One of the things that sucks moldy kumquats about being a mom is that you often work really hard without any quantifiable accomplishments to celebrate at the end of the day. I sometimes find myself pining for something as simple as the feeling I used to get as a barista from making a latte. The customer asked for a latte, I made the latte – end of transaction! Success!
I don’t usually feel that same neat and tidy sense of a job well done in my mothering gig. This is mostly due to the fact that my “co-worker” is an unpredictable tiny person whose brain is still largely under construction. So in an attempt to recognize my work as valuable and real, I recently started searching for ways I’m awesome that are hard to detect due to their abstract nature(s). If you’re a parent, I hope you’ll read these and realize that you too kick a whole big bunch of so much ass in ways you might not have noticed.
1. You’re the mayor of task-town. Something needs to get done. No, scratch that, approximately 1 bazillion things need to get done. Many of them are for the sake of a sometimes-hostile, always semi-needy person who may or may not be throwing plastic animal-themed debris at or near your head. You have become downright amazing at almost instantaneously prioritizing tasks, disregarding what is not totally necessary in that moment and accomplishing what’s left in a fraction of the time you used to need. You can do so much more simultaneously and hold more in your mind at one time than you could before. You might feel like you’re swimming in a sea of chaos and loose ends, but that’s just an unfortunate side effect of your brain bringing the pain to an impossible tangle of needs, wants and nagging extra shit. Trust it. You’re awesome at this. You accomplish an incredible amount of tough-to-prioritize stuff in a day.
2. You’re an oracle of Delphic proportions. OK, maybe not. But after a while, you do possess a scary-impressive ability to predict what your kid needs and when she/he will need it. You also have an uncanny knack for knowing when something is or isn’t going to work. You carry on your person a bag full of supplies beyond number, you know the “I-need-a snack-with-protein-even-though-I’m-begging-for-cheddar-bunnies” whine, and your game is so tight as to withstand grocery shopping while potty training. Please, fool. You’re as close to predicting the future as any tarot deck could hope to be. And you’re tough as nails to boot.
3. You’ve never been nicer or more patient. Seriously. I know you don’t feel it most days, but hear me out. The majority of the time, you’re responding with love, care and play to someone who, let’s face it, is often pretty narcissistic and inconsiderate. No hate, just realities of human development. So the fact that you manage to keep from screaming while asking for the 100th time (that day) that your tiny wonder not feed her homemade organic raviolis (or Doritos, as the case may be) to the dog is a considerable feat. The fact that you say “please” because you want her to learn to say “please” should probably qualify you for sainthood.
4. You’re a creative genius. Sure, the kid’s doing the majority of the painting these days, but you’re the one with the chops of a world-class artist. You could give lessons on spontaneous new approaches to timeless problems, redirecting unproductive energy and collaboration between people with radically different points of view. You’re a master at thinking about things in new ways, because that’s what you do pretty much every day. You wake up to a new person as your child grows and changes, sometimes in almost imperceptible shifts and other times in gulf-leaps. You could write theses (yeah, that’s plural y’all) on making any place, activity or chore fresh and fun. You’ve improvised more songs than The Beatles so much as hummed. And let’s face it, your moves on the dance floor, er, living room rug, are as vast and beautiful as the stars. All this without mentioning that you made a whole other somebody out of your guts. You are deeply creative.
5. You are (almost) an island. You are deeply resourceful in your ability to take care of yourself. You’re a lot less needy than you used to be. There is a way to see this as a sad thing. But there is also the possibility that having almost everything you need within your own stores is awesomely powerful. At the very least it’s dead useful. Right after your baby was born, that terrifying feeling that you’re the end of the line – the one who will be responsible – was terrifying. But that feeling grew and blossomed, branching off into this new radical independence that serves you so well now. In five spare minutes, with whatever’s handy, even sometimes with only your mind and a breath, you can find whatever peace, rest or inspiration you need to keep going. You’re doing it. You.
So we’re all agreed, you’re crushing it. Keep up the amazing work.