Mommying is Hard by Melissa Rosella

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Some are going to read my words and think I’m ungrateful for being a mom, a stay at home mom, but I’m not. I love my children.

They’ve been sick for 3 weeks, we’ve been through it all. Ya know: strep, flu, ear infections, sprained ankles, and more. It is not the sickness that is the hardest part, it’s the way I get treated when my kids are sick. I swear it is damn near unbearable and yet, I continue because being a mom is not a 9-5, it’s 24/7.

It is as if the pain my daughter  feels, with her gigantic tonsils, is completely projected onto me. She says things in a rude, crude, unbecoming, and disrespectful way. I think if I get her favorite food, buy her fro yo, give her the right meds, cuddle with her a little longer, let her wrap up in my robe, that she will not be so mean to me, but nothing seems to do the trick. I feel like a servant.

My husband  leaves at 5 a.m. to hit the gym and go to work. Lately, he’s been coming home at 6 or 7. I’ve spent my whole days with my sick kids & a nebulizer and syringes and Tylenol and Motrin and antibiotics and vicks and propped up pillows and bleach wipes and lysol and tissues and boogie wipes and a cool mist humidifier and essential oils.

I’m juggling so many things in the air that I feel as if I will fall a part at any second.

I know how fortunate I am, as I know that there are dads and moms in this big wide world that deal with super ill children, day in and day out, all day and all night and they somehow continue to wake up each day and do what must be done to best take care of their beloved children.

Saints, they are saints. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am not a saint.

My patience is wearing thin. I took kids to Popeye’s, last night, and the chicken was too spicy and we went to ZOYO and she complained I didn’t give her enough frozen yogurt. You’ve got to be kidding me!

I fill up the inflatable pool and the water is too cold. I get her ice water and it is not cold enough. I give her a piece of paper and she wants more. I give her markers and we don’t have the right colors. I give her glitter and we run out. I give her glue and she leaves the cap off. I swing her and it’s not high enough. We have water play outside, but we don’t stay out long enough because it’s too hot. She tells me something important and I don’t fully hear her, so she accuses me of also having an ear infection. I am grouchy and she demands I watch “Daniel Tiger,” alone, to be reminded of my manners. So, apparently, she’s allowed to be grumpy, but I’m not allowed to have my grouchy moments.

She tells me I should be placed in time out for slapping her wrist after I witness her pushing her limping brother to the floor out of jealousy. She says I should immediately apologize for slapping her wrist, all the while she’s wailing for an ice pack in time out. She refuses to apologize to her brother. But, I’m supoosed to apologize to her for slapping her wrist.

It literally has felt like I’ve been at war. The highlight of today was when my husband brought me an iced tea from Starbuck’s. I damn near cried. It is the little things that bring me joy.

My beloved black cat, Blackjack, says not a single word as he plops himself in my lap for no reason and asks for not a single thing, as he finds comfort in my lap, my plain old lap. It is in the moment that James plops himself right on my legs,  hugs me for no reason at all, & wants nothing more than to look at me, that melts my heart. He asks for nothing, just wants my company.

Juggling two children is rough. I am blessed. I try hard to be the best I can be, but then she plugs her ears, rolls her eyes, and continues to do things she is not supposed to. I get it, she’s sick. She’s 5 going on 14. What will it be like when she actually is 14?

I have patience, but it is wearing thin. I know her heart is in the right place and she is just sick, but dammit this tonsil and adenoids removal needs to come quicker than 6 weeks.  I can barely take the attitude she comes at me with when illness strikes our house.

We get in the car because I need a break. I just need to go to the top of the mountains and look at Phoenix and admire the beauty of the  cityscape. & then the screaming at each other starts.  Brother starts throwing his metal cars and trains at Sister. The water, with the straw, inevitably gets tossed to the floor with no regard for my car. Then, the wrappers to the snacks get tossed, too, causing damp snack stinkiness  that stick to the floorboards of my car. There are little bits and pieces of goldfish sprinkled throughout the backseat that my husband frowns upon me giving the kids because he’s deemed them unhealthy.

There are times that I completely forget their lunches en route to school, so I have to run to the 56th Street Deli, on the fly, and have John cook up a hot dog and cut it, just so, to prevent choking. We pop half a hotdog, a banana, and the forbidden orange crackers into separare brown paper bags for each kid. The owner knows the drill by now.

I love being a mom, but it is fucking hard work. I’m trying to juggle holding down the house, cooking, cleaning, and caring for my mom from a far.

When I was small, I always envisioned being a mom. I’m thankful for this beautiful gift, but I find myself lonely, at times, as a stay at home mom. I often schedule play dates to attempt to blast away the loneliness and isolation I  feel. I fantasize about my husband’s yummy lunches with clients, friends, & colleagues- that back and forth conversation, being seen, and being regarded as important & relevant.  I miss those conversations &  friendship connections. I can get it all back if I just schedule it in more often. Next week, I have a play date scheduled for every single day. Loneliness be GONE.

The second I can’t wait for the kids to get to school, is the second I turn around and see empty car seats and remember how much I love my children and being their mom.  I love their giggles and laughs, their soft skin, their little toes and fingers, their miniature sized feet and hands, their a-ha moments of learning something new. The moments I catch them sharing,  hugging, and not arguing, bring me joy.

My son just brought me a gem encrusted crown and said, “Ta-da.” I put it on my head, and for a moment, I felt seen & important. He makes me smile. My daughter is reading to her brother and acting like a teacher, all the while saying “shhhhhh,” as if teaching a real live class. She often lines up her stuffed animals and reads to them. I used to do that very thing at her age.

She will line up her beloved soft stuffed animals alongside the wall of her bed and put blankets on them, individually, and kiss them, one at a time, before going to bed. She can be maternal and there are precious moments when if her brother falls, she runs to get an icepack from the freezer to relieve his pain. I love when she illustrates empathy. She learned that at school, as her favorite class job is ‘paramedic.’ That job is to seek out an ice pack or let an adult know when someone is hurt and needs help. She can be kind & sweet. It is in those moments, I pat myself on the back and think I’ve done some really great things with my kids. When my son says, “Bless you” when I cough (lol), “Thank you” without being reminded, and when my daughter says “Please” without my usual “What is the magic word?” nudge, I am so pleased.

It is in the moments when my daugher will volunteer, sporadically, to clean her room,  do her laundry, offer to refill my water cup, or pet Jack, ever so tenderly, that make being a mom beautiful and magical and rewarding. The moments she teaches her brother how to brush his teeth, especially the back ones, that I am reminded of the reasons why my kids are what I am most proud of. I am reminded of why the good Lord chose me to be their beloved mother.

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