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You win some, you lose some, Superwoman.

Does it ever feel like parenting is a series of wins and losses?  I am a logical and thoughtful person, and I know that parenting is not a zero-sum game.  Not a game at all, for that matter.  Sure.  Of course I know that.

But the feeling persists.  Sometimes as a quiet hum, and sometimes as a loud wail.  Today was like a wail.

This morning, for the first time in two weeks, Bug, Squish, and I were back to our morning routine.  And so, as anyone could have guessed, we had a late start.

Nevertheless, the morning proceeded to include a series of wins.  Not to brag or anything, but all of the following actually happened:
  1. Bug finished breakfast, and when I told him to go pick out his clothes for the day, he listened to me, followed my directions, and went to his room.
  2. Bug reappeared dressed in clean daytime clothes.
  3. I applauded.  When I asked Bug whether he had remembered clean undies, he reappeared two minutes later completely dressed for the day.
  4. The boys watched twenty minutes of television while I managed to shower and wash my hair.
  5. Squish visited the bathroom to ask if I was taking a shower, and when I replied that I was indeed showering, he did not freak out.  He simply played with some eyeshadow for a few minutes and then left the room.
Eventually, the three of us made it into the car and all the way to school.  During our walk from the car to the front door of school, I realized that I had not packed sneakers for Bug and Squish.  I told myself that that would be okay (because, in the big scheme of things, of course it would be okay).

Three minutes later, we were in Pre-K, and Bug turned to me: "Momma?  Did you bring my shoes?"

Bug's face fell, and all the wins from the morning paled in comparison to that moment.  There was nothing like seeing all of the other four-year-olds' sneakers and boots scattered under their cubbies to make me feel like I was not up to code as a momma.

But soon enough, I was reading a book to Bug, Bug's best little buddy, and Squish on the rug in Pre-K, and everyone was ready to start a good day.  So I dropped Squish in his classroom and headed off to work.

Work was long today.  There is no other way to put it.  At 5:25, I realized I needed to be in my car, not at my desk.  I shut down my computer, left my desk in disarray, and hurried to get Bug and Squish.

At 6:03, I got to their school.  By 6:15, Bug was climbing into his car seat while I was wrangling Squish into his seat. 

By 6:16, all hell broke loose.

Squish was leaning the upper half of his body over the side of his car seat, making it nearly impossible to buckle him in.  I kept asking him to sit up - to cooperate - to stop flopping - to stop leaning out - to stop yelling - to stop screaming. 

Which is exactly when Squish recognized the true power of The Scream.  

He stopped flopping, he then took a deep breath in, and he screamed.  He screamed so long and loud it made my head vibrate.  He took another deep breath in, and he screamed again.  I had to put my head outside of the car that time.  Another deep breath.  Another scream.

So I shut the door and took my own deep breath. 

I went to the other side of the car and buckled in Bug.  Poor Bug.  Even he looked a little tired of hearing Squish scream like that, and Bug usually loves a good scream festival.

We started the drive home, and after some more yelling and screaming from the backseat, I called my husband and put him on speakerphone (which is sometimes my escape hatch when the car feels like a pressure cooker).

After the call with my husband ended, I turned to music as a respite.

Squish requested Roar.  He yelled for it over and over and over again.  Finally, while we were at a red light, I found it and hit play.

Technically, between Squish's yelling and my hitting play, I might have said something like, "[Squish], you have to stop yelling at me.  I am trying to be a good momma.  I am driving you home right now.  I am trying to get you home safe and sound so that you can have dinner and calm down.  And I cannot take you yelling at me for another second.  Please stop yelling at me.  No more yelling."

And the truth is that those words did not come out in a patient and saintly parent way, they came out in a sad, struggly, at-the-end-of-my-rope kind of way. 

When Roar ended, Squish yelled to hear Superwoman.   

So I played it, and I started to cry. 

Which is nothing like Superwoman, now, is it? 

Superwoman does not cry while her kids are in the car. 

Superwoman does not get to daycare late to pick up her little bubs. 

She does not feel so overworked and tired from nothing more than a Monday that she loses her mind in the same fashion as her two-year-old. 

She does not find herself driving down her street at 6:45 pm, wondering how late her kids' bedtime will have to be tonight.

By 6:45 pm, Superwoman has already finished her work day, picked up her children, driven home, made dinner (of which her superchildren ate every bite), put her children into their pajamas and settled them onto the couch for twenty minutes of educational public television, so that she can do the dishes and clean the kitchen before they are ready for bedtime stories and a graceful, easy bedtime.

So, if there really is a Superwoman out there, maybe she could find a couple of hours to come by and do my laundry tonight. 

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