People always tell me my hands are full.
Persuading two 5-year-olds to stay close with a toddler on my hip and a teenager talking my other ear off as I weave through Target brings out these sorts of comments, I guess. But they kind of bug me.
Maybe because I am already a little irritable when I'm stopped mid-crazy shopping trip or maybe because, after losing a daughter, I will never feel like my hands are full or maybe because, aren't all of our hands full?
If my kids have decided to be relatively quiet on a shopping trip but the mom one aisle over has an only child who has gone all "wet noodle" in front of the bouncy balls and is screaming like he just skinned his knees on concrete, aren't her arms the full ones?
Whether you have one child or two children or 10, the truth about motherhood is that it is not easy for anyone in the everyday, every moment.
No matter how elaborately your neighbor organized her daughter's lemonade stand, no matter how perfectly manicured your sister-in-law's nails are and no matter how many runny-nosed children your best friend manages to entertain in her minivan, there is no supermom.
She doesn't exist.
There isn't a mom on the planet who can do it all perfectly from sun up until whenever she manages to lay her head down every. single. day.
And the minute we all come to terms with this, put down our recycled or paper or plastic shopping bags and just embrace the fact that we are all doing the best we can, motherhood will get a whole lot easier for everyone.
I think back to my early years of motherhood and the pressure I put on myself to read four-inch thick parenting books, to get rid of the pacifier, to visit the popular park, to join developmentally stimulating playgroups, to send a fancy-schmancy snack and I wish I could have just told myself to relax.
What makes us unique, what makes our kids unique, is the kind of parents we are, the way we decide to spend our time with them and how we handle the good days and the bad. So, your kid has seen Mommy crack in the laundry room and my kid has seen me ugly cry over the dishwasher. Let's just hope they forget that part and only remember how we pushed them on the swings until our arms were ready to fall off or how we helped them with homework until we had to prop our eyelids open with a pencil.
If you have one child, I hope he remembers an afternoon spent on your lap and you remember that one teething, nap-deprived toddler can be just as tough as a household of five busied siblings.
And if you have five children, I hope they remember filling up the couch for movie night and you remember those days you did made everyone's favorite lunch snack or managed to get them all to soccer on time.
Because we are all supermoms, making media-approved or media-exploited choices, we love our children. And if your easiest day is my hardest then that's just one more reason to lift each other up through this mom-gig and pour a universal glass of wine to clink glasses at bedtime.
We've parented our way through one more day and our kids are cute enough when they sleep that we are ready to get up the next day and fill our arms with motherhood all over again.