There’s a tv trope for my life right now. It’s called the “get a hold of yourself, (wo)man!” trope. Really. This is a real thing…in tv land.
In case you haven’t heard of it or seen it in action, it happens when a character in a story, usually, a protagonist who must save the day through his/her clear logic, has a moment of being so overwhelmed that he/she becomes hysterical, unresponsive, stuck in faulty logic about something that either won’t happen or that he/she can’t do. The character gets “fixed,” usually, when someone wise slaps her once in the face with the accompanying words, “Get a hold of yourself, (wo)man!”or ” Pull yourself out of it, (wo)man!” Sometimes a glass of water is thrown, sometimes not. But the point is that the sudden use of physical action shocks the hero/protagonist/main character whose life is being chronicled back into it, or the real world, or into making sense again.
“get a hold of yourself, woman!”
How am I doing as a mom of three? Well, I often do have those “get a hold of yourself” worthy moments… in my head, of course. I wouldn’t want to scare my children too much, after all. I have these moments but then my rational brain steps in and slaps me out of it. I mean this seriously. And this happens to me multiple times of the day. Sometimes, when sitting in a room that appears to have been massacred by a tornado of toddler while nursing my baby while thinking about whether chicken nuggets for lunch is really a good idea for the third day in a row, I’ll have this stream of thoughts that leads to the pit of overwhelming doom. And I’ll get stuck, like a broken record, on ideas of how impossible it feels. Like 10 minutes ago, while sitting in that room, I began to panic about having to take my children, all three of them, in a car to the park tomorrow for a playdate, a park that’s over 10 minutes from our house.
I can laugh now about it. But in that moment of panic my brain was stuck with thoughts like, “What if the baby cries?” “What if my toddler doesn’t want to sit in her stroller?” “What if we run out of gas?” “What if our AC cuts out (which is unlikely given that my husband replaced the freon a week ago, but still)?” My metaphorical “slap” happened when my three-year old poured milk on the floor and demanded her sister (the one-year old) to “drink it, boy!” “She’s my dog!,” she proclaimed, proudly.
In case you’re wondering, I should say that not all of my day is like this. 75%, sometimes, 90%, depending on my sleep the night before, of my life is spent in confidence of what I’m doing since I’ve been doing most of this for the past two years. What’s adding another child? Hmm? It’s not much…really.
And it’s not that bad. But it is…when you think about it so much that you stop living in the present moment which may just involve eating a burnt hot dog or cleaning spit up curds from your lap.
I put off writing this post because I wanted to wait until I had everything mostly figured out. I wanted to come here and proclaim, “Well folks! I’ve done it! I’ve mastered the art of mothering three children and can now interpret its wonder in the span of a 600 word blog post. Well, that, and I wanted to be able to sit for 30 minutes and just write. Neither of these things has happened in the past three weeks, in case you’re wondering. I still haven’t figured out how I’ll handle trips to the grocery store or long walks with our double stroller. And this post was written in bits and pieces over the span of three days. Three days!!
Oh, but such is life. And this is my life.
But… as with most things in life and parenting, things will be different in maybe a month (okay, a year from now) and then I’ll have a different story to tell. Or, that’s what the laws of life and parenting should dictate when things seem to be at their worse.