“Don't Blow Your Nose on the Lettuce”
by Shauna Struessel
When I was pregnant, I held the same dream as many other mothers I know. Pushing a beautiful pram through a park with a perpetually clean and quiet child sleeping cozily awash in a perfect baby blanket – hand knitted by me after shearing the sheep myself in the spare time I found between making gourmet meals every night and keeping an immaculate home.
Apparently pregnancy hormones are better than most of the hallucinogens that were consumed at Woodstock . What they would have given for a hallucination of maternal proportions. Picture it; hippies jamming to Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Hendrix having delusions of being the perfect suburban mommy.
Why is it that we think that the snot-sicle screaming toddlers running pell-mell through Wal-Mart could only POSSIBLY belong to someone else? Because of our obvious natural talents as mothers, we could never have the kind of child that we sneak out the side door of the restaurant due to the spoonful of mashed potatoes lobbed at a large angry man in an adjacent booth.
I was shocked to find myself saying things like “don't blow your nose on the lettuce” and “please take the binky out of your bottom”. I was floored when my sweet spawn started cursing when she dropped the plastic eggs out of her play kitchen. No one prepared me for having my little lovey strip out of her dress during prayer at church and running, diaper only, full speed toward the altar. I was completely ill-equipped to deal with the realization that not only would my home never again be truly clean, I would be blessed with a miracle of water to wine magnitude to even be able to shower daily.
I love being a mom. I love the opportunity to watch this little person grow into a big person, who hopefully will stay clear of the state penitentiary and the men who frequent it. I laugh the hardest when Sloan, my two-year-old daughter, says or does something that should make me feel some sort of Martha Stewart shame at my clearly inept ability to keep my toddler under control. The thing is, in spite of the enduring lack of sleep and the mind-bending frustration of getting this tiny little individual to act in a socially acceptable way in public, this is the happiest I have ever been.
I am proud to say I feel like I've learned a thing or two about myself, my child and this life altering career path I've chosen. First of all, there's always another mother in Wal-Mart trying to corral their snot-sicle. We are not alone, ladies, but we have to stick together. Secondly, this child you are watching run amuck with a kitchen whisk and a sippy cup will eventually fall asleep; and for that, oh frazzled mommies, drop to your knees and thank the good Lord.
Shauna Struessel, is 30-year-old mother of a two year old with an adopted son on the way from Guatemala . She writes for her hometown paper in Fountain, Colo.
Boise City News