The young woman wanted to know her mothering secrets.
She grimaced and snorted. As she tried to list them out, her secrets felt a little bit like desperation and fatigue mixed together into shortcuts.
1. She regularly slept like a drunk on the train ride home to refresh herself before facing all the awaiting domestic evening chores. Sleep was a scarce commodity and she stole some whenever she could. Even if it meant drooling in public and taking comfort on the shoulders of complete commuting strangers.
2. She drank more coffee than was decent and she simply didn’t care what the studies said about it.
3. She was mostly organized through the next two years. Except for the unexpected, unpredictable and random – a little something called life, in other words, that kept happening every day.
4. She long ago stopped caring about perfection and learned to value completion…. Even messy completion. And when she wasn’t sure, she measured the success of things by the delight on her children’s faces.
5. She gave up many of her personal desires and ambitions – including the idea that she would ever pee alone again. But she actively planned for the day she would regain them. She needed dreams of her own to pull through the hard times.
6. Everything she wore was black and therefore interchangeable — and also capable of withstanding stains from all human fluids. She was a walking Garanimal.
7. Any part of any meal that could be purchased pre-made was a treasured thing. Especially better if the kids thought it was just as tasty as anything homemade.
8. Two of everything always seemed like a good plan.
9. Hugs solved most arguments with her children. Sometimes it was better to embrace anger – hers and theirs
– and love it away.
10. She tried to focus on the permanent and tolerate the temporary. She would always love the girls. Even if they temporarily made her absolutely nuts.