I don’t need to tell you this, but sometimes life is just exhausting. And difficult. And seemingly unwinnable. And, if you have a small child, snotty. As in, there just might be actual snot everywhere.
Some weeks, it threatens to overwhelm you and make you want to hide under the covers until someone brings you a margarita, bribes you with a foot rub and informs you that you’ve won MegaMillions.
Most days, we carry on and do our best to hold it together. But some days, we need a little help. And often, just a little will do the trick.
Here are a few things that can change my perspective instantly…if I really look at them and let them.
Whenever I think of a happy family, one thing that always pops to mind is a refrigerator adorned with kiddie art. Haphazard fingerpainting, a 3-year-old’s rendition of her family, art projects and gold stars from preschool. I can practically hear the echoes of kiddie laughter when I see one that’s all decked out—and now I have one of my very own to make me smile.
A DAD CARRYING HIS CHILD ON HIS SHOULDERS
Even before I even thought about having kids, I’d see a dad with his kids and just melt. It’s that mixture of strength and sweetness that gets me every time and makes me forget whatever’s making me roll my eyes at my husband that day. These are my boys. (On the left. Though the two on the right are also pretty cute.)
My baby before my baby. She drives me nuts because she often acts like a toddler herself, but she is sweet and snuggly and such an integral part of our little family unit. And she’s no dummy: She knows that she gets all sorts of wonderful mommy time as soon as the other little monster goes to sleep, and she never squanders it.
A COCKTAIL AND A PEDICURE—TOGETHER
Oh, yes, this happens two blocks from my apartment.
A COMPLETELY UNEXPECTED HOMEMADE GIFT
My babysitter is a godsend. Sweet, creative, caring, with energy to spare, and my little guy adores her. If you follow me on Facebook (and if you don’t, please do!), you’ll see all sorts of amazing crafts and activities that she does with my son. But this very cool, Anthropologie-style wooden plaque with an image of my son is something she made for me, just because, in her spare time at home.
I was trying to decide what to wear when my 2-year-old came into the room, looked at my skirt and said, “Beautiful.” Then he wrapped his arms around my legs and gave me a big hug. That was, hands-down, the easiest wardrobe decision I’ve ever made.
SEEING MY SON WITH A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT
He lights up whenever he sees a piano, a guitar, a violin, a trombone, a piccolo, you name it (and he does), and at home, he plays “conductor” with the remote, a wooden spoon or literally whatever’s handy. As a mom, I love that he loves something this creative this much. It also makes me wonder what he’ll be like in 20 years. Will he be the next Mozart? Have his own garage band? Love Billy Joel as much as I do? Who knows, but whatever it is, it will always put a smile on my face.
It was as delicious as it looked. Even better, my husband surprised me with it on a random day. Best. Husband. Ever.
THE OCCASIONAL ABSURDITY OF MY LIFE
I thank God every minute of every day for my son. And for my pup. And for my Ergo, which my 2-year-old still miraculously fits in at 37 pounds. But when I put them all together for a walk three times a day when my husband is out of town, usually when it’s torrentially downpouring, 105 degrees out and neither the dog nor baby is feeling well, I have to laugh. Because if I don’t, I will cry. This is my life—it is ridiculous sometimes, but I love it.