Joy - Portland, OR

It’s been over a month that I’ve been trying to find time to jot down my “day-in-the-life-of-a-mom” thoughts. This isn’t an unwanted assignment – quite the contrary – I love to write! It’s simply an impossible assignment given motherhood doesn’t offer an hour of free time to hold a pen and stare pensively out the window thinking of thoughtful metaphors and perfect adjectives. I’ve since come to the realization that the rough notes I’ve been jotting down in fragmented sentences the last 30 days, are a more sincere, if not pretty, picture of my life as a mother. It seems fitting that these thoughts have all been interrupted and remain unedited, and lack proper segues – just like any conversation I’ve had with my children these past 8 years.

· Keeping a straight face as my daughter refers to my childhood as "back in the olden days"

· Rummaging through my son’s pants pockets and discovering random items while doing laundry and being inspired to create my first Instagram hashtag. Not bad for an old school, unsavvy-with-social-media-mom… #laundryfind

· Broadening my children’s culinary horizons w/sushi, Ethiopian, Thai food, etc only to realize it’s backfired on me. When I picked the kids up from their afterschool program today, the kids loudly and repeatedly chanted "THAI FOOD! THAI FOOD! WE WANT THAI FOOD!" the Whole. Drive. Home. I only have pasta in the cupboards.

· Going through all the agony, and eventually the success, of sleep training our kids at an early age only to self-sabotage it a couple years later by crawling into the kids beds to snuggle (and ultimately fall asleep) with them. Then, throwing it all to the wind whenever my 7 year old boy tip-toes into our room early in the morning whispering "Mama can I sleep with you?" To which I melt and shamelessly hold the blanket up, inviting him to crawl inside and cuddle.

· The reality that my kids fight all day long... Until, of course, I task them with cleaning their rooms and they suddenly become united in their mutual goal to postpone the chore and play together like BFFs.

· When I have my quarterly (at best) Girls’ Night Out and my daughter whines, "You're ALWAYS going out with your friends!"

· Diligently and constantly correcting my kids’ verb tenses, pronouns and general language nuances, but intentionally withholding any correction when my son says "Excuse me, I was talking. Please don't erupt me!" Just because it's too cute.

· Embracing the 8 years of lacking privacy and solitude in the bathroom. I have answered myriad questions and mediated countless sibling quarrels from the throne. When I finally succeeded in enforcing that the door stays closed when I'm going to the bathroom, I thought I had finally bought some privacy... But in fact I just bought about 5 feet of distance.

· Battling the little pang of sadness when I'm helping my son pack an overnight bag for a sleepover at his friend's house and he tells me he's embarrassed of his PJs. When I ask what's embarrassing about his PJs, he informs me that they look like “baby jammies” because they have dinosaurs and spaceships on them. He's only seven! Is he really growing up this fast?!

· Simultaneously addressing a teachable moment for my son while working damage control for my insulted friend whom he just told looks pregnant.

· Marveling at the tech-savvy resourcefulness and determination of my darling 8 year old girl who (entirely on her own) figured out the time difference between Portland, Oregon and Vienna, Austria and set her alarm to wake up at 5:30am to FaceTime with me before she got ready for school - all while her Daddy and brother slept - just because she missed me. (Insert melted heart here)

· Racing to the bus stop with potted orchids for Teacher Appreciation Week and suddenly noticing that my son looks sad through the bus window as I wave goodbye from the sidewalk. I ask him what’s wrong and he says, “I don’t want to give this to my teacher.” “Why not?!” I ask. “I already wrote her a note saying how much I like her, but I want to give this flower to the janitor because he’s really nice and smiles at me everyday.” His report card may express some concern for his inability to listen in class… but what his ears lack, his heart makes up for… Clearly his heart is listening and attentive.

· Feeling like I’m doing something right as a parent, when I offer to buy some ice cream for my girl who is home sick from school with strep throat… and she admits she’s not feeling up to enjoying the treat, but asks if I can still buy it for her brother. Is she really this selfless?!

· After collecting the money our family and friends donated for a school fundraiser, I made sure the kids wrote their thank you cards before going out to play. Then while reading over their thank you notes, I couldn’t help but be amused … My son thanked our neighbors for their donation in one sentence, then used the remaining available space on the card to thank them for being the nicest neighbors who took him in when he ran away a few weeks ago when he was mad at Mama.

· When I ask my daughter to grab my laptop and bring it to me downstairs so I can work on my “Day-in-the-life-of-a-mom” story… she dutifully agrees, but before handing over said laptop, she slyly says, “You better write down that you have the best kids in the world that do stuff for you all the time.” Consider it done, sweet girl. Consider it done.


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