The Days that Try Moms’ Souls

Today has been One of Those Days. It involved a toddler with a cold, whose behavior devolved into a string of deliberately defiant activities: rubbing yogurt in his hair, throwing his ball inside, eating Play-dough. It involved a two-month-old with a truly impressive poop, one that registered at least 6.0 on the Richter Scale and caused a spreading yellow stain on his sleeper. It’s oddly fascinating, the ability of infant poop to actually crawl UP a child’s back. I never know this could happen until I had kids.

It’s also about 79 degrees out, in November. That’s ridiculous, even for California. My thoughts turned to the melting polar ice caps, which is not exactly a moodlifter.

And, just to make the day really festive, I was sorting laundry in the kitchen when I smelled burning. Nothing was on the stove or in the oven. A brief investigation confirmed that it was, oddly, the dishwasher, which I promptly turned off. I now know what my husband and I will be doing with our Saturday morning. It will involve Sears, and a large outlay of cash.

What was my response to all of this? It was the compulsive eating of candy corn, which I don’t recommend as a coping mechanism. Far more helpful was the phone call from my mom, which fortituously occurred right after the dishwasher incident. “How are things going?” she asked innocently, whereupon I unloaded every bit of my frustration — the toddler defiance, the disgusting poop, the impromptu bath, the stacks of dishes now waiting to be washed by hand.

She listened and was utterly sympathetic. She did not say — as she could’ve — “Oh, you and your sister were every bit as frustrating when you were young.” She let me vent, and in so doing, took some of the teeth out of my nasty mood. And it occurred to me that this is what moms DO; they help lift some of the burden. They resist the temptation to make it about them, and they listen as if their kids’ dramas are every bit as earth-shattering as we make them sound. They help their kids cope, even when the kids are 35 and like to think they have it all under control. I will be the first to admit it: I still need my mommy.

And yes– things are better now. I’ve made headway into the pile of dishes. Matthew is napping, and Luke is cooing in his bassinet. I’m currently drinking homemade chai and breathing deeply.

Today did try my soul, but thankfully, tomorrow is another day. And yes: my mom rocks.

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