These past few months, blogging has been a struggle. All of the things that feed me creatively and inspire me to write have been missing. We’ve been too busy to cook, too tired to drink, too overwhelmed to do much of anything besides work. Also, it was tough to keep the news of the new store in the South End under wraps. Even though most of you know by now that we are opening a second store, we’re not ready to spill all the beans until our two-year anniversary party on June 11th, so there’s not even much I can share there at the moment. The process of opening a second store is in itself hugely creative and rewarding, but at the moment we’re in the soul-sucking phase. Permits, approvals – it’s hard to find blog inspiration in the trials and tribulations of SBA paperwork.
It’s hard to admit, but the least inspiring of all the hats I wear at the moment is motherhood. Cue the guilt – my kids are sort of a grind at the moment, cute as they may be. The end of school is coming and they are both bonkers. Noah, always a little prone to anxiety, is freaking out about Kindergarten and has turned into a sulky adolescent overnight. Foot-stomping, eye-rolling, door-slamming and endless tears (ENDLESS) make me wonder what, exactly, is going on inside that little body. He is disobeying at every turn, doesn’t respond when you say good morning, takes 20 minutes to put his shoes on, and is generally acting like the snottiest kid on earth.
Meanwhile, Jason, prone to temper tantrums, has discovered a backbone of steel that no one can bend. Today at school, he misbehaved at “fitness” and wasn’t given a treat out of the treasure box like the kids who did behave. He simultaneously had a temper tantrum, threw sand, screamed, and wet his pants all at the same time. That takes serious talent and conviction. The rest of his time is spent pushing his older brother’s buttons, resulting in – you got it – tears, eye-rolling, foot-stomping and door-slamming. It’s been pretty fun around here.
It’s hard to admit it when you’re in a phase where your kids are driving you nuts. It’s even harder when the water cooler topic du jour is whether or not you’re “Mom Enough.” I came to grips long ago with the fact that I am, in fact, NOT mom enough. Not only am I not a SuperMom, some days I’m not even sure I am a super mom. Instead, I strive to be a “good enough mother.” Although this phrase sounds like you’re giving up, I find it freeing. It means there are some days when I break out the arts and crafts, and there are some days when I break out the remote control. It means that some days there are two vegetables on the dinner table. Some days there are french fries. Some days I count the tomato sauce on the pizza as a vegetable, just like the FDA. Some days they have clean pajamas on clean bodies. Many, many days, they are a little stinky when they go to bed. I count among one of my life’s greatest accomplishments the fact that I have managed to keep Jason’s frog lovey intact despite: it getting lost in the middle of Boston overnight, having endless amounts of dirt and food ground into it, and having its face burned off in a freak accident. I do not have a back-up frog lovey, but I have been meaning to get one for nearly three years now.
To me, being a good enough mother means that you must stop and periodically thank the many people that are helping you fill in the blanks. I’d be sunk without the stay at home moms who routinely pick up the slack for me in every way. Daily, I wish I could be more of a stay at home mom and be the one to host the play dates. But for right now, I cherish the women who pick my kids up from school, give them snacks, and let them strew toys all over their houses. I appreciate that they send me texts reminding me to fill out permission slips or get birthday presents. I would literally be lost without them.
I appreciate – so much appreciate – the pack of young women who have babysat for my kids, each one bringing their own unique spunk to my home. These girls have so much energy for my kids. Even though it kills me just a little, it gives me the greatest joy to hear them giggling together when they share a joke, or to see them from my office window as they scooter down the side walk. I know these women are enriching the lives of my children, and that is such a gift.
I’m thankful to my family – my parents who stop by and read books, my mom who cooks for us when they’re in town, my sister-in-law who sends me recall notices that she knows I won’t see and acts, in every way, like a sister wife when our families are together. And my cousin, a great mom, who walked the aisles of Brimfield with me on Friday listening as I lamented, all the while making patient recommendations (“have you tried giving choices?”). I may have gotten the flowers and chocolates on Mother’s Day, but all these people need be thanked too – they help me to be a good enough mother.
These days, in the moments that haven’t been so inspiring, I’ve found some love and peace in the natural ebb and flow of being a family. My kids aren’t thrilling me or thrilled by me at the moment, but they’ve started appearing at 6 AM every morning, their arms filled with stuffed animals and their eyes still sleepy, to crawl silently into bed for a cuddle. Sometimes it’s for five minutes, sometimes it’s for thirty. It’s as much time as they need to reconnect and know that they are my world.
So am I mom enough? Hell no. But am I good enough? I think I am, and I think every mom I know is too, despite the inadequacies we may feel at any given moment as we parent.
Happy belated mother’s day to every mother I know or who reads this blog. Together, we’re good enough.