About me: I'm a 40-something mother to a pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our tween Junior, our 6-year-old Everett, our toddler Cam, and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). I'm a freelance graphic designer and writer.
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
I bet you can't guess what kind of Mother's Day I had from the tone of this post
My friend Andy fixed me up with one of her friends on Facebook.
"She has three boys, like you," Andy said. "And she's funny! You're perfect for each other. I told her about you too."
The next day, I friended the woman. And my friend was right: her friend Sarah was funny. Silly kid pictures, snarky comments, a gorgeous home. I liked seeing her updates—until a few weeks ago when she posted a day-in-the-life-of post, by the minutes. It went something like this:
8:33: Tried to get work done
8:43: Picked kid #2's gum off keyboard. Can't use space bar
8:53: Hit in head by toast thrown by kid #3
9:13: Cat threw up
9:22: Cable's out. Kid #3 drew on wall
9:45: Sitter threw up
9:52: Found kid #1 about to jump off bookcase
10:01: Ate old granola bar off floor
10:11-10:43: Tantrum hell with kids #1 and #3
10:52: Out of milk
11:01: Have I peed today?
11:10: Stepped on LEGO
11:22: Kid #2 won't nap!
And so on.
She stopped at noon.
The next day, she picked up at 12:15, and it was more of the same. She ended at 5 p.m.. The day after that, she detailed 5:15 p.m. to bed time.
People loved it. They ROFL and LMAO at it. They wanted more.
Me? I felt depressed by the insanity of it all. I could relate to everything; seeing it recounted item by item depressed the hell out of me.
The plain truth is that sometimes parenthood sounds horrible and is horrible. I'm still traumatized by a friend's description of the time all five—FIVE—of her kids had the stomach bug at the same time. Seriously, it makes me twitch just thinking about it. And I'll never forget the time I saw a child run screaming from his own birthday party at a park because he wanted to go to the water park across the lawn right then. The parents had the look of deer about to be creamed by a double-wide; again, I twitch just thinking about it.
Sure, we can try to laugh our way through it, but some days the sheer depth of what children need from us is—how do I say this?—well, it can make you feel like a mouse trying to suck Niagara Falls through a straw. The sheer bipolar nature of children is maddening. And hello, sometimes eating an old granola bar off the floor (or worse, someone's shirt) isn't funny because you realize Holy shit, I can't even meet my own basic needs—like going to the bathroom or eating something that's new.
My new Facebook friend Sarah ended her day three post at 8:45 p.m. with: Climbed into bed with kid #2, snuggled him and realized kisses make everything worth it."
I wanted to write "bullshit" or "yah, right." I wanted to tell her that her sappy and cliché ending reminded me of Cinderella or Snow White. Are kisses from your children really enough for a happily ever after? I mean, really?
Of course, since we had just started "dating" I didn't write anything. I liked her post, because yes, sometimes that stupid "like" button is validation that we're doing okay. That people find us funny. That we're not alone. That our mundane days have an over-arching meaning that we've yet to see with our own eyes. That our cats aren't the only ones vomiting. That our kids aren't wretched cretins. That granola bars have an exceptional shelf life.
Yes! The "like" button means all that.
Then, as I do most nights, I twitched myself to sleep.