I am the most fabulous, organized, and on-the-ball mother in the world I can put on a facade of serene calm even when I am gritting my teeth so hard I am afraid they will crumble inside my mouth, I had a pregnant woman approach me when I was out with my four kids at Target the other day. She was round and glowing and beautiful in the way that women are when the creation of new life is imminent. You know, that time when you think you have all the answers. The time when you know that your child will sleep through the night, eat all their veggies, and eventually cure cancer. The time before reality sets in.
The woman approached me and complimented me on my beautiful daughters and asked me, "What's the secret?" Now that made me pause.
First off - did she not just see me teeter on the edge of sanity as I threatened one of my daughters with a lifetime spent in her room? The daughter in question had been stepping on the heels of her sister after being told to stop stepping on her sister's heels twice already. Disciplining children in public when you are really irritated, without looking like a lunatic is an art form.
Followed by - there's a secret?! Crap. If someone would have told me the secret, like, 10 years ago my life would've been seriously improved.
And finally - if there is a secret, what on earth would make you think that I know it? I'm standing in Target clawing to hold on to my sanity with a mouth full of crumbled teeth courtesy of all the tooth grinding. Clearly I am not the keeper of "the secret."
I smiled benignly, double-checked to be sure that my facade was cemented firmly in place and scanned the children's faces. I wanted them to be very clear, courtesy of my stern mommy eyes, that this was not the time for monkey business. I then told that sweet, innocent woman that she should love her child with all of her heart, every single day and always try her hardest to be the best mommy she can be. Even when she's not in the mood. I told her that everything else would fall into place. She seemed pleased with the response and went blissfully on her way.
But I neglected to elaborate. You see, everything does fall into place. But sometimes when it falls it makes a very loud crash and the earth trembles a bit.