kooky collection of characters I call my own.