Photo: Melanie Forstall

We all have met that certain someone in life who never seems to lose their sh*t. Recognize them? Everything is always fine, they never encounter a challenge, and they always remark about how extraordinarily wonderful everything is. They are quite possibly the worst humans on the planet.

The worst is when these people are also mothers. You know who I am talking about. They have perfect children who never cry and even if they do it doesn’t bother them in the least. They are never fazed by the stressors of mothering and they look at you like you are an alien when you tell them that you want to find new living arrangements for your youngest child. I have come to the conclusion that these individuals fall into one of three categories:

1. They are completely delusional
2. They are really good liars or
3. They are always drunk

I remember the days. And if you are a reasonable, intelligent person you will agree that you know what I’m talking about. The glitter of life had totally worn off. Tired doesn’t begin to describe it.

The days when both kids are sick and you need to give an eighteen-month-old baby a breathing treatment. That task is about as easy as licking your own armpit and truly just about as beneficial. The demands of mothering wear on you. There were days when I was so tired and lacking excitement about my own life.

I know you know. It’s usually right about the time when you have reached your limit of how many surfaces within your home can tolerate a smearing of tomato sauce. Or when the littlest decides she doesn’t need a nap, but even the mail carrier can see she needs one. In the time it takes to heat up dinner, the other one manages to effectively stop the dishwasher cycle, inappropriately text family members, and set the television language to Spanish.

There is no joy. On days like this there is just no joy.

Even now, as my kids have grown older, I can easily admit that not every day is joy-filled. As soon as I think I’m about to have my house tidied up, I hear the crash and burn. Sometimes I am not interested in hearing about suspension bridges. For crap’s sake, it would be nice to, for once, not step on a Lego while walking to the kitchen.

I hold tight to the fact that I know I’m not the only one. I am not alone in the challenge of mothering. I continue to remind myself that this is not forever— feeling this way will pass. It always does. It may take a little work but if I look hard enough I can always find the joy.

The truth is, the joy is never really gone. It just gets hidden under all of the crap we encounter during the day. It’s tucked away somewhere between a unicorn pillow pet and a left-over Buddy Fruit. Some days we just have to take a minute and look for it.

I found it.

Granted, I had to look rather hard for it, but I did find it. I knew it wasn’t gone forever I just had to open myself up to it. I found it when my daughter looked at me and earnestly asked 

“What are instant cookies?” I hugged her and began to dance. She was confused. “It means we bake! It means you don’t know what slice and bake cookies are because you and I bake! We really bake!”

I found it when I saw my son sitting in a chair that he wasn’t supposed to be in, looking ever so quite proud. I’m sure he’s thinking, ‘Lady, I single-handedly made irreversible changes to your television. I can handle the chair. Relax.”  That may not have been what he was actually thinking but what he said to me was, “Mamma.”

Joy.

There it is! Welcome back. I’ve missed you.