In Motherhood, There is Strength In Numbers
And by strength in numbers, I don’t mean twenty moms can take on more than one mom could. I am talking about the value of knowing that you are not alone in the completely absurd conversations and interactions that are a part of this lovely thing we call motherhood.
For example, the other night, I gave my toddler a bath, put her in her pajamas, put my own pajamas on, and sat down on the couch to read her a story. She asked me for milk and I got up opened the fridge door and realized…we were out of milk.
Mild panic set in. It was 8:30pm, and pouring rain out and all parties were already pajama clad. So I did what any single mom in my situation would do – I tried to talk Ellie out of having milk before bed.
No luck. So I threw on my shoes, and my raincoat, put Ellie’s shoes and raincoat on, and I scooped her up and headed down to the grocery store. As I walked out of my New York City apartment into the rain, it occurred to me that perhaps I should have rethought my attire before going out in public. Going bra-less, while wearing stained and ripped pajama pants stood in stark contrast to all of my fellow New Yorkers who were coming home from work. Plus, the repetition of, “Milk, milk, milk, milk…I neeada milk cuppa!!!” by my daughter while insisting she hold an adult sized umbrella all by herself, was wearing on me, forcing my face to look as trainwrecky as my attire.
I was doing everything in my power not to yell, “Hey kid – a month ago you refused to drink a drop of anything other than water and juice - and I was the one crying about the milk…now you can’t get enough of it. Can you at least be consistent?”
I didn’t say that. Good for me.
Once inside the store, I made a beeline for the milk (um, and some caramel covered popcorn for myself) and headed for the register.
As I stood there, trying to wrestle my daughter into submission, I looked around at all of the seemingly put together adults in the store with me…and hated every single one of them because they weren’t standing in line with a 21-month-old who was pretty much foaming at the mouth for her milk. As the tantrum grew, I realized that nothing short of opening the carton right there in the store and pouring it directly into her mouth would calm this situation.
I didn’t do it, but I thought about it.
While I was paying, I started to wonder if I would ever be able to do simple tasks alone without unreasonable behavior. This usually happens several times throughout the day and is usually compounded by the belief that I am the only mom in the entire universe that is or has encountered behavior of this nature.
As I walked back into my building, I noticed another mother with a child about the same age as Ellie, with that familiar look of despair in her eyes.
“Honey, how do you want me to put the dolly’s hat on? This is how you put it on. I don’t know what else you want me to do…this is how it goes…” she said, as her child stomped her foot and whined, refusing to move another inch.
“No!!!!!!!! Not like that!!!!!!!” her daughter cried.
And I started to smile as I walked by, which might seem heartless, but it was exactly the opposite.
I looked at the mom and said, “You would not believe the fit my daughter just had because I wouldn’t let her drink the milk right out of the carton, in the grocery store. I am so relieved to know that I am not the only one having ridiculous conversations with my toddler. As painful as it is sometimes, if nothing else, at least we know we are not alone.”
And she smiled back, laughed and said, “Yes! Thank you.”
Then I ran upstairs, and gave Ellie her milk cup, of which she took 3 sips before falling asleep.