|Seven year old birthday parties are just as loud as you'd expect.|
A few weeks ago I spent my Friday night at a birthday party full of seven year old kids. It was as loud and ear drum shattering as you would imagine. Boys and girls giggling and screaming and playing tag in the middle of the birthday girls living room. Music and movies blasting at movie theater decibels. And there I was, one of the lone parents, sitting and talking as our kids ate movie food and chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.
Most of the parents dropped of their kids. We, unfortunately are not there yet. My seven year old still wants mom to be visible in a strangers home, and I can’t blame her. This was our first time at the birthday girls home, her parents and siblings are wonderful. The other parents in attendance were my kind of people. The kind who look the other way when double chocolate cake is served right after the movie style candies that were passed around less than an hour before. It’s not that it wasn’t fun, it’s just that it wasn’t my idea. My idea was to have gone home after working my six in the morning shift and put on yoga pants and lay on my couch. Maybe write a little, most likely read something, or even better catch up on my DVR. Instead, there I was, doing my best for motherhood.
It’s what we do as mothers. We do all things in the name of motherhood. We forgo showers and hot dinners. We never eat the last (insert treat that the kids will cry buckets for if they are gone here). We always eat last, no matter the occasion (even our birthdays). We go to bed last and get up first. We get that overnight feeding, that lost paci, the much needed cough suppressant at two a.m. We do all these kinds of things for motherhood. For our children, and in the name of being good mothers.
We also smile. And lie. We say things are “fine”, and that we are “wonderful”. We say and pretend that motherhood is everything we ever wanted. When the truth is our children are everything we ever wanted, but motherhood kind of sucks. Our children are amazing and beautiful and fulfilling. First feedings and bonding and snuggles are amazing. Night waking, sleep training and being shit on, are not. So instead of admit that not everything is glorious, we lie. We smile. And we do it all for motherhood.
We also do it for our children. I stayed at that birthday party because I knew it was what Caitlin wanted. And if she is ten and still wants me to hang out at some kids birthday party, well I guess I’ll chill at that one too. I’ll always make sure that we buy the right waffles, even if it requires the extra trip to Walmart. I’ll make sure the crusts are cut off even though I swore I would never be a crust cutter. I’ll still forgo a shower to get them to school on time, I’ll eat a cold dinner so that they are fed on time and before they melt down. I’ll continue to play musical beds every night, because one child climbs in and one adult leaves then another child climbs in and another adult leaves and then the kids come looking for us, and so on. I’ll even give them my last organic fruit juiced sweetened three dollars a quart lemonade from Whole Foods, even if it’s the only kind I can drink, even if it’s over a half an hour trip to Whole Foods, even if all I really want is some lemonade. Because I’m their mother. And as far as I know that’s what good mothers do.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a saint and I’m not always self sacrificing. I’ll choose Greys Anatomy marathons over trips to the park any day. I’ll also be the first to ask if I can “drop” off my kids at a party. But sometimes the things I do for motherhood pan out. I’ve made new mom friends. I’ve seen my daughter blossom and make friends. I’ve even met some pretty cool kids. Doing things for motherhood has taught me a lot about myself. It’s made me braver. It’s made me care less about things like make up and designer handbags. It’s made me realize that the rewards are always greater than the sacrifices. So we play musical beds, so I have to eat last sometimes, so I may or may not have clean hair. My life isn’t perfect. It doesn’t have to be, as long as what I’m doing is right for my kids.
I may not do all the things, and most days I may only do one thing, but for the sake of my children, I do them for motherhood.