The year after my daughter passed away I never left the house. I took care of my three living children without complaint. I denied the need for a break or a babysitter or earplugs and I told myself I was enjoying every single second because these little people could be taken from me without a moments notice.
I stopped writing and venting about life and felt a stab of guilt when I hinted at the difficulties of juggling motherhood. My children were mine, their lives were more fragile than I ever thought possible and I was going to love getting up at 2, 4 and 7 am, eating dinner while standing and losing track of the last time I showered.
It took me years to return to sanity, to admit that not every day was perfect and claim my lack of patience by naptime. Do I look back on those days and consider them my most valiant of parenting? Absolutely not. I look back and wish I could tell myself there were other moms out there in the thick of motherhood and maybe I should talk to a few of them. I was in an unhealthy place of shock and grief and coping. I was not soaring ahead as supermom, I was drowning in grief and fear that I wasn’t appreciating my children enough.
The new book I am part of “I Just Want to Pee Alone” has already come under criticism as a book of “mommy bloggers” complaining about their children. I’m trying not to take offense to this but it’s not working. I have learned to balance enjoying my children with being human. Does this mean I’m going to smile while washing something off the wall while praying it is chocolate? Not today.
Tomorrow I will laugh about it, but today I will turn to my mom-friends and say oh my gosh you guys who does this? and they will say things like one time my kid made a poo-pyramid and I just found Spiderman underwear hidden behind the toilet and then I will feel better and I will go back to this parenting gig refreshed because I’m not alone.
I will read the same story eight gazillion times and text a friend to let her know I hid the book after the kids went to sleep and I will set off the smoke detector while making play dough and tell the story on Facebook.
My favorite story from my own childhood is the one where I escaped naked out the backdoor while my mom filled the bathtub or maybe the one when my mom threatened to run away with the Girl Scout cookie money. I can’t decide.
The stories that make us human, the true, honest, raw stories of this crazy journey through motherhood, are the ones I love the most. They are the ones I need to hear when it’s noon and I could swear it’s almost bedtime.
I’m pretty sure I can speak for every one of my co-authors and say we love our children more fiercely than we ever imagined possible and sharing the stories we are honored to have in this book doesn’t make us unappreciative or unloving, it just makes us real.
And ready to do it all again tomorrow.
You can buy “I Just Want to Pee Alone” all kinds of ways…
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