I had it all planned out.
Peeper and I went to the Dollar Store for a special mama-daughter adventure. We got, among other things, an absurd number of heart balloons.
We made it home without any of the balloons floating away or causing a traffic accident. On the drive, I had told Peeper about how we’d take a picture with Kiwi and the balloons, and she could watch Daniel Tiger afterwards. (Yes, a blatant bribe. I stand by that tactic.)
So I set up the sisters with the balloons, turned on my camera and got ready to photograph some serious cuteness.
Peeper resisted. She flopped on her back. She cried. She squirmed away.
Peeper’s fit frightened her little sister, so Kiwi began to cry, too.
I gave up. I nearly cried. I did not feel like a good mother or even a good enough mother.
From bad to worse
Then Peeper knocked over her handmade change jar. Broken glass and pennies spilled everywhere.
As my mom tried to settle both girls’ meltdowns in the other room and I picked up shards of glass, I wondered—for probably the millionth time since Kiwi was born—why I bothered.
Just about every time I try to do something special with the girls, it ends in disaster: A painting project, a hike in the woods, a special trip to the play cafe, even bath time together lead to tantrums and tears.
The more I try to be a Good Mom, the worse I feel.
Maybe someday I’ll pull off a staged photo with my girls. But until then, I need to learn to settle—settle for the valentines without a photo of both girls together. Settle for days that string together without elaborate plans. Settle for being a good enough mother.