WHERE IS MY FREAKING MOM MANUAL?
I know. Motherhood doesn’t come with one. There’s a trillion books out there covering everything from labor to childbirth to snotty noses to preschool, but the real shit? Nowhere to be found. Where’s my freaking manual? Cuz I need it, today. And I’m not sorry.
I want my damn manual.
Perhaps you’re the mom I talked about last week and perhaps you have it all figured out. Like you probably have all your christmas shopping done and wrapped. And your wrap probably has that perfect skinny paper source ribbon. And you probably slipped a little Tree branch in there just to make it pinterest perfect. Fucking fantastic. You win. You probably don’t sweat the croup, or vomit or twins doing both simultaneously at the same time while your husband is hitting golf balls (I mean writing songs) in Florida. Congratulations. You win. You don’t need a manual. You got it all figured out.
Well I don’t. And here’s the full truth. The full skinny on why.
Maybe I need thicker skin to surpass each obstacle that comes my way. Or maybe I just need to vent across the internet space because perhaps there's someone out there in space that feels the same way too. Maybe you’re wondering where you mommy manual is. Like, they tell you how babies are made and how they come out, but the manual doesn’t quite set you up for real hard statistics. Or truth. Or that you might go number two while delivering baby number 1. Or that your first sex after childbirth is hell. I could dedicate a whole book to that hell. Living hell on earth.
You see, mommy needs direction. She craves it. She can create destiny and all it’s glory but when it comes to the nitty gritty, i.e., 3 sick kids under 6 and no husband in sight (due to work), she’s searching. She’s praying. She’s crying.
Like last night. Just when you think you got the sick twin toddlers to bed and the kitchen sink emptied and clean, there’s homework. And when the 6 year old gets a couple questions wrong on fast math and has a full on breakdown at the 8 o’clock hour and proceeds to tell you that her friend at school is rolling her eyes at her not wanting to play and that “no one wants to play with me at school, I just wish I could stay home”, FULL STOP.
A mother’s heart immediately shatters into a million pieces and although her fit that preceded this admission that school sucks and “I hate myself” (yes she said this and I died) I immediately stopped and felt failure upon my presence. My gut instincts rushed in to hold her and squeeze her wet tears to mine and tell her to never every utter those words again. That her 6 year old is self is wonderful and smart and kind and that makes “herself” beautiful and amazing and a million times worthy.
I went on to cry with her and tell her what phrases to practice instead of saying such vile things. And I held her. And despite believing I needed a manual, I somehow forgot that I needed one. Because the only thing I could draw from is how I was feeling and how I wanted her to feel in that very moment. I wanted her to feel loved. Period.
There is no manual anywhere detailed enough to explain the deliberate ups and downs that make up motherhood. Or marriage for that matter. And knowing this sort of simple strategy, the kind where you desperately need a freakin’ manual and you cry for it and pray for it while consoling your child and trying to make it better, you suddenly realize you just made it all up. And whatever information it was that you needed you created on the spot. And self doubt dissipated while you reached for the solution.
But I still want my manual. Because despite my winning efforts as I viewed the results post mental sad breakdown of a 6 year old, after putting her to bed, finishing the dishes and sitting down on the couch onto my heating pad (yes I’m 80), I cried me a river. I saw sadness and disappointment and rage run through my veins for a good 1 1/2 minutes. And I felt sad. But following that sadness I felt one thing that knowingly would make everything better.
I had done good. I had survived. I was awake. And in touch. And recognizable. My old self would’ve crumbled in this scenario. Well, maybe not. But struggled might be the word. And although in real time it was a struggle getting through this particular day, I sat there and saw my true self take on the very thing that is motherhood, hold it in my hand like the gift God granted me, and prayed for grace and peace in my heart. And although the manual was off in a far away distant fictional land, it proved unnecessary and unwanted. As I found truth in the place of self doubt. And for the record, that is definitely worth something.