Why we do what we do

It was the loveliest of late summer days. With two children officially in the care of the local school system, I had the great pleasure of being a mom to only one. A little blonde toddler whom I am quite fond of, and if I may say, is as sweet as the day is long.
She was enjoying her time alone with mom, too. Without the background skateboarding noise or incessant talking, she could focus and play at her level. So there we sat, she and I, with a bucket of rocks and a bucket of water smack in the middle of my driveway, washing each rock individually and watching the colors just jump out at you.
My geology background tried to get her to say words like “granite” and “quartzite” and “fossiliferrous limestone.” My mothering background just sat and loved every minute of the magical time in the sun.
In fact, I got so carried away that I didn’t notice her disappear into the garage until she came back, spitting out and basically trying to eject something from her mouth.
It was, I admit, a teddy bear shaped cookie that had been sitting on the running board of my vehicle for over a week.
Truthfully, it had fallen out of her tiny snack cup a week before and landed on the said running board. Too lazy to pick it up, I wondered how long this little bear would hang on. He lasted through multiple hour long car trips, a week’s worth of errands, a torrential rainstorm, and a dog in the garage. But he was no match for a hungry toddler.
Surely caked with road grime and cinders, I scraped out her mouth as much as I could and ran to grab her a drink of water to flush down the rest. Once I knew she was fine, I then ran to grab the phone and the computer to tell someone I know about this, quite frankly, hilarious event.
Since then, I’ve told this story to a lot of friends and acquaintances, mostly other mothers who upon hearing just toss back their heads and laugh, and then go on to tell me a similar story of their own. Perhaps something about one of their own kids who ate something really heinous that he found under the couch, or how their own laziness resulted in someone’s misfortune. Usually their own.
And together we laugh and think to ourselves, “gee, we’re not such bad mothers. Did you hear what so-and-so’s kid ate/did/drew-on/threw-up/wore/said?” There’s just something about not being alone, especially when being a mom often feels like it. Those of us who are fortunate enough to stay at home with our kids really do find ourselves feeling completely lonely, even though we are totally surrounded by small plastic toys, cartoons, and tiny people. Even with all of that we crave, no, require, adult conversation.
So we create these mystical play dates and park dates and frequent coffee shops where our kids run wild and grab flyers off the walls and tug on the legs of strangers. We tell ourselves that it’s for the good of the kids, to learn to socialize and share, but really we know deep down it’s for our own sanity. Just knowing that someone else has spent an entire day with spit-up on her shirt or a pocket full of Legos amazingly makes everything OK. Even though our adult conversation focuses on our kids, we know talking it all out gives us an even playing field where we’re all on the same team. Strength in numbers, coffee in hand, and most likely tiny teddy bears on our running boards, these days are just as lovely as those late summer ones when the sun is warm and the rocks sparkle.


two days ago melia said "i don't like beer anymore." derive from that of my mothering skills what you will.
Unknown said…
And this post is exactly the reason why I started a blog. To feel that sense of community on this journey of motherhood.....great post. :-)

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