It’s funny when Stanley says this on The Office, but not in real life people!
The scene: Picking up Josie and Cal from daycare. 2 hours and 23 minutes until bedtime.
Josie: I had a nice day! I was the smiley face leader! I shared with my friends!
Then, she refuses to get in the car. When I get a little stern, she screams.
Josie: Don’t look at me! Don’t talk to me!
Like a champ, (ahem, Mother of the Year), I trick her into getting in the carseat and teach her why she has to be buckled up. She belly laughs because she enjoys my story. I’m hilarious, obviously. I (naively) think that we’ve turned a corner that will give us anywhere from tolerable to amazing, heart-exploding moments the rest of the evening.
The scene: The bathroom. Josie is taking a bath. 1 hour and 37 minutes until bedtime.
Me: Josie, if you drink the water one more time, you’re getting out.
Josie drinks water while staring past my eyes into my soul with a smug arrogance only a threenager could pull off. I pull the plug on the drain and try to keep my blood pressure down.
Me: Josie, get out of the tub or I will get you out of the tub and you will not like it.
I wrap her in a towel and carry her, kicking and screaming, to her room.
Me: You can come out when you’ve calmed down, dried yourself off, and put your pajamas on.
Josie screams, but after 15 minutes, is down at the dinner table in mismatched jammies.
And the night continued like this – Dinner (1 hour and 3 minutes until bedtime). Teeth brushing. (41 minutes until bedtime). Toilet using (29 minutes until bedtime). Everything you could possibly think of was a battle that I didn’t even want to be fighting. (Is it bedtime yet?!?!)
Why does it seem like the world is absolutely ending when I try to wipe the mustard off of your face? Unless you had serious plans to consume the leftover mustard in the overnight hours…
Why can’t you just go pee without first throwing yourself on the bathroom floor for 5 minutes? I never have that trouble…
Why can’t you breeze through your bedtime routine so we can read books and snuggle and tell silly stories about school busses and spiders? That would’ve been a much nicer end to our day together…
Even when I plopped her into bed, she refused a hug or a kiss. Unlike her usual, “Check me LOTS!” she said nothing and rolled over. I said goodnight and closed the door.
When I peeked in to check, she was already asleep. Poor girl must’ve been super tired if she passed out a half hour early. Probably better anyhow.
I wanted to tell her that it was all ok. That tomorrow would be another chance to have a great day. To be a good listener. To be gentle and patient. To be loving and kind. I didn’t get to tell her that, but she wasn’t the one that needed to hear it. It was me. So I’m telling myself and I’m telling you that no matter your day, tomorrow is another chance. To be the best version of yourself.
Even if tonight was a run out the clock situation at your house, tomorrow doesn’t have to be that way. And even if it is, that’s ok. You might not have control of it, and you know I don’t because I take up residence with a husband, a 3-year-old, a baby, and a tiny dog with a pinched nerve. (What could go wrong?!)
But hope is for all of us. Take hold, and take heart! Tomorrow is a new day.
P.S. If you’re a regular reader and are now wondering what I could possibly give myself the Mother of the Year Award for tonight, it’s this: I “tricked” a wildly out of control Josie, who doesn’t like leftovers, into eating leftovers, by mixing BBQ sauce and mustard together for her to dip the very same meal she had last night in. No cooking for this mama tonight. Boom. Mother of the Year.