When Life Hands you Kids, Make Lemonade

I have to be honest right upfront…you know that shirt that’s been making its social media rounds

No? Haven’t seen that one yet? Maybe it just pops up for me because Facebook knows me too well. I AM the world’s okayist mom. All. The. Time.

Sometimes I like to daydream that maybe, just maybe, someone someday will pick me up and plop me on a platform to award me the World’s BEST Mom gold medal, but then I feel my daughters’ little fingers (yes, daugherS’ plural, and yes, fingerS plural…no typos there) poking their way into my nose and I snap out of my daydream and whine at them to please stop, mommy needs a little break. And it’s true, mommies always need little breaks, right? We constantly push children off of us in order to cook dinner. We relish the times when we’re able to grocery shop by ourselves. We vie for the day when we’ll be able to take a shower in peace and quiet again instead of being crowded by tiny little butts, connected to tiny little heads all crying because they have soap in their eyes.

We put a pool in our backyard this summer. I know…you should feel jealous. It’s awesome. Better than awesome. It’s a double helping of incredible complete with extra gravy. We made the conscious decision to not sign our daughters up for any summer camps and took the leap to say no to unnecessary obligations, trips, logistics, and any other noises that buzzed in our ears. In the words of Dick Van Dyke as Edgar Hopper in What a Way to Go, we chose to “Simplify, Simplify, Simplify!”

And it was lovely. I committed to only cooking easy pool-side meals instead of trying to impress everyone with my incredible gourmet cuisine (note the word trying). I didn’t feel like a bum for not putting makeup on or doing my hair because, hey, I was just going to jump in the pool. I left my phone inside all day because who wants to risk their precious device getting splashed by giggling children?? I bought about a gazillion new swimming suits and got into the pool with my children — letting them climb all over me. It’s somehow more tolerable in a pool…I don’t know.

We had some friends over one day and I joked that it was shaping up to be the least productive summer ever! My friend looked out at the pool where our kids where splashing and laughing with the biggest smiles on their faces — like there wasn’t a care in the world, and he asked me, “Don’t you mean the MOST productive summer?” And of course, he was right. I was there. I was fully present with my family. And it was SO FREAKIN’ FUN! For a couple of blissful months, I let go of adulting and got to be on the same level as my kids. I fully earned that WORLD’S BEST MOM gold medal.

that’s not actually me in the pool with my daughters..it’s their swim teacher. I was just too lazy to look for another picture. Call it summer mode

Until one day when my daughters wanted to run a lemonade stand. Let me paint the picture: my girls don’t half-ass their lemonade stands. They insist on making fresh-squeezed lemonade table side for their customers. This means a trip to the grocery store because who has two dozen lemons laying around. Plus, I’m in charge of boiling down a simple syrup for them. They must have their insanely awkward-to-carry picnic table complete with umbrella hauled down to the bottom of the driveway. They’d be crushed if I didn’t scrounge up their cash box. Yes, they have a cash box. All things said, it’s not a huge deal, but it’s enough of a deal that it’s sometimes hard to say yes to. As most things parent-related are, right? It’s like, if I come up with an idea of something do to, I’m totally game. But, the second theycome up with an idea and ask me to help? I get all shifty and come up with a million excuses why I can’t participate. And it’s always the dumbest stuff!

“Hey mom, could you read this book to me?”
​“Uhh….well…not right now. I really need to…uh….poop.”

- or —

“Mommy, will you play dress up with me?”
“Sorry, I need to start dinner.”
“Didn’t we just eat lunch?”
“Yeah…it’s going to take a long time to prep.”

Why is saying yes to our kids so hard? Seriously, I don’t get it. So, I choked down all my excuses and agreed to help out with the lemonade stand. And, of course, as anyone could predict, it was (and always is) awesome.

We made the choice to have children and took full responsibility for all the…well, responsibilities of parenting. And it’s a total catch 22, because all the responsibilities of parenting keep us from having fun with our kids! But, my friend was exactly right — any time I can give those responsibilities the finger and be fully present with my kids over being an adult? Those are my most productive moments.

Mama, author, singer, and lover of all things random. Not afraid to drink pickle juice straight out of the jar