Friday, January 14, 2011

Are We There Yet?

This is a question I ask myself day in and day out. 

Are we there yet?

Are we sleeping through the night? Sure. 
Are we eating solid foods? Yes. 
Are we sitting up on our own. Check.
Are we able to get through a massive shopping trip at BJ's without a major temper tantrum? YES!!!

But be warned, mommies in the making... It doesn't necessarily get easier. 
It just gets... different. 

I've spent the past seven months wondering if things get easier. 
If getting out of the house without wrestling my daughter into a onesie will ever be possible. 
If I can get through one day without thinking I'm going to pull my hair out. 

I've watched moms with toddlers pack up a stroller like it's an Olympic sport.
They get the car unpacked with such ease, I envy them. 
They have diapers, sippy cups, toys, books, snacks, iPhones, iPads... all at the ready, prepared for any curve balls thrown their way. 
And while I've always considered myself over-prepared, nothing has ever challenged me quite like motherhood.
I'm not talking about the physical, mental, and emotional stress. I'm referring to the utter chaos that's involved with taking a child - regardless of their age - anywhere in public. 
Yesterday it took me 30 minutes to get ready to go to our neighbor's house for a play date... and she lives just next door. 
Do we have diapers? Wipes? A change of clothes? Toys? Burp cloths? Food? A spoon? My boobs? (Luckily I'll never forget my boobies.)
But these are the things that mothers do. 
We pack up the car for a simple trip to Target and it's like we're shipping off to war and don't know when we're coming back. 
Yes, it's become less of a burden to take Mackenzie to the mall or out to lunch. 
But now that she's too big to just lazily recline in her snap-and-go car seat/stroller, things have become more challenging.  She wants to sit in the big girl high chair... but immediately starts gnawing on the handrail.  She seems sturdy enough to get pushed around the grocery store in a shopping cart but can't quite remain in the child seat without lunging for every item I take off a shelf.  She's old enough to attend playgroup after stroller class but ends up eating the crayons.  
"It gets better in some ways," a mother with two toddlers recently told me.  "But in other ways it gets harder."
I see women who seem to have it all under control, prepared for the worst situation when they're out and about with their kids.  But then the potty-training 2 year old has to pee, and has to pee NOW!!!!
And then these mothers are thrown back into the thick of things, running to the nearest bathroom before an accident occurs. 
I'd like to think that it does get easier.  That every day is a new challenge, and I should just embrace the moment.  Mackenzie will surprise me every day with new sounds, new movements, and new expressions.  They're all wonderful and simply melt my heart.  
And then - as I'm balancing her on one hip while trying to steer a gargantuan shopping cart through a crowded parking lot - she'll spit up some fresh, ripe winter squash all over my hair, and we're right back where we started from. 

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