I will be the first to tell you that I am not always reasonable. I get emotional, my judgement falters, I lose my cool and snap at my kids. After all, I'm not perfect and I've accepted that undeniable fact. However, when I see the mom that's so damn chill and never snaps and never says "hurry up" in that one, undeniable tone, I take pause. In fact, I have questions for the mom who never seems to lose her patience with her kids. More often than not, they start with a confused look and a genuine, "How?"
I have a short fuse. While I try not to, I find myself getting impatient pretty frequently. While I know I shouldn't rush my children, when it takes 15 minutes to open the back door and walk onto the porch, I get a little feisty and less-than-understanding. Before I know it I hear myself say, "Would you just hurry up?!" or "What are you doing? Come on!" and then, like clockwork, I cringe. I try to remember that my children are little and learning and exploring. They couldn't care less that I want to get to the grocery store before all the toilet paper on sale is gone. They're on their own timetable, so me yelling, "Get in the car in the name of all that's holy!" isn't going to accomplish anything except piss everyone off.
So, when I see that mom who isn't like me; who seems to accept that having kids takes time and patience; who seems to have the patience of a saint? Well, after I stop feeling like a horrible mother, I think of some questions that I need her to answer for me, including the following:
"Do You Meditate? Chant? Yoga?"
As hard as I try, I just cannot get the calm-as-still-water vibe going. But, you nail it, and I want to know how. You are a parenting Zen master, suffused with calm and I want to be like you when I grow up.
"Do You Even Know How To Yell?"
Like are you even physically capable? Do you have chronic laryngitis? I have never heard you so much as raise your voice, much less yell. Your kids just seem to, well, actually listen to you.
How weird is that? (Answer: very weird.)
"Do You Have One Of Those Stress Balls And, If So, How Often Are You Using Those Bad Boys?"
Your coping mechanisms are epic. I must know your secrets. Do you have a pillow you pummel? Do you practice deep breathing and count to ten over and over again? Give yourself timeouts?
I've tried it all and I still lose it with embarrassing frequency. I am frazzled and your level of chill is inspiring. Teach me the way, oh wise one.
"How Can I Be Like You?"
What books did you read? What Facebook groups are you in? I want your people to be my people. Can I be in your tribe? Will you be part of my village? I don't really have a village, but maybe we can start one? You can be the mayor.
"Are Your Kids Perfect?"
Maybe it's not you at all. Maybe your kids are just amazingly well-behaved little mini-angels that don't know how to question authority. Are they automatons? Like that little robot kid on that '80s sitcom.
"Wait, Are You Perfect?"
According to the outward appearance you got going on, you are. Your 3-year-old toddler just drew all over your white carpet with a red Sharpie then took a crap on the baby, and you're not batting an eye. You're incredible.
If that happened at my house, there would've been tears (and most likely mine). Then there would've been alcohol.
"Ok, Hold Up. Are You Medicated?"
Is that it? Are you high? Extremely medicated (and I'm hoping legally)? Who's your doctor? Can your doctor be in my village?
"You Have A Nanny, Don't You?"
Is that it? You actually have someone who helps you with the kids? Someone who shares the work and shares the stress? Is there a second set of hands around to help you maintain sanity? Another adult you can talk to, who doesn't need your help to attend to their bodily functions?
Of course, I know that mothers who are financially able to hire nannies still struggle, so don't take this question to be me throwing shade. I just need to know if, perhaps, I need to start saving my pennies for a nanny, too.
"You Had Perfect Parents, Didn't You?"
You had that idyllic childhood with rainbows and kittens, didn't you? That mythical, functional family with parents who never lost their tempers and taught you how to channel your anger into something positive, like spoken word poetry or interpretative dance.
"Are Just A Normal Mom?"
Wait, you're not a superhero? No way. You mean to tell me I just caught you on a particularly good day? The kind of day we all have, usually bookended by a few really sh*tty days? Phew.
Honestly, it's pretty great to know that you struggle, too. Because, just like me, you're a mom, and being a mom is really hard.