I spent the last hour watching the same music video over and over, snuggled next to my toddler. As the techno music lulled us (toddlers love techno), I felt BIG emotions about life. I was high on sleep deprivation and a candy bar I had secretly eaten in the bathroom (or was it hormones that made me feel wonky?). My toddler was high on antibiotics.
I'm not sure if it was the techno or the sugar high, but something made me realize that being the mother of young kids is quite similar to being a teenager. Here are seven characteristics that my young-mom-self shares with my teen-self.
Imagine a typical Saturday. We start the day with endless hours to fill. The “adults” around us have reasonably-paced schedules that include pleasurable and perfunctory tasks; they can pretty well predict their days. Sure, we want to have a fun day, and we vaguely want to accomplish things, but let’s be honest: the entire day is a crapshoot.
It might take all of Saturday morning to get our posse out the door. As soon as one person is awake, bathed, and fed, a different person is hungry. Once that person has eaten, the first person is hungry again. Meanwhile, the second person falls back asleep. Plus, there are multiple outfit changes and the packing of supplies. We lose vast swathes of time simply getting everyone assembled.
If it’s warm outside, we’ll probably go to the park. We’ll lie in the grass and ask questions like, “Why is the sky blue?” Why is the sky blue?
If it’s cold outside, we’ll go to a café or a cheap restaurant, but only one of us will order something, and we’ll almost get kicked out for rowdiness.
At some point in our day, someone will have a huge freak-out. There will be tears and accusations. The most mature among us will try to calm the frazzled one, or the mature one may simply walk in the other direction saying, “YOU are a DRAMA QUEEN! I’m leaving!” and secretly hope that the frazzled one follows.
Really, ice cream makes everything better; it’s the ultimate reset. Let’s score some ice cream.
Now it’s time to go home. When we get there, the “adults” will ask about our day, but we’ll be too cranky to talk. We will furiously text our best friend. Our best friend understands: she’s cranky, too.
Yes, our moods are fierce. Our moods are governed by stress, hormones, and growing up, and sometimes they are bigger than we can control. We’re like half-formed people with loads of bursting energy but not a lot of restraint.
It's comforting to think that this sheer energy will one day morph, and we will no longer be new mothers but experienced ones, just as teenagers (and young kids) morph into older, more mature iterations of themselves. This is but one stage in what we hope will be a long life of mothering. It might not be the most poised stage, but as with the teenage years, we will look back and realize that these were some the best times of our lives.