QUIXOTIC: foolishly impractical especially in the pursuit of ideals; marked by rash lofty romantic ideas or extravagantly chivalrous action
The topic of motherhood seems to attract many a sentimental soul to wax poetic on the joys of raising children. Facebook and easily-forwarded emails have increased the number of these sentimental writings I come across. Here’s one:
Cooking and cleaning can wait til tomorrow
For babies grow up, I’ve learned to my sorrow
So, settle down cobwebs. Dust go to sleep
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep
These things have a place; they can inspire, comfort, and offer perspective. However, they tend to paint all of motherhood with the same brush – as if every moment is a memory to be captured and treasured. Um…have you ever cleaned poop off sheets? Found a mysterious crusty substance on your favorite black sweater? Received pre-chewed food in your hand? Heard your most annoying phrases parroted back from a toddler? Watched your kid dig deep in her nose from the FRONT ROW of the children’s story time? Sat quietly while your child told your mother-in-law what you said when the car wouldn’t start? Put socks on a squirmy two year old? Have you? Well, have you? Because those moments feel more like torture than treasures.
I get it, reminders of how fleeting time can be and how fast kids change can inspire us to make the most of the time we have and enjoy the sweet moments. But promises to “treasure each moment” or “live each day as it if was your last” are unsustainable.
No amount of perspective or rhyming will make me treasure poop removal from any surface. No, I would not knowingly spend my last hours on this earth mopping and cooking black beans. However, chances are that I’m going to wake up tomorrow to two children who will work up hearty appetites as they dance on our crumb-free floors. In my experience dust and cobwebs don’t disappear in response to verbal requests – they require feather dusters and damp rags.