My brain is being jarred by all the three year old whining and foot-stomping demands. As a result, the dust is being shaken away and i’m remembering why pre-school is so important. Because I need a safe place to store my kid for just a couple of hours, just a couple of times a week so I don’t dislike my life all the time.
Pre school is important, not for the ABCs and 123 s, but for the preservation of my nurturing loving mommy self to my three year old child. Not only this, but also for the love and respect I currently have for my husband. The tattered remains of those things after making it through one toddler, one starter marriage resulting in an ex wife, two first kids, and now our current preschooler.
Marriage takes you through some hairy twists and turns. Hairpin curves. New parenting takes you along equal treacherous roads but without guard rails. If you are with someone who had a family with someone else first, add to those guard-less roads some hazard signs that were erected by another person who was there before you.
Go ahead… let it all sink in
Babies put such a strain on relationships, i’m convinced this is why the emphasis is always on marriage first. Not because having a love child is social suicide (anymore) but because you sometimes need that signed document legally binding you to stay in the house with this person as they are bitching at you about a crying baby. The same crying baby you’ve had to deal with for an entire day alone. You need to remember that this marriage was your own choice when the baby spits up on your partner and he gets so grossed out he hands the child to you to go wash his hands. While he’s washing his hands, you are trying to find a clean spot on your shoulder to rest said child to pat his back – with your own crusty hands – and work out the gas.
Eventually you make it through the newborn stage… barely. One day you look down at the smiling face of your six month old and wonder how you all made it here. Divine intervention gets a lot of the credit. You are rewarded for all the stress of a newborn with the sturdy, self sitting, smiling, adorable pre-walker. THIS is why you had a baby. Right now. But it only lasts a blink of an eye in the form of a few months. Before long, you have a crawler and a walker. Those little dudes will challenge your stamina, your cardio, and your cabinets. You have endless “wait..where’d he go? he was just there moments”
Then they become two. The terrible twos are a myth. Probably started by dads. Dads who come home from work to find a child who is comfortable with the word “No” and especially with a “thank you” thrown onto the end for good measure. Two is the adorable version of a three year old. At three (three and a half in my daughter’s case) they begin to really understand the power and ability of the word “no”. They even go so far as to turn that inattentive listening you have been doing back on you! While standing one foot away from you, this child who can hear a potato chip bag opening from fifty meters suddenly cannot hear their own native language behind/in front/beside them saying “Get your shoes, please”.
But they are adorable, so you can deal for a little while. It’s when things are followed up, in public usually, with a screaming, yelling, foot stomping and thrashing tantrum that you realize, “This is it. This is where my last vestiges of sanity and reasoning snap and I become a puddle of goo on the floor.” And then it dawns on you…..
*heavenly music sung by a choir of angels rings out*
I imagine I would be much more patient and understanding of hand-on-hip, foot-stomping demanding toddler time if I had a small amount of time to remember I’m a human being. Not just a mom, but still somewhere under all the stretch pants and outdated bras, repetitive demanding orders, and pinterest recipe pins, i’m actually still ‘me’. A (hopefully) better version of the pre-mom me, but still ME. I need to remember that stringing beads onto a pipe cleaner, while very useful and valuable to my children, is not the craft I would choose to do on my own. Peppa Pig is not the programming I would watch in a silent and vacant living room. Mac and cheese is not my gourmet lunch of choice. Washing dirty clothes and dishes is not my first urge … or second or third on any given day of the week, weekend, month.
While I am appreciative of the fact that this is my life now, it would be immensely helpful to have 2 hours twice a week to allow myself to look in a mirror and figure out what it is that gives me a sense of self now that I have two kids, a house, and a husband. Then, I can go back to washing dishes, creating driveway chalk masterpieces, build a Lego minion army, and create macaroni masterpieces with my kids and enjoy being in the moment.
I can cut my husband some slack when he gets home from work and wants to check emails before greeting anyone, and sucks down dinner just to get back to his TV show. … well… i’m not superhuman. But I can be less judgmental of his choices if I felt I had my own choices to make on my own terms from time to time.
So it looks like i’ll be signing my daughter up for some edjumacation! Now I just have to wait until September before I can drop her off.