Hindsight :: The Importance of Scattered Legos and Coffee Dates

I am a horrible mother.

We were five minutes late for morning circle time. Again. His teachers, disappointed, but not shocked. I gave them my most remorseful look {it’s all in the eyebrows} and rotated my daughter on my hip, hoping to hide the coffee stain on my jeans and the Star Wars shirt I’ve worn twice this week.

It’s only Wednesday. 

Hindsight :: The Importance of Scattered Legos and Coffee Dates | Houston Moms Blog

It was just one of those mornings. I didn’t need to tell the nice preschool teachers that. They likely knew from the forgotten crust in my son’s eyes and my daughter’s lopsided pigtails. 

I can fail at many things before 9:00 AM. 

I kissed my son good-bye. Then again, for good luck, as they tore him from my jeggings and he screamed “Mommmmmyyyyyy, don’t goooooooo”. 

Because I am a horrible mother. I left. 

From there, we head to my favorite coffee shop. Because I need it. I’d like to blame last night’s midnight escapades on the moon, but it was most likely the chocolate I allowed them to consume after a halfway finished dinner.

Forgive me, I’m weak. And sometimes, I just need them to like me more than Daddy. 

Regardless the reason, lunar or not, I was called upon to repeatedly travel up and down the stairs bringing water, clean pull ups, and the effortless ability to soothe scary dreams. I ended up falling asleep in my son’s bed around 4:00 AM; unable to move, sleep, or stop the incessant toddler snoring. 

So, coffee shop it is. Venti would be nice. 

My daughter orders milk and toast, her usual. She grabs the dinosaur bucket and heads for an empty table. By the time I arrive, she’s making lactose-free bubbles and has licked the toast clean of all its jelly. 

Hindsight :: The Importance of Scattered Legos and Coffee Dates | Houston Moms Blog

I should have taken her to the park. Or a cool indoor playground. Something with kids and space to run and fresh air and/or chicken nuggets. I should be running around with her. At least, somewhat engaged. But instead, I cling to my coffee and the melancholy music surrounding me. And when she starts sorting the dinosaurs by height, I find myself mindlessly scrolling through IG, hoping she doesn’t ask me to play for at least ten minutes.

Enough time to finish my coffee and update my dream house Pinterest board. I’m going for a blue and white, scattered natural wood vibe. 

Because I am a horrible mother. And I just want to sit and dream for awhile. 

Later that day, as we approach hour two of an intense Enchantimals pretend birthday party, I realize I can practically smell the dirty dishes from three rooms down. I tell my daughter I have to make sure to clean the kitchen before we pick up her brother and she doesn’t seem to think that’s a good way to spend my sacred time. I have to agree, I would much rather finish season 7 of Shameless, but that doesn’t take care of the kitchen odor or seem like something a three year old would or should watch. 

So, chores it is. She cries and runs after me as I enter the kitchen. Pleading with me to continue playing and neglect whatever awaits me in the sink. 

Likely, last night’s chicken and someone else’s responsibility. 

I turn on music and try my best to clean as quickly as possible, allowing Sam Cooke to overwhelm the majority of her tantrum. 

Because I am a horrible mother. I dance as I put away the dishes, ignoring her calls. 

Hindsight :: The Importance of Scattered Legos and Coffee Dates | Houston Moms Blog

After school, I try my best to write a little while the kids are playing together. I’m frustrated because the day was long, yet I didn’t get much accomplished. I try to hold it in. The tears, the anger. I don’t want them to know. But as they approach me with a million questions and puzzle pieces, I find that the tears fall and my voice rises, no matter how tightly I ball my fists and count to ten. 

They walk away. I feel instant regret. I should have held it all in. I’m sure other mothers do. The good kind.

I put the computer away and head to the play/dining/entry room. I tell them I’m sorry and I reach out for them. But they have already moved on to another adventure, this one involves throwing legos in the air to see how they scatter. I trip over a toy and stub my toe on another. I scream all the way down. And I’ve decided I’m done. 

Hindsight :: The Importance of Scattered Legos and Coffee Dates | Houston Moms Blog

I run. They follow. 

I am granted a few precious minutes alone on the floor of my closet before they find me. Luckily, I’ve cooled down. And I think how easy it would be to stash wine between the heels I never wear and the boots I need to donate. I’m already preparing for my next breakdown.

Because I am a horrible mother. And I need to find better hiding spots. 

It’s an hour past bedtime and my husband worked late. No baths tonight. I bribe the kids into their designated room and choose to settle down the younger one first. My son, the eldest of my critters, enters his sister’s room just as I settle her down and open the first {of too many} books. My eyes turn red as I use my most MOM voice to say “you need to get back in your room NOW and lay down” and he slowly backs out of the door and leaves. 

A few minutes later, I can hear toys being played with and boxes being moved. My blood is boiling. His room was already a disaster and now I know it will be much worse and he will be wired. 

Hindsight :: The Importance of Scattered Legos and Coffee Dates | Houston Moms Blog

Before I can go in his room to reprimand the heathen, I have to convince my daughter to stay in her bed and close her eyes. Instead, she wants to play with her kitchen set. I just want this day to end.

But then I notice something. She isn’t playing. She is cleaning; putting away “dirty dishes” and pretend food in the KidKraft cabinets.

And she is singing. And dancing. And she looks so happy. She turns to me and says, “I tidy up just like mommy and make everything pretty for us!”

Then she comes up to me, reaches out her little chubby hand, and says, “This is when we dance together, just like when you clean.” 

And we dance around her room for a moment. And I forget the sad things. 

When I put her in her bed and kiss her sweet eyelashes, she tells me how she can’t wait for our coffee date tomorrow. She asks if she can wear a special dress because it’s going to be a special day and she promised her new dinosaur friends she would be there. 

She said I’m invited too. 

Hindsight :: The Importance of Scattered Legos and Coffee Dates | Houston Moms Blog

I touch my heart and take a deep breath before entering my son’s room. My daughter’s sweet and unexpected omissions have put me in a much better mood, but I know the sight of my son’s destroyed room will ruin it. I can still hear him playing as I open the door and…

His entire room is clean. I can’t even speak. 

He looks up at me from the floor with a smile big enough to crack his face. He dumps the remaining legos into another bin {he has five of them} and moves them under the table, duplicating the noise I assumed was him dumping toys on the ground. 

I am shocked. Tears well up in my eyes. He runs up to me, concerned, and hugs my legs. 

“I just wanted to make you happy! You always make me so happy when you clean my toys, I wanted to do the same thing for you.” 

I tell him how proud I am of him. How happy he has made me. And how very very sorry I am for losing my temper earlier. 

He’s confused; all he seems to recall from earlier is when we played hide and go seek. And he found me in the closet. And how tightly I hugged him after. 

He tells me I am the best at playing games. And that his new favorite is the one we played before school today, the one that made us late, the one that I made up on the spot when I dropped entire box of Cheerios and needed help cleaning them up. 

He said I make everything fun. 

And then he tells me how he made a new friend in class. His new friend loves Star Wars. And he REALLY liked my shirt. 

“I told him my mom always wears cool stuff,” he said with a proud smile. 

I guess he didn’t notice (or care about) the stain. 

And then he tells me how happy he is that I let him go to school and meet new people and learn about stars and volcanoes and the seasons and science experiments. 

I guess he didn’t really mind being left behind. 

Hindsight :: The Importance of Scattered Legos and Coffee Dates | Houston Moms Blog

He shows me the book he has picked out for tonight. I tell him that’s one of my favorites. He says, “One day, the book you write will be someone’s favorite, too! I can’t wait to show everyone what MY mom made. I think my teachers will even want to read it!”. 

I am overwhelmed with love and gratitude. I tuck him in and kiss his slightly sweaty brow, remembering the skipped bath and that mom guilt starts to creep back in. 

His next words quickly reverse any dread or doubt :: 

“And if the monster comes back tonight, I’ll make sure to call for you! I know how much you love to protect me. And if you get scared, I’ll let you sleep next to me again tonight. And then I’ll get to protect you!”

I tell him how much I love him. I tell him how much I love being his mommy. I tell him, for the hundredth time, how proud I am of him.

And I tell him he’s the best boy in the entire world. 

His eyes are closing as he whispers, it’s because I have a REALLY great mommy

Hindsight :: The Importance of Scattered Legos and Coffee Dates | Houston Moms Blog

It’s so easy to let a few moments frame our day, make us forget our worth, doubt our loving intentions. To any mother that loves her kids endlessly and needs to hear these words, you are NOT a horrible mom. You are wonderful, important, and real. 

Even if you need to peace out for a moment and hide the good booze in your closet. 


 

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3 Responses to Hindsight :: The Importance of Scattered Legos and Coffee Dates

  1. Alissa
    Alissa November 9, 2018 at 12:00 pm #

    I LOVE this, Britany! Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I think we all need these reminders!

  2. Avatar
    Mary November 11, 2018 at 10:07 pm #

    This is really great stuff. I am also a Louisiana transplant to Texas with two boys under two. I think I could have written this. If you’re interested, I would love to feature you on my blog .

  3. Avatar
    Coppelia November 26, 2018 at 2:18 pm #

    This is SO relatable! I feel like a “horrible mom” all the time! And I recently had those “I love you mom” moments with both my son and daughter that helped remind me of what you shared here, Britany! Let’s keep loving our babies the best way we can … and ask God to help us with the rest! 😀

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