parenting: clinging to the comfort of coffee cups

Old photo, current status below. If you are a parent that has never been wide-eyed and knuckling your coffee cup, I’m not sure we can be friends. Some days, this parenting trip exhausts the hairs up my arms and the three on my two big toes. The admission to say this publicly drips green with guilt, I finger-tap-on anyway.
Because I know, deep down into my bones, that not everyday has me clinging to comforts of coffee cups.

Here’s what I do know, saying this hard stuff is not easy, but it’s harder holding it in perfecting smiles for a crowd. There’s this bubble-effect where we, as women, try to keep ourselves primed and prepped for the world. We cover our fucking dark circles as if to say to the world, “look, I’m not tired, see? No circles!” The straight-faced mom proclaiming her child never had tantrums, as mine flails in the dirt at 2. Yeah, that mom and me are not friends. There’s a mothering police regime just waiting to hop out at the playground to wrinkle their noses at your child’s PB&J on buttermilk bread. There’s the mom labels and bobble-heads pointing out your label-less parenting styles, as if we need more fucking labels in the world, attachment or not, organic or not, working or not, homeschooled or not, being called mom is label enough, people! There will be parents slithering with endless baby #2 questions, the fact that yours is already 4 is pondered as a “maybe it’s a little too late for big-brother-dome.” Those same parents are the ones with the perfect sex lives after children, the mom with the perfect vagina after birth, the perfect everything after children.
I am not one of those.
We are not one of those.
Our days are really fan-fucking-tastic and mostly, I am just hanging on by a thread dreaming of next morning’s coffee press and singing kid bop, coloring, alphabetizing, chasing, snuggling, negotiating screen time, smelling kid farts, and praising the air when the night falls so this mama can have her own nightcap. We are all the same, even when we pretend we are not. If your life is perfect, more power to you.
For the rest of us wildly imperfect people, let’s go toast a glass and play who’s turn is it to bring the cooler to the playground?
Toasting to you, parents of the world. Especially, the mamas.