Before I go to bed, I make my to-do list for tomorrow. I lay in the dark and think through what clothes are clean and what we can wear the next day. I wake up and move through the lists, things, more checking off. Grab her blanket from the dryer, throw her clothes down the stairs, brush and bow while she inhales oatmeal to the tune of Daniel Tiger. Where is her stuffy? Which stuffy are we in love with today? Check email, check mail, check recycling bin. Carry things from downstairs as you head upstairs. Keep moving, stay ahead of the next chore, move, don’t forget, keep your list going. Mom. So Hard.
We’re always in a constant stream of what’s next, what’s due, what am I forgetting.
I often put my daughter to bed and read books without a moment of connection. I can hammer out Pete the Cat all while reminding myself to put the wash in the dryer and remember to text my best friend a happy birthday.
Our intentions are good. Well, they’re necessary. Moms keep the engine running to keep the family moving. It’s a weight of motherhood we don’t always recognize and for sure don’t receive much acknowledgment for.
It was a Sunday night and I could feel that push on my shoulders as I browned some turkey meat while unloading the dishwasher because how dare I simply do one task at a time, what a waste of the precious time ticking. I wrap turkey and cheese and force us to the table because that’s what good moms do. Another to-do I can happily tick off in my mind. Home cooked meal while seated and a CHECK mama. I happy dance in my head and shove a soft tortilla in my mouth.
It’s satisfaction until I hear a tiny voice next to me.
“Do you ever wish you were a toy?” she asked.
“Hmm… I don’t know I’ve never thought about it, sounds fun.” I answered.
“Toys are so lucky. They just get to do nothing and play.” Her little 5-year-old voice answered.
I couldn’t help but smile as I’m pretty sure the toys and my daughter live very similar lives. Tea parties, movie nights and rarely enforced clean-ups.
But the question was valid and for a moment, I too envied the life of a toy. No bills, a body that stays perfectly proportioned and an endless supply of snuggles and adventure.
So, I decided maybe this little deep thinker was right. Maybe we needed a night to live like toys. We pushed the dirty dishes aside and pulled out the crayons. We sat and imagined what color hair a genie would have and what if an elephant was orange. We sat and put the worries of the week for another night and played, just like she imagined her dolls do when she heads to school.
Maybe my sink was a little extra stinky and man did I have to stay calm during the morning rush as I searched for matching socks but it felt good to let go of the to-dos for one night- we sat, we colored, we played and I checked off the greatest box of them all– being mom.