Sweet, Brief Moments

posted in Best of Shakespeare's Mom, Motherhood on by with 17 Replies

I am not the mother I always thought I would be.

When I was pregnant with my twins, eagerly awaiting the arrival of my first-born children, I idealized the hell out of motherhood.

I imagined a sweet newborn on each shoulder and could almost feel their little puffs of breath on my neck.  I pictured myself smelling like cookies and sunshine, driving along and singing as tiny feet kicked happily.  I dreamed of laughing with them in a sunny field, of braiding their hair, of always, always adoring them, as they would surely adore me.

I thought I would be Marmee from Little Women, but with better hair and cuter shoes.

And then I actually became a mother.

Every parent knows what it’s really like.  If I’m singing in the car, it’s because I’m desperate for someone to stop crying.  We don’t frequent sunny fields, and my kids put up such a fight at just combing their hair that I can’t imagine trying to braid it.

The demands of motherhood get to you.  Most days, you’re not really thinking about how much you and your kids adore each other because you’re just too damn tired.  Cheerios for dinner?  Yup.  Skip bath again tonight?  Sure thing.

And yet, even as bleary-eyed as I am, even though I spent much of yesterday in tears of frustration because no one listens to me, I still find myself idealizing motherhood.

In a quiet moment when the kids are sleeping (it really only happens when they’re sleeping), I get those bright, shining images in my head again.  I think, as I lie in bed at the end of a long day, that maybe tomorrow I’ll smell like sunshine and my kids and I will really adore each other.

Motherhood is made up of more hard work than sunny picnics, but I think we have to idealize it anyway.  I don’t think we can help it.  It keeps us going, day after day.  I know full well that my children are not angels, and neither am I, except that sometimes, for sweet, brief moments, we are.

When I’m kissing one of the twins goodnight, with an aching desire to be done for the day, she takes my face in her hands, covers it with a dozen delicate kisses, and giggles.  I giggle too, and I can feel it.

When I pull a child onto my lap to tie a shoe, and she curls into me and says, “I’m in my nest,” I can feel it.

The softness of a little arm around my neck lingers, even in the face of a house covered in mess, my clothes covered in goo, my longing for a break.

Some days, the reality of motherhood is so hard that you can barely breathe; you don’t know how you’re going to make it through the next hour, let alone the next day, the next eighteen years.  You just slog through because you have to, and you feel like your entire life is made up of bad choices, bad days, and bad breath.  And it’s important to share our struggles with other parents and be completely honest.

But I think we still have to hold onto the dream version of motherhood, too.  If we don’t idealize motherhood, at least a little bit, no one will choose to have children anymore.  We’ll become a nation of old people, shuffling around in a dull, crumbling world.  So even if the lovely, idealized side of motherhood only shows itself in small moments, like pale glimpses of sunlight on a cloudy day, I’m going to keep looking for it.

It’s there.  I can feel it.


  • Idealizing motherhood when they’re sleeping. I can totally relate! It’s definitely in the mommy DNA. Great post!

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thank you! It’s kind of amazing, isn’t it, that our minds can work like that?

  • Sara V

    Bravo! I so needed to read this tonight. Thank you!

    • ShakespearesMom

      Oh, thank you! I’m so glad you could relate.

  • Oh, what a beautiful post! It’s really amazing isn’t it how one hug, kiss or “I love you” can cancel out an entire bad day?

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thank you! And yes, their sweet moments are so powerful.

  • Shannon Schmitt

    You summed EXACTLY how I feel on many days… questioning why things feel harder than I thought they would (or should?) be! Thank you for these honest words, and for helping me remember to cherish the moments that make it all worth it 🙂

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thank you for saying this – it’s nice to know other people feel the same way 🙂

  • Meredith

    This is so beautiful. I feel the exact same way. It’s all worth it in the end. Thanks for linking up! Off to tweet out this post.

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thank you! It’s kind of amazing that we can have so much love for these tiny people who just wipe us out day after day, isn’t it? Kids are powerful.

  • Joy @ Comfytown

    You’re makin me cry over here!
    Thesis pure gorgeous TRUTH!
    But they take cute pictures!

    • ShakespearesMom

      Aw, thanks, Joy!

  • mindypnightart

    Spend More Time With Your Children http://www.nightart.org/fundus.

    It does not matter if you work full time or part time. Maybe you stay at home with your children but you are working from home. Even if you stay home with your children, you are busy trying to get everything done. No matter who you are, you probably think that you are not spending enough time with your children. Quality time, that is. There are many ways to spend more time with your children.

    Your children do not need to play every sport or do every extracurricular activity out there. You could spend all of your time running your children from one practice to another. Pick just one or two activities that your children love and stick with them.

    Plan family dinners where everyone sits at the table, eats, and talks about their day.

    Make dinners special so everyone likes to spend time together while eating.

    Let your children help when you are working on things.

    They can help fix dinner, clean, and fix things. Children learn by watching and doing. Chores can turn into time together so that they are much more enjoyable.

    Do things that your children want to do.

    It is hard when the house is a mess but get on the floor and play with your children. Play games that they enjoy. Have a movie night and watch their favorite movie.

    Find things that you enjoy doing together.

    Arts and crafts can be a big hit. NightArt is helping bring parents and children together. You can design a drawing and watch it light up together.

    No one feels like they spend enough time with their children. However, you need to make the most of time spent together, instead of worrying if you are spending enough time together. Find things that you enjoy doing together, like NightArt. Check it out at http://www.nightart.org/fundus. It will bring out the artist in everyone, bringing families together.

  • Joneen

    This is so beautifully written! You have a real gift, it’s a hard thing to put the tough moments of motherhood into words. And you’ve given me a little pep talk after a regretful day! Thanks!

    • ShakespearesMom

      Oh, thank you so much! I’m glad I could give your day a little boost. You’ve made mine with your kind compliment!

  • Kimberly

    I just found your blog through Scary Mommy and I’m so glad I did. I have nearly three year old twin girls and a three month old son. While they’re the light of my life, I am overwhelmed and exhausted most of the time. I was so comforted by your words. Thank you!

  • Lightningbug

    This is one of the funniest posts that I have ever read. So spot on and heartfelt. I absolutely connect to your sentiments each.and.every.day!