With some rare, but always welcomed, alone-time, I found myself browsing through Et Cetera Shop. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular; I was more just relishing in some quiet time.
My usual tag-alongs were in the capable hands of great-grandma, and after a fast trip to the grocery store, I decided to stop at the thrift store so as to delay my homecoming a bit longer.
While browsing, I found myself drawn to the books at the back of the store. I found a couple paperbacks dealing with the subject of motherhood. I figured reading them couldn’t hurt.
So I made my way toward the register, wanting to find out how much they cost. I had decided that I didn’t want to pay too much for the books, but when the sweet woman at the checkout said they were 10 cents apiece, I figured it was meant to be.
This past week, I’ve been reading “The Mommy Diaries: Finding yourself in the daily adventure.” It’s a compilation of short stories and essays written by those most experienced in motherhood: mommies.
Some of the essays I’ve groaned with, saying, “Oh yeah? Well, my toddler threw a tantrum in the middle of Target. But the worst part was the lady who wouldn’t quite look me in the eye while saying, ‘Ma’am, what about her shoe?’ Apparently, my toddler was throwing a fit because she didn’t want to leave her shoe behind.”
I’ve laughed along with mommies sharing examples of “kid-isms.” You know, those cute and hilarious (albeit sometimes untimely) sayings that come out the mouths of babes.
Our latest kid-ism happened just this weekend. My husband and I told our 2-year-old that we were taking her to Build-A-Bear. In response, she said, “Do I get to use a hammer?” Priceless.
But the essay that most resonated with me was “My Best Years,” written by Kathy Groom.
She writes: “I sat helplessly on the floor of our tiny living room, my three young children upset and crying. All three of them—all at the same time…. Wanting to share this moment with my husband—the father of these little cherubs—I dialed my husband’s work number and pointed the receiver in the general direction of our squalling children….”
Later in the essay, she writes that when her husband came home, she yelled, “I just can’t take it anymore! Why did we have so many kids?”
Now, I’m going to remain mum on whether I have called my husband just to let him share the joy of listening to crying children. But, I will say that I have (more than once) yelled that I just can’t take it anymore.
I adore my girls. I love my husband. But over the past four months, I haven’t spent more than an hour by myself. I’ve neglected my sanity. And the thing that pushed me over just so happened to be a little infection of the ear.
Why, you ask, would an ear infection push me over the edge? Well, it bumped my daughter’s splenectomy from the 13th to the 27th. So, my emotions have been on a roller coaster as big and bad as the Zambezi Zinger.
My stress level has been so high that the only cure for my daily headaches is downing Advil with a Dr. Pepper. Add to that border-line sleep deprivation, and you can see why I needed to browse Et Cetera Shop.
But on the upside, I’m learning a thing or two. For instance, I should stop feeling guilty when I accept offers for help. And I should also be OK with asking for help.
I took a dear friend up on her offer to watch the girls for me on a particularly bad day this past week. And I had a candy bar. And, I’m about ready to ask my dear husband for help with the multiple stacks of laundry piling up on the floor.
It takes a village, right?
I’m also learning to find joy in the little things. To lessen the stress and have some laughs, I’ve raced my daughter on our tricycles (despite questioning looks from our neighbors), had a tea party complete with all the frills, cheered on my youngest as she mastered rolling over, and had multiple dance parties. I dance like the white girl that I am, but it was fun to boogie down with my girls.
And so, if you see me furiously pedaling a Radio Flyer trike down our driveway, or hear me belting out “Rockin’ Robin” with some painful-looking motions, I might be lessening my stress.
Or better yet, I’m learning to find myself in my daily adventure.