Have you ever seen a duck floating on the water? They look so peaceful don’t they. They just seem to be sitting there floating. But do you know what’s going on under the water? Even when it looks like the duck is perfectly still, it’s paddling ninety to nothin! They have to move their little legs super fast to stay afloat, and to keep from being washed away in the currents. (I’ve read that they don’t paddle nearly as fast when they are in relatively still waters, but that’s irrelevant to my point. 😉 So anyway….)
Do you ever feel that way as a Momma? I do! I actually think of ducks a lot. Especially when I’m out by myself with all four of the kids at a restaurant, or worse, a clothing store…! (I don’t know what exaclty happens when we walk into Kohls, but my two year old completely loses his ever-lovin mind!) I’m trying desperately at times not to lose it. At times it goes really well and it’s gotten easier as they’ve gotten older. But there are times when I have a little one that doesn’t want to cooperate, I’m trying to figure out what everyone wants to eat, someone needs to potty, and I can feel the eyes of a not so understanding couple sitting a few tables away… I’m trying not only to not get stressed, but not to act stressed. I don’t want to look like a crazy, out of control woman that can’t handle her own children and needs a three week vacation! Although, I might feel like one at times. (For that matter, I might actually be one at times.) So I think of those ducks. No matter how frantically I’m trying to stay afloat, I want to maintain a peaceful demeanor. For the sake of the kids too. It’s not helping anyone out for all their memories of doing things to be filled with Mom being a stress ball and having an anxiety attack, snapping at everyone, and giving up and rushing out in tears. Thankfully that hasn’t happened, but I’ve feared it a few times.
I can remember a particularly trying visit to IHOP. At the time my third child was my baby. She wasn’t happy at all to be there. She was being crabby and my older two were complaining that it was taking too long to get our food. Which it was. I know it wouldn’t be fair, but seriously, they should expedite orders for tables with kids! I don’t remember everything about the meal but I do remember that it was stressful. A very kind elderly man came up to me and complemented me for how calm I was. He clearly doesn’t know me personally, but that’s beside the point! He saw me as a very calm Momma and that made me feel better because I was feeling anything but calm. You know what I said in response to his compliment? I smiled and said “Calm like a duck!” He laughed and went on his way. It did make me feel a bit better, but I definitely felt like a duck that day. Paddling for dear life, to peacefully float on the surface.
So remember my mommy friends, think of our friends on the water when it’s taking everything you’ve got not to sink! You can do it. You can stay afloat, and have a good time. Generally after the overwhelming craziness calms down, you can actually have a nice conversation or laugh about something with the kids. And then you start to wonder what had you so worked up in the first place. Until it happens again…!
Smile through the trials!