Exciting new, The Unexpected Ever Afters, now has a pinterest page! You can find us at https://www.pinterest.com/theunexpectedeverafters/. We are excited to have another way to reach readers and to share our stories and experiences!
As Wendi and I were putting together our Pinterest page, we added a brief description of our blog: “The vision behind our blog is to create a space that is more reflective of the nuance in life, while also challenging ourselves to live and write authentically.” As I reflected on these words and the posts I have written, I was proud and thankful. Proud to have shared stories and written about experiences that have been on my heart. Thankful for the opportunity to be blogging with my friend and to receive such kind feedback from our readers.
However, while digging through my past posts and ruminating on our blog summary, I had a moment of doubt. Here I am, encouraging everyone to be vulnerable, authentic, and to shatter the comparison trap, yet I have found impactful, perfected stories to share. Not that they have been inauthentic, because the experiences, thoughts, and feelings are very much vulnerable and real. However, they often left out some of the messy details. So, for the rest of this post, this is an unpolished look at a day in the life of an imperfect mom. If you are hoping for a beautiful ending, please look at one of my other posts. If you need a moment to commiserate about the messy unexpected everyday life, this post is for you.
Monday was a bonus day off from work and school. I had been looking forward to the day for weeks, counting down until I could have a breather from the consistent stress of my job. I was also anticipating the opportunity for a slower schedule than what typically exists in my time at home with the kids with rushed evenings and adventure-packed weekends.” I went to bed on Sunday night, thankful to escape the typical Sunday-night anxiety. I smiled as I put my phone on the charger, alarm clock-free.
I woke up Monday morning at my normal time, both kids already awake. On a typical Monday morning, I literally have to peel them out of their beds and use some form of frantic mom bribery to get them dressed so that we are not later than our normal late. But, this Monday, a Monday where they could have actually slept in, they were awake at my door with 501 questions about what we were going to do that day.
After groggily realizing that I was partially delusional for assuming that I would get to sleep in, I stumbled to the kitchen to make coffee for myself and breakfast for the kids. My son has decided that he temporarily hates peanut butter, so I covered his toast in jelly. I also put jelly on my daughter’s toast, because that was easier than dirtying another knife that would end up in my pile of unwashed dishes. I opened some yogurt, gathered two spoons and brought them breakfast while they watched a cartoon (something we like to do as a treat on stay-home days).
My two year old daughter instantly flung herself onto the ground because she wanted peanut butter toast, not jelly. I told her I could add some peanut butter to her toast but when I returned from the kitchen with peanut butter in hand, her toast was already half gone so it seemed kind of pointless and I turned around and put it back. She then refused to eat her yogurt because she wanted to “get her own spoon.” So she went to the kitchen in search of a spoon. While there, she was distracted by the vitamins. She got angry because she couldn’t open the child lock vitamins so she started to scream again. My son went to help her, and although he is only five, he is a child lock breaking genius and he proceeded to open the vitamins. I reminded them to take only one of each, and watched closely from the living room as they sorted out which one they were going to take. My daughter did not want her brother to hand her the vitamin so she grabbed the bottle from him, determined to get her own. Instead of shaking one into her hand she shoved her hand into the bottle, where it got stuck. My son started laughing and said, “well, that is going to hurt,” and then turned and walked back to finish his breakfast. I used my mama magic to gently wrestle her hand out of the bottle and sent her, her vitamins, and her new spoon to finish breakfast as well.
I made my next mistake by turning off Mickey Mouse after the episode was over, rather than allowing them to watch a million hours of television. This resulted in angry protests from both the children. I calmly told them to go play, reminding them that they do in fact like to play. They both wandered to play with the toys in the basement. But somewhere along the way they determined that by “go play” I meant “go irritate each other until one of you explodes.” My daughter may be sweet but she is ruthless and decided that her brother’s crabby attitude was worthy of physical assault and she proceeded to repeatedly hit him. He shouted upstairs, “mom she’s hitting me 100 million times and I already told her to stop.” I went down, had her reset, and then encouraged them to play nice. “Play nice” never happened so I decided we would go burn off some energy at my school. It was closed, so I figured nobody would be there and I could grab something I needed from my office and they could run around the gym.
We arrived at the school and found that they were repairing a pipe (or something) in the basement which involved the use of a jackhammer. My son, who hates loud noises, proceeded to run out of the building into the parking lot. I coaxed him back in, letting him know that we didn’t have to go downstairs so he wouldn’t even have to see the jackhammer. He made it up the stairs but when we turned to walk towards my office “the hallways were too dark” and he made a run for it again. When we finally made it to the gym to have the running fun that the adventure intended, a motor-powered floor cleaner was brought in to wash the floors. Both kids promptly screamed and ran for the door. I gave up on the adventure and we went home.
Nap time resulted in some quiet time, which was much appreciated, but the afternoon involved completing some house chores (you can imagine how that went). I was behind enough on dishes and laundry that catching up felt insurmountable. But, we powered through. We finally made it to the evening when my husband returned home from work. Turns out he had had an understandably rough day and was not in the mood for the crabiness now seeping from myself and both children. We ate supper at the table with minimal conversation while ignoring the kid’s whining regarding the spinach that was mixed into the hotdish.
I finally broke and let them watch another Mickey Mouse before it was (thankfully) bedtime. This did result in nice pre-bedtime cuddles, which helped make up for part of the stress of the day. Bedtime was pretty typical, due to our structured bedtime routine. However, both kids did choose that time to shout about how they just wanted to “play for just ten more minutes,” despite refusing to actually play all day.
I finally made it to bed and felt drained and disheartened. The day that I was literally daydreaming about for weeks fell far short of expectations. A new week was ready to gear up and I felt that I had missed my opportunity to feel refreshed. I looked at my to-do list and noticed that not only was my day full of big emotions and lack of fun, but it was also unproductive. Hopefully tomorrow will be better, I thought, before my over-worrying brain reminded me that I had to go back to work and my chance for a better day was over.
Then I went to sleep, and life went on.
Author: Jessica is a wife, mom, school social worker, and aspiring writer. She is co-author of the blog The Unexpected Ever Afters.