Yesterday, I did not want to be the mom. Have you ever had those days? The sun is shining, and you just want to bolt outside, let the laundry go, feel the grass in your toes, have someone else deal with the to do list, be the kid again? That was me.
I did not want to spoon-feed Oli to keep him from thrusting food onto his face, hair, clothes with his hands.
I did not want to tell Jo that yes, she had to do math.
I did not want to call the insurance company and do battle with the claims department.
I did not want to make the grocery list.
I did not want to tell Logan and Atticus to stop hitting one another with light sabers.
I did not want to ask someone to sweep the floor under the table before Seven decided to dine on the crumbs.
But I did it. I did it all.
No, my heart wasn't exactly in the "meek and quiet spirit." I wasn't serving with joy. I was just serving. I smiled, I spoke kindly, I did the good momma thing. But it was fake.
I started to feel kind of guilty about it about halfway through the day. Mani had just announced--the second that I was finally able to sit down and take a bite of my lunch--that he had to go potty. And he needed help. Because this was, as he is wont to blare in his loudest preschooler voice: "Pooping tiiiiiiiiime!"
I stopped myself from sighing, plastered a great big old smile on my face, put my lovely glass of lemonade down, and stood up.
"Let's go, big boy!" I told him, and he gleefully clambered from his booster seat.
He cheerfully pottied at snail's speed, while begging me to read book after book. He cheerfully flushed, after giving me his 10-minute version of where the poop goes. He cheerfully washed his hands in slow motion taking care to scrub each finger for the entire length of the ABC song. Then, he cheerfully climbed back into his chair and ate his lunch in about 15 seconds, leaving me to gulp my food down and race back into action. I purposed to smile the entire time. And I pulled it off, believe it or not.
Just before dinner, a funny thing happened. I realized that my smile wasn't nearly so forced any more. I wasn't gritting my teeth as I attempted to break the world's record for number of consecutive readings of "Goodnight Moon." I listened to Jo complain about the instructions in her vocabulary book and actually felt a shred of sympathy. My older boys decided to re-enact a Three Stooges skit for me and I actually laughed.
My dad always said that when you were in a rotten mood, no one needed to pay the price for your misery. He'd sing the chorus to the Simon and Garfunkel song, wink one of his amazing blue eyes at you, and walk away. I had no idea that he wasn't just mocking me at the time.
Sometimes, faking it works. Play your cards right, and it might even get you barefoot in the backyard after all.