As a mom, my new friendships generally spring from one of three ways:
- Shared misery over our kids’ phases
- Laying bets with other moms on when the “phase” we are both stuck in will pass
- Accidentally drinking another mom’s caramel macchiato at play dates
The universality of mommyhood crosses all ages, cultures, and places in those horrendous years from one to eighteen. That’s why it is so normal to bond with a mom of four teenagers in America all the way from where I live (in Dubai with a toddler and newborn). It’s the crazy wonder of parenting in a digital world. No matter where you are or who you are, your kids and mommyhood angst are, fortunately and unfortunately, oh too similar. This is part of what makes my Skype friendship with Brenda so enjoyable. We couldn’t be more different yet we have so much in common. She has teens, I have tiny ones. She is blonde, I am not. She has blue eyes, I don’t. She lives on a farm in northern Indiana, I live in skyscraper-clogged Dubai. But, bottom line? She’s a veteran and I’m a newbie.
I slowly realised that I kept trying to prolong every conversation and casually bring everything back to the two obstacles I currently faced every morning: my daughter’s much-dreaded, badly regressing potty training and my 2-month-old son’s unbelievable grumpiness and gassiness. I wanted the quick fixes for both of those problems and developed somewhat of a girl crush on her because she had four, did it without a back-up team, and yes, got through potty training and the colic four times over.
We’ve both been there, Brenda and I. So have you—the moments when your kids are absolutely inconsolable and you want to give them up for sanity, or just a square inch of calm. But, what Brenda and I have found is the love-hate relationship with kids’ ages doesn’t magically end. Yes, that’s right. We all fantasize that one day it’ll get magically easier. But it goes on and on and on. Each age brings new wonders. I discovered that it goes from toddler tantrums to teenage tantrums. The only thing that changes is what they’re freaking out about. Oh, and the vocabulary apparently. Can’t wait.
Toddlers to teenagers, here are twelve reasons why whatever age your kids are now is perfect because they’re not going to magically grow up and stop the phases. Until they move out of home. When you’ll miss them so much you’ll wander the house sniffing their old soccer gear. So you might as well love the phase they’re in now.
- The beautiful outfit you bought them that she stained with blueberry sherbet first time she wore it makes you at least remember to never buy sherbet again.
- I pretend that she’s the one who has to pee, and not me, so that we cut to the front of the cue in the mall washrooms.
- When I’m unsure what ice cream flavor to order, I nudge her to keep asking for sample after sample. I have been caught coaxing: “Say: ‘I can’t remember which one I liked mommy.’” She’s my ventriloquist dummy.
- She’ll only eat four possible food items, but boy oh boy she’ll eat a lot of what she likes. How can she eat a whole can of beans?
- I get free cookies because her curly hair reminds the sales lady of her granddaughter.
- I feel very loved when she runs back for an extra kiss when I drop her at nursery rather than dismiss me with an imperial “whatevs” hand wave.
- Their sweaty two-a-day practice clothes make me vomit, so clean dry clothes that don’t stink make me feel accomplished.
- When they get a speeding ticket or a new dent in their car, it takes my husband’s eyes off the month-old grapes underneath my driver’s seat.
- When I’m tempted to wear capris, they let me know I don’t want to look like Grandma. They’re personal designers.
- They keep our family healthy because they eat whatever’s in the refrigerator no matter if it’s green and fuzzy, and the extra bacteria keeps their immune systems efficient.
- I’m so known at the Superstore and all cashiers call me name because I buy 2 gallons of milk every other day.
- I feel very loved when they look me in the eyes and say “bye,” rather than slamming the door leaving me talking to an empty room.
Check out Brenda Yoder’s blog, www.brendayoder.com, ‘Life Beyond the Picket Fence’, where she writes about Life, Faith, and Parenting Beyond the Storybook Image. She is absolutely amazing and manages it ALL with four kids. Annoyingly inspiring!