Last weekend we took advantage of our open schedule and stopped at our favorite pizza restaurant on the way to the park. We’re always sure to be there when doors open at 11 a.m. so that we are guaranteed one of the BIG booths.
Our lovely waitress approached with a smile counting heads – she tells me and my husband that she had four children, including twins like us, who are now preparing to head off to college. She looks at me fiercely and says, “ENJOY these years. You are after the hard part and before the hard part…you’re in the sweet spot.”
Um. Wait. Me? I had to consciously rearrange my bemused expression. My first thought was, okay lady, clearly you are so weather-beaten from motherhood that you forgot what it’s like at this stage.
I know she meant well, but I am currently on the battlefield with two two-year-olds, let alone the other three rulers of my life. I am not entirely convinced by the wisdom of my waitress, but it has left me thinking…and kind of ironically laughing.
It’s true that the baby-years are over. They were sweet and precious, but they are QUITE done. Currently I feel like everyone still has a lot of needs around the clock, but yes, it’s noticeably less than having infants in the house.
Also true that we are just scratching the surface of extracurricular activities, clubs and the like. My oldest two are going into 1st and 2nd grade, so soccer and Brownies are pretty much the extent of the extras for now. Pretty soon we will be driving in 5 directions…somehow…so yes, this moment in time is ‘less’ chaotic than it will be in the near future.
But this moment in time also requires things such as: never sitting, tantrums on the kitchen floor, screen time so I can pack lunches on time, whining instead of words (does that ever end?), stains on my clothes, holes in my clothes, having a kitchen table that looks like this:
That is my actual, real-time-as-I-type, kitchen table. You would think the kids are monsters that sit for hours intentionally trying to ruin the thing. I can’t even.
All of our lists go on and on…. we pick and choose our battles. For example, I have given up on the bandaid stuck to the carpet upstairs. But my microwave is always clean. This is the merry-go-round of motherhood, full of contradictory feelings and experiences. My bandaid-carpet makes me cringe and I often feel like my kitchen table looks. But I also have those glorious hours at the beach for swim lessons. The kids get along and have a cartoon-like enthusiasm for lessons and for their swim instructors. Makes it all worth it.
So, to the waitress at the pizza place – “sweet spot” is a bit of an overstatement… the kitchen table is too real to go that far.
It’s up, down, good, bad, fun, exhausting, hard, incredible, hard, wonderful, hard, and worth every second. And I’ll do it all again tomorrow. I surrender.