Monday, August 24, 2015

How do you do it?

Last week, Dash's new teacher asked me a question I hear all the time: How do you do it?

I never quite know how to answer because, well it's complicated. Usually, in these scenarios someone is looking at me like I've got motherhood all figured out. As if my life is a smooth running, well-oiled machine. Sometimes I want to bask in all my supposed put-togetherness, but that couldn't be further from the truth. And frankly, I'm in the business of being honest with myself and others. The truth? I'm a mother -- a human being with strengths and flaws.

We've become a society that has difficulty embracing our emotions and imperfections. I don't think people expect a real, honest and raw answer. And yet, I feel compelled to give them one that reflects the many facets of motherhood. The good, the bad and the ugly. I never want someone to feel insecure in the face of my seemingly Pinterest-perfect brilliance. At the same time, I don't want want to sound like a walking train-wreck. I'm neither and yet I'm both. What I want to say is:

  • I'm doing the best that I can and some days that's still not good enough. 
  • I'm so proud of myself for making it out the door on time without yelling. 
  • My house is in complete shambles, but the kids are clean, dressed and we had time to take first day pictures. Lord knows if I'll ever have time to share them in the next 10 years, but we took them! 
  • I'm exhausted. I cannot consume enough coffee to lift the fog because I'm breastfeeding and I'm only supposed to have two cups of coffee a day. I make the coffee twice as strong so I get more bang for my buck (even though I know that defeats the purpose, but it soothes my conscience because in theory I'm still only having two cups) and yet I'm still tired. 
  • I don't have it all together. Some days we stay in our pajamas until noon.
  • I bribe my children with stickers and ice cream to do tasks basic to their survival. Like eating. Preferably in a manner which does not resemble hogs at the feed trough. 
  • I take it one day, one coffee, one peanut butter and jelly sandwich at a time. 
  • It's like a roller coaster: there's fear and excitement, ups and downs, and sometimes barf. 
  • I can go from champion and hero to utter failure in under 30 seconds.
  • I have marvelous people in my life who love and support me.
  • I feel like I have to do a lot of this on my own. 
  • I am pretty kick-ass, aren't I?
  • In the words of Woody Harrelson you've got to "nut up or shut up." I'm not entirely sure what this means, but I usually mutter it to myself right before I have to clean something up that should involve wearing a hazmat suit. 
So in answer to your question of how do I do it? I don't know. It's complicated. But mostly, I get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other, just like everyone else.


  1. Great post! I am at the stage now where "You're amazing!" or "How do you do it?" seems less like praise and more like a restriction. A blockade if you will, preventing me from asking for help when I need it. We all know motherhood is a crazy, wonderful, struggle, we need to embrace it. This piece shines the light on that! Ellen

    1. Oh Ellen! I totally feel that way too. But no matter how well put together you are we all need a little help sometimes! And there's no shame it that. :)