As moms, running on sheer determination and caffeine is often how we keep moving forward. Otherwise, the only alternative would be to retreat in a corner moaning incoherently or getting in the car—alone—and driving away from home just to see where the highway ends.
In lieu of running away, take a tiny moment to step back and congratulate yourself on the little accomplishments. These are the times I think I rocked it as a mom, even when no one else realized it was happening in the first place.
The top mattress of my 5-year-old son’s bunk bed was unmade for a month. I had half-heartedly tried climbing up there a couple of times but I always seemed to be holding the mattress pad sidewise and the corners kept popping off. At the end of one painfully long day, with a clingy infant who was on the verge of a meltdown, I was overtaken by the obsession to finish the job. I laid the baby on the carpeted floor, singing silly songs to keep her attention, and crawled back and forth on the top bunk battling the damned mattress pad and fitted sheet. My son came in a few minutes later, was thrilled to see the top mattress was beautifully made with his "Star Wars"sheets … and settled happily into the bottom bunk.
2. I fed my child.
When my baby decided to start squalling as soon I stepped into the grocery store, I briefly considered my options: Go home empty-handed, shop through the screams, or stick a boob in her mouth. She was already strapped in a BabyBjorn, so rather than hide in a 90-degree car, I let her go to town as I strolled down an empty aisle. I figured even without a cover, all anyone could see was the back of a tiny head pressed against the outline of my boob. At least, that’s what I assume was visible to the strange man who suddenly decided it was REALLY important to come and stare at a pencil display RIGHT NEXT TO ME. While I battled between feeling horribly uncomfortable and a little bit like Superwoman, this was my breakthrough breastfeeding moment. Since then, I’ve breastfed sans cover in a school parking lot, on a park bench and on a bale of hay in a pumpkin patch. The baby is eternally grateful.
3. I changed a diaper.
My baby only poops every three days, and when she does, it’s epic. Like, up to her neck impressive. Lately, she seems to save those blowouts for the most inconvenient times. The most recent was in the car seat atop a stroller with no bathroom, or even a halfway clean surface, in sight. So I literally rolled up my sleeves, carefully tilted her—still in the car seat—to contain a diaper full of liquidy poo and scrubbed away. She got to ride out in a clean diaper and I only got a little bit of poop on my hands.
After finding the world’s easiest recipe (seriously, one bowl, no mixer), banana bread has become a weekly staple in our house. Except for when I forget to buy bananas. I don’t know how Betty Crocker survived before Google, but it turns out you can make a reasonable facsimile with other pureed produce. The cantaloupe bread passed the 5-year-old test without any problem. The beet bread would have made it through had I done a better job of pureeing. (Turns out, little beet bits have a strong resemblance to chocolate chunks, which raises unrealistic expectations.) Next up: overripe avocados.