You know Sweethearts? Those candy hearts with little messages like "Be Mine" or "Kiss Me" written on them? I love those things. I know they get a lot of flack for being among the least flavorful of candies, but I make sure to get at least one box every V-Day. There's just something about the flavor and texture and nostalgia that makes for a really satisfying little annual treat. The messages, however, sometimes need a little work and especially if they want to be relevant to my life. If candy hearts were written by moms, they would truly be the ultimate seasonal confection. (Other than Peeps, obviously. And Candy Corn. OMG and the chocolate peanut butter eggs with, like, a pound of peanut butter in them.)
First of all, if moms wrote the messages on candy hearts, we would be able to fit paragraphs on those suckers. The average person would look at it and be like, "OK, this is a tiny space: we could probably fit six, maybe eight characters." Moms would be all "First act of Hamlet, let's go. We will make it fit." Because moms know how to to make due. If I can fit a half a box of diapers, 12 snacks, three outfits, toys, a first aid kid, two blankets, a baby carrier, four water bottles, and my wallet in my diaper bag, I can manage to get more than six characters on a candy heart. Girl, please.
Secondly, "mom love" looks different than any other love in the world. Our messages must be catered to our needs and desires more precisely. For example:
"I Love You Enough To Deal With All Of Your Sh*t. Literally."
From meconium poop to milk poop to meal poop: it's all horrifying, and I wouldn't do it for anyone else. Because it's not just, "Oh dear, you've gone and had a horrible and embarrassing accident. Here, let's help you out." Literally every time you crap someone else has to deal with it and it's usually me.
Yes, part of this has to do with the fact that I am legally obligated to keep you clean and healthy, but also, I love you enough not to mind so much most of the time.
"This Candy Is Going To Wind Up Under The Seat In My Car, Isn't It?"
Just like everything else. Here's how that will go: either I will find it in a year and a half and feel ashamed that I obviously don't prioritize cleaning my car, or you're going to find it in a few months. I will see you pop it in your mouth but won't know, at that point, what it was. We will then struggle in the back seat of my sedan as I take a hooked finger to fish it out, getting kicked and possibly bitten in the process. When I discover it is a 6-month-old Valentine's Day candy, I will go into feeling ashamed that my car is a pig sty and worry that you're going to catch some sort of disease from the floor of my dirty dirty car. Either way, I'm going to feel like a slob.
"You're So Cute I Sometimes Have To Try Really Not To Laugh When I'm Scolding You"
Officially: I am not happy with your backtalk and sass. I am the parent, and this attitude is disrespectful and unacceptable.
Unofficially: You. Are. Hysterical. OMG, the pout?! The little hand on the hip?! The super-serious scowl? The fact that you are yelling at me in a little baby voice? Amazing. I am working really hard to keep it together here.
"Anyone Who Judges Me For Giving My Child Candy For Valentine's Day Can Kiss My Ass"
Seriously, you killjoys: it's a holiday. No, the candy is not organic and yes, it's loaded with sugar. It's a treat. You don't have to give it to your kids: that's fine. However, let me give my kid a mother-lovin' treat without feeling like I'm dooming them to a life of poor health and diabetes. Please. I am made to feel guilty enough about basically everything else. Let me have friggin' heart candies once a year.
"Did You Just Use Another Damn Cup?!"
What does that make? 27 cups in the last three hours? Do you need a new cup for every single drink? It's not noon and the top rack of the dishwasher is already full. Seriously, would it be so hard to use one cup? Like, even three cups — morning, noon, and night cups — I could get. However, this? Yeah, this is absurd.
(I know this subject matter isn't really Valentine's Day candy heart appropriate but I really cannot stress enough how much this irritates me, so I will spread this message by any means necessary.)
"I Forgive You For All The Massively Inconvenient Things You Have Done And Continue To Do To My Body"
"I Love Our Cuddles"
Because there is no other feeling in the world that compares to how you feel amid a cuddle session with your kid. I've cuddled my kids from infancy to present (my oldest is 5) and it never gets old. It's definitely one of those things that's awesome enough to engrave on a candy heart for all to see.
"I Love You More Than Sleep..."
Because I'm pretty sure I haven't slept more than a few hours since I became pregnant with you. Let me ask you a question: do you intentionally wake up at 5 a.m. every day, or is that something you've had to work on? Because if it takes any effort, I urge you not to continue and especially if you feel you're somehow doing me a favor.
However, if that's just how you roll, then I accept that, because I do love you. I'll deal with it (and I will seek my revenge when you're a teenager and want to sleep until noon).
"...But Also, I Love You, Sleep. So Very Much."
This is another very powerful sentiment that deserves to be carved into candy. The thing is, you don't usually realize just how much you love sleep until after you have a child. It's basically the plot of Jane Austen's Persuasion and, like in the novel, I too hope to one day be reunited with my true love...
"I Love You Enough To Watch 'Curious George' Holiday Movies For Months After They Are Relevant"
Here's the schedule in my house. Warning: there's overlap.
Happy Valentine's Day, George! February 1 - March 23
Curious George Swings Into Spring March 1 - July 14
Curious George's Halloween Boo-Fest July 15 - December 16
Curious George, A Very Monkey Christmas November 20 - March 13
"You Know I Love You Because I Haven't Sent You To Be Raised By Wolves"
Because some days, child, I truly believe that is where you come from, where you belong, and very likely where you would thrive. But I love you too much to send you back to your wolf family, so with me you shall remain, tearing through the house, destroying my furniture, peeing everywhere, and gorging yourselves on snacks you hunt out of the pantry when my back is turned.
"Let's Just Color Today"
No, let's not play this incredibly complicated board game that you don't even really know how to play anyway. Oooh, and let's definitely not take out that stupid race car track with a million parts that never works the way it's supposed to and always makes you cry. No, I also don't want to play "chase." Can't we just color? Quietly? We have all these shiny new crayons and look! It's a coloring book full of all your favorite characters! Please? Please? Just for one afternoon?
"F*ck Diamonds. Hire A House Cleaner."
Diamonds are fine, but I would appreciate coming home to an immaculate house way more than I would appreciate a hunk of rock adorning my body. I am full aware that the cleanliness would not last a terribly long time with the little tornado present, but if only for a few shining minutes every week, it would be far more dazzling than anything someone could get for me at the jewelry store in the mall.
"Love Is Never Having To Change Out Of Yoga Pants"
...unless you're just skipping pants completely, which is totally acceptable if you're not leaving the house, by the bye.
"You're Why We Can't Have Nice Things, But That's OK Because You're The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me"
Come over here, you amazing little beasty. Let me hug you. Wait is that... is that an-already-sucked-on candy heart in your hair? Gross. What does that one say? Well, that's dumb. A mom definitely doesn't write these...