On the best days I patiently, creatively ward off Monsters. I am able to convince my children that we have magic Monster-proof paint on our house, or that the Monster is actually very tiny and wearing a tutu and singing Puff the Magic Dragon.
On the worst days, I get horribly, loudly frustrated when my child comes upstairs for the fiftieth time, “Just go to freaking bed, already!” is the last thing they hear from me before they go to sleep.
On the best days, everyone is groomed, including me. Clean, sweet-smelling children. Nails clipped, hair combed and braided, faces free of food or boogers or whatever that brown stuff is.
On the worst days, they walk around like little wild animals and the first time I see myself is in the mirror as I brush my teeth going to bed at night. I am usually a little frightened by what I see.
On the best days, I look them in the eyes when they talk to me. I put the computer down. I get down on the floor. I mentally force the memory of their sweet voice saying, “Mama, Wook!” to stay with me forever.
On the worst days I say, “Oh my god, you need to stop singing that song right now before I fling myself out the window.”
On the best days, I can sit and watch without intervening as my child attempts for the thirtieth time to put their favorite, stained, disgusting t-shirt on in the right direction. I don’t reach forward to help them even once.
On the worst days, I wrestle them into their clothes. The ones that I want them to wear. They cry. Their blotchy face clashing mightily with their beautifully coordinated outfit.
On the best days, I am the memory-keeper of their lives. I am the one who will tell them that, at seven, they seemed physically unable to sit down at the dinner table or that, once, at two, after sitting on the potty they looked down and said, “Holy Shit!”
On the worst days, I say “Hurry Up!” over and over and I rush around and I look past them toward whatever I have to do next. And I forget.
On the best days, I look away from the mess; the clothes, the dishes, the floors, the bills, the whatever whatever. I say, “Do you want to go outside and go for a walk?” And everyone is so ridiculously excited about this that I feel bad for not looking away more often.
On the worst days, I let the stress of living life get to me. I talk with that Crazy Mom voice that I don’t even know that I have. It happens.
On the best days, when the homework crying inevitably appears, I slide the work aside and give them a hug because it isn’t always that important.
On the worst days, when the homework crying inevitably appears, I talk and talk until even I don’t understand what I’m saying. And I realize once again why I could never homeschool.
On the best days, I take a large dose of Chill The F*&$ Out. I take it and I do, I chill out. Life is usually not that big of a deal.
On the worst days, I push and try to control everything and ultimately fail and then feel bad and Ugh. Why.
On the best days, I sit and I read to them. I read and I read until they are ready to be done reading. I read until piles of books line the side of the chair and they look at me hopefully, “One more?”
On the worst days, I don’t have any time to read. Not even one moment to read to them.
On the best days, I think, “Please remember this.”
And on the worst, I hope they forget.