This blog is finnin’ ta be under serious construction. Not going to lie, I have no idea what I’m doing in terms of design and layout, and let’s not even talk about photography. The good news is, I’m starting a Genius Hour with each of my seventh grade English classes (3 blocks), and those are 2 of the areas I’m using as a model. So, be on the lookout for changes. Probably a lot, and then changes to those changes. But, I’m mostly aiming for depth of content and making connections for now.

 Why has no one turned motherhood into a video game? Seriously, I think it would do well. The premise would be a never-ending quest in which you save the day over and over, earn some badges, and get them all taken away. Here’s a working example of what you could expect:

Clean up poop in tub= 100 points

Mop up projectile vomit= 500 points

Save life= 1000 points

If you can do all within the same 24 hours (I’ve literally done all 3 of these in the last 24 hours), well then… HOMEGIRL, you just earned yourself a badge! Enjoy your badge with noise-proof headphones blasting Art Garfunkel and this amazing Low-Cal drink we’ve concocted for you.

Don’t drink the Low- Cal drink. It’s a trap. Trust me. You’ll get your badge yanked away when you can’t function in the morning.

crayons
This was intended to be a storyboard until I surrendered it to the toddler.

***

On New Year’s Day, my lifelong friend texted me on the brink of a complete breakdown. Her sweet little girl grabbed her coffee cup and got second degree burns in a matter of seconds. Just like so many things in parenthood, it happens so quickly, you can’t react. Heck, the same thing has happened to me, the coffee just wasn’t hot.

She’s one of those wonderful moms who tells stories of the plights of motherhood effortlessly, no mention of stress. Like she could tell me what she had for breakfast and there’s not a change in inflection. So, when she said she couldn’t stop crying, I knew exactly where she was: she was the mess.

I once read a quote, memorized it, and despite extensive Google searches cannot find its origin:

broom

This quote has been life-changing for me as a mother. It is, for me, hands-down the hardest part of being a mom. I genuinely want to be perfect, but that whole human factor seems to get in the way every time. I’ve written and not published so many accounts of mishaps and trials in motherhood. Panic attacks resulting in calling my sweet husband and saying, “Can you just come get her so I can not die in Target?” Conversely, I’m also reluctant to post too many victories either. It’s a serious pendulum swing, and it varies hour-by-hour on a good day, minute-by-minute on a bad one.

I always say goodbye to each year with a song that sums it up, and start each year with a mantra. I’ll admit, with a musical mind, I can tell you about every year in the last 2 decades via song, but I hardly ever remember my mantra. Mostly because I lose sight of it by January 3rd. But not this year. It’s January 3rd, and I’ve already said my mantra every single day- by the hour on a good day, minute-by-minute on a bad one. We’re running at 33% efficiency for the record; my mantra is: “Be the broom.”

Sunday- Nice, relaxing day. Except it’s been a bit of a weird holiday. I didn’t have the normal time off beforehand and had a butt-ton after the holidays. Incidentally, so did sweet Novella, and so she’s been a little off her routine. I’ll be the first to admit, I scoffed at a routine before the joys of parenthood. Routine is now as essential as electricity in our house. Alone time is also crucial to me as a mom, and with the three of us on holiday plus me having a surgery, I’ve been seriously lacking alone time. We’d planned on leaving the house together and doing some shopping, but if there’s one way God laughs at your plans, it’s through the fickleness of the toddler nap. I don’t even know why, but when she woke up, I promptly asked, “So are you taking her to Target with you?” This is messed up on a lot of levels, and totally fair on just as many. I’m not a huge score-keeper. I just knew my bristles were starting to fray. This was Day One, people.

Note of importance: B walked in and said, “I think she’s getting sick.” And since I am no stranger to that phenomenon, I verified by her bath-shivers, always a tell-tale sign of a pending fever.

Monday- I woke up before my family, made my coffee, read, looked at myself in the mirror, and said: “Amelia, you’re the broom.” And God said, “Challenge accepted, my dear.” So, let’s just Cliff Note it and say: cough, fever, worse cough, after-hours at pediatricians’ office, verified croup and “paraflu”, steroid prescription, instant puke at steroid intake, bath, steroid point 2, more puke, mop. I handled it like a champ.

I sat down with Pinot Grigio, texted my friend above about my day, and said. “For just today, I was the broom.”

Tuesday- Turns out, I am actually very grateful for this weird break. Lord knows I needed it today, as I cannot imagine a worse offense than bringing a croupy, feverish kiddo to a room full of her peers. We had such a good day. Amazing day. You know that movie you maybe had in your mind before parenthood? That was our day. We rested. We cuddled. We danced (to Hamilton!). We read. She learned new words. She wouldn’t eat much, but when she saw me eating apple slices, she asked for one and then came back for several more. We Face Timed with her beloved Mimi and Big Daddy. I had to let them go because one of our major goals for this year is to have family dinners, and I had a little more to do.

apples
How do you like dem apples?

Well, I knew she wouldn’t eat anything but those green apples, but I put the obligatory Kielbasa and veggies on her plate. We waited for B to get home, and then we all sat down. Being a broom was not a problem until this point, at all.

My number one fear as a parent is choking. I’ve taken it as far as getting my CPR certification. I know there are probably people that make fun of me for cutting her food up, and truthfully I make fun of myself. I’ve really been easing up because she turns 2 in April.

So, I made her apple “fries” that she can easily bite off, and left just a little bit of peel on the top to try and get her used to it. You can guess where this is going. She started choking on it! I don’t know how much of it was panic on her part, panic on mine…it was a disaster. We obviously got the peel up, and we are also now 2 for 3 on puking for days this year. She was terrified and couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t gather up a single thought. B was trying to do everything in his power to distract both of us, which made the dog-and-pony- show go quicker off the tracks because WHY CAN’T I BE THE PUT-TOGETHER PARENT ANYMORE?!

Once we got a little more settled, I excused myself and went to the bathroom, where I stared in the mirror, and said: “Be the broom. Be the broom” But I just couldn’t. I absolutely lost it. I had just met my biggest fear face-to-face. I retraced every step and replayed every move. Did I handle it well? Would this have been my fault?

And that’s really the hardest part of parenthood: things are going to happen. And sometimes they are going to be your fault. There’s just not a solid way to reconcile that. We have to accept that we are doing our best, and if we aren’t, we wake up the next day and try it all again. We hope we can cuddle and softly talk away all of the pain. We hope we can sweep most mishaps under the rug.

Our kids won’t remember all the dominoes that fell in order for everything to collapse. They only remember how we made them feel through it all. I guess what we want most of all, is for our kids to look back one day, and say: “She was the broom; she made everything better.”

curls

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