Bedtime Prayers: A Tale Of An Ugly Cry

We don’t attend church.

We should. I’d like to. But first, we’d have to find a religion that Robbie and I both feel comfortable with, and then we’d have to physically go to a building. Dressed presentably. All 5 of us.

Big hurdles.

However, I do pray with my kids. We pray before meals and before school, when I remember. My favorite thing, though, is praying with them at night before bed. It makes me feel better, like no matter what kind of shit day we’ve had, if I can end it all on a decent note then we’re all going to be alright.

Tonight I was so tired. I just wanted them to put themselves to bed and let me lie down, but that isn’t how life works. Robbie works all the time now, and I have a lot on my plate and … blah, blah, blah.

By 7 p.m. I am just done.

Homework

Homework time.

I tuck Pepper in first, followed by Asher half an hour later, and then finally Maverick. By the time I get around to Maverick I’m spent, which is unfortunate because he asks the most difficult questions of the three and he likes to wait until bedtime to ask them.

A few examples:

“Mommy? Is ‘bitch’ a bad word?”

“What does it mean when I raise my middle finger?”

“What countries have you visited outside of the U.S., and why did you choose them?”

“How do you say ‘it’s hot in here’ in Spanish?”

“Can two boys marry each other?”

Tonight, I was spared the difficult questions. I think he could sense that I was exhausted. I tucked him in, feeling sad that I was too tired to talk more, thinking of his little brother and how I wished I’d given in and read him a second book — but he wanted to read that book about cats that takes half a lifetime to read, and I just could not do it.

I thought about my two-year-old and how she kept asking “What’s this?” and pointing to her wrist and then my wrist, and I maybe should have spent more time talking to her about our wrists and how they magically connect our hands to our arms.

Maverick chattered to himself as he settled into bed and I thought the aforementioned thoughts. I smoothed back his hair as I started praying, but I was too tired to make it a good one. I basically said, Thank you God for giving me Maverick. Please help me be the best mother I can be for him. And please, please help him to be a good boy.

My son looked straight at me and laughed.

“That was silly,” he said.

“I know. I’m just so tired.”

“No, you don’t understand what I mean.” His eyes bored into me.

I sat up straighter. “What?”

“Of course I’m going to be a good boy,” he said. “You’re a good mother. Why WOULDN’T I be good?” He patted me. “Silly Mommy.”

I was thankful for the darkness that hid my ugly cry.

Is there ever a time when your child reaches a point where you can finally sit back and think to yourself DAMN, I DID A GOOD JOB? Because I look forward to that.

Maybe my kid is right, you know. Maybe I am already the best mother I can humanly, possibly be, and that is enough.

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The Krewe of Survival

My writing is, for the most part, unedited truth.

I take pride in putting myself out there so that other women will hopefully read my words and say, “ME, TOO!”

I’m here to remind you that you are never the only one.

There is always someone else experiencing the exact same frustration that you are experiencing as you snap on a pair of rubber gloves and extract yet another toy from the poop-filled toilet, wondering aloud how the hell you keep finding yourself in this situation.

I am here to assure you that your child is not the only child who screams “I WANT TO LET THE WATER OUT OF THE BATH TUB!” followed immediately by, “I DON’T WANT TO LET THE WATER OUT OF THE BATH TUB!” followed immediately by, “I WANT TO SLEEP WITH MY KITTIES!” followed immediately by, “I DON’T WANT TO SLEEP WITH MY KITTIES!”

You are not crazy. You are not alone.

There have been times when I felt so overwhelmed by the constant demands of motherhood that I just laid in the middle of the living room floor like a cartoon character and let my children stare at me until my lower lumbar started to ache.

I never had lumbar problems until I had children.

You are not the only mom who forgot to be at a thing or failed to send that paper or complete that form before the deadline. I’ve done it. ALL OF IT. I had high hopes for what kind of mother I would be and I’ve continually fallen short.

Today I yelled at my sons.

Yesterday I was struggling to put the third row back up in our van and the back hatch slammed down on me just before the third row somehow landed on my shin. I threw an epic, adult-sized tantrum in broad daylight, right there in my driveway. I threw things and said things and I’m pretty sure my neighbors either think I’m crazy or a terrible mom.

Maybe they think I’m home with my kids because I’m too much of a lunatic to hold down a regular job. That was certainly not the case when I started this stay-at-home-mom gig, but after yesterday … I’m beginning to wonder.

God, motherhood is hard.

And I feel sorry for myself.

But I do have good news, and that’s that children are resilient creatures and they seem to have the ability to see past the exterior and deep into the depths of our soul. Children know if you are good or bad and if you truly, deeply, love them.

I love my kids. I love them so much that I keep getting up, yes, every single day, to try to do better than I did yesterday. Except when it’s PMS week. During PMS week, I don’t give a damn about trying harder or doing better.

During PMS week, I just try not to kill people.

Yesterday, my middle child had a Mardi Gras parade and we (the parents) were supposed to decorate a float for them to ride in. Everyone else’s were totally tricked out, because of course they were, and my kid and my friend’s kid were literally thrown together into a white wagon with no decorations.

We drank our coffee and applauded ourselves for being there.

sURVIVAL

My oldest child came home from school upset because a kid in his class, a little girl, keeps making fun of him for being “too hairy.” I told him to tell her that little girls who make fun of other kids for being too hairy turn into gorillas when they hit puberty.

He just stared at me.

We’re surviving.

That’s allowed.

If I am a truth-teller, and I believe that I am, then this is my message: it’s hard to be a mom and no one gets it right.

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