Like when you find poop smeared on the bathroom wall and begin wondering whose hands are clearly not clean. That's definitely up there on the list of "Things I'd Rather Not Deal With."
Other list makers would be the toy in the unflushed toilet, the soaking-wet roll of toilet paper sitting on the counter, or the wet toilet seat in the middle of the night.
You might be thinking that all parental struggles are centered around the bathroom. This assumption would likely land any babysitter in a heap of trouble.
Anticipating the unanticipatable is the true mark of a parent.
Knowing that the shoe in your two year old's hand is about to be thrown into the dog kennel (the trick is being fast enough to stop it).
Knowing when "My tummy hurts" means "I don't want to do chores" and when it means "Grab a bucket Mom, I'm about to vomit."
Knowing your pile of folded clothes will never win in a battle with the toddler.
My favorite unanticipatable, however, is the immense silence--the calm before the storm, the eye of the hurricane, the tide before the tsunami--that marks true destruction and mischief. Like eating a tube of toothpaste or tearing pages out of books.
Then there are the struggles that come from innocent curiosity.
"If they can't have babies then maybe they should practice the sex thing more."
How does a parent respond to these? After all you are the one who taught them in the first place surely you have an explanation for:
"Why does the baby keep biting your breast?"
"Why can't I kiss you like Daddy does, I love you too!?"
"Why can't we say 'crap.' You do?"
There are days, and more recently nights, when I consider my options on more children. I truly love all of mine with the fierceness of a mother bear, but it seems as if getting up four times a night was easier when I was 21. Then again, at 21 I had one child and plenty of time for naps. Now I have four... three of which get up at night still and two who, when unsupervised for any substantial length of time, wreak havoc on my house.
So I consider my options and I try to have patience. Maybe someday I'll want more children, maybe I'll feel that burning desire within my womb... someday, but not today. Definitely not today.
Which makes me wonder, does my Mommy GPA go down for not smiling through it all? I've been taught that enduring to the end doesn't mean surviving to the end. So are there marks against me for hiding out in my bedroom? Taking longer than needed in the bathroom? Giving the kids extra naps just because I need alone time?
How about locking them outside? Or threatening bodily injury (not inducing, just threatening)? What if I stick them in front of the TV all day long?
What makes an A+ and what makes a D in mothering? And what exactly does my report card look like?
Cannwin spends her time searching for her inner Shakespeare in the hopes that one day she will be able to dethrone the king and take her place as the greatest writer of all time. She currently resides in South Dakota with her husband and four children. You can explore more of her world at The Great and Random Ramblings of Cannwin, The Literary Soundtrack, and askCannwin.