Thursday, May 22, 2014

Peanut Butter Jelly and a Baseball Bat

"Peanut butter jelly. Peanut butter jelly. Peanut butter jelly and a baseball bat" is being chanted at me from behind the only bedroom door in our house armed with a lattice gate.

The tone: loud and sassy. 
The intention: to drive me batshit crazy.

The other day I met up with a few ladies I used to hang out with in high school at our community resource center's playgroup. These ladies have small babies and toddlers as well and eventually we found ourselves chatting about our own recent parenting behaviors. Now, before I go any further, I would like you to predict, based on the current trend in attitudes seen all over the Internet by mothers about mothers, if you think this conversation was filled with brutal honestly or fluffy lies. What do you think?

Well, hold on to your undies ladies... for the first time, in a very long time, I had a conversation with women about parenting that appeared to be completely honest. It was like there was no filters. We just kinda let it out. We talked about how it was. Like... exactly how it was.

I'm not sure if it was because I had a two week old baby at home and I hadn't slept in a week or what, but I had no problem referring to a burn-out moment a few weeks ago when I jammed the breaks on while driving down the highway in order to scare my child into thinking that I don't make empty promises and I WOULD indeed stop the car and leave her on the side of the road in the rain with the bears... if she didn't shut up.  

It flowed out of my lips like gossip at the prom and after I stopped talking it didn't appear that they thought I was crazy. It was a miracle. And then suddenly, upon realizing that I was not being judged by these fellow mothers, a large mass was lifted off my weighted and spit-laden shoulders.

Next one of them chimed in with her own two cents and a smile and said to me in so many words: Isn't it crazy that we don't often talk about the real stuff that happens to us at home? Isn't it weird that we would never know this about each other if it wasn't for this conversation? We shared an honest chat about what it's really like behind the closed doors of our living rooms or cars. At this moment in time in seemed like each of us were searching for someone else to relate to and for a brief moment, we found it.
We need more of this. Online. In person. Anytime. Everywhere. We need to tell the truth. We all get frustrated by our children. We all have moments we wish we had someone to ask "Am I crazy or is my child really being an arsehole right now?" 

We are all pushed to the limits at some moment in time by our children and we need to know we are not alone. Why are we so scared to talk to other mothers about our experiences? Somehow we all become scared that we aren't going to look like we are doing a good job, meanwhile we are all doing the best we can which is usually a great job. If our kids are "bad" is that really a reflection that we are "bad" too? Ummm no. I'm good. My kid is just "bad". HA-HA-HA.

On social media, where we all spend the majority of our time interacting with each other, I am definitely guilty of only posting pictures of happy children, doing happy things and almost always posting status updates about things that aren't an exact reflection of what is going on in my mind.

For instance, it's not likely this very real picture of how my children behave MOST of the time would ever make it to my instagram.

But this one would. 

And... "OMG if my child doesn't stop screaming the peanut butter jelly baseball bat song while she is supposed to be napping I am going to find my own baseball bat and..." would not likely ever be a Facebook status of mine, but it sure as hell would be a very accurate description of what was going on in my mind at around 2:15 this afternoon! 

But ya know what? That's OK because as long as I can find a mother somewhere once in a while to talk to about the real stuff, I'll be just fine leaving out all the ugly stuff.

We aren't alone, and finding that out is truly inspiring.

So. Who's in the mood for a PB&J?

Love, Kate

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