Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

God's Standup Routine

I have a theory about motherhood. The theory is that just when you think you have it figured out, God throws you a curveball. I call it God's sense of humor. If, for instance, your first child is quiet and well-behaved, you eventually decide that child-rearing isn't nearly as bad as you expected. Then, POOF!, comes child #2 who seems to be the devil's spawn. (Oh, come on! Am I really exaggerating?) That's the beautiful and confusing thing about children - no two are alike, and, therefore, your parenting technique that worked effortlessly on one, will have zero effect on #2.

See, I think that God wants us to be well-rounded individuals and parents. If we only knew how to parent one type of child, we'd never chaperone a field trip or lead a Brownie meeting. We need these skills, not just to deal with our own brood, but to have any chance of understanding the grimy little friends that Billy or Suzie will eventually drag home one day.

If you believe that God is looking down on us, snacking on ethereal popcorn and soda, watching us humans like a great epic film, there have to be some light moments in this full-length feature. Even "Gone Like the Wind" had a couple of giggles. So he sees us, hears us being glib (thank you Tom Cruise) and decides, "Hmmm, let's mix it up a little." Your kids are behaving like little angels? Enter the new children who just moved in down the street. Their parents have taught them to be one with nature and animals, free and easy and to be TOTALLY honest. Suddenly, Suzie tells you: "Mom, your car is an evil gas guzzler and your makeup is tested on innocent animals." Huh?! And Billy chimes in: "Hey Mom, what's really so bad about marijuana anyway? Don't you think it should be legalized?"

God's sense of humor is boundless. When you think you've found the perfect school, your child will then be put in a classroom with the craziest nun since Sister Mary Holy Water. Feeling like you've mastered the art of making lunches? Suddenly Suzie decides to become a Vegan. Did your first child excel at classical piano lessons? Well, then it's only fitting that the second will take a serious interest in death metal guitar.

The point is that to make it in this world, mothers have to be compassionate, flexible, patient and have a damn good sense of humor. How else do you cope when you're driving alone to your parents' house 90 miles away with two children under the age of 5 and the older one decides to throw up....all over your car? Sure, you could cry, but the kids aren't going to pat you on the back and tell you everything's going to be OK. Oh, and nobody else is going to clean up the car either.

Somehow, you have to dig deep and find the humor in every situation. Because it's almost always there. Maybe the humor will be the outrageous story that you'll tell your girlfriends or the incredible embarassment that you suffered at the hands of your little darlings. Either way, it'll be character-building and hysterical.

There's another benefit to appreciating God's sense of humor: it gives us compassion to get through another day of motherhood. Haven't you ever been at your wit's end when a friend shares a story with you that makes you think: "Thank God I'm not the only one!"

If motherhood is a sorority, and it is, then sticking together must be through thick and thin, horrifying and hilarious. And when we emerge, years later, and our offspring are offspringing their own, don't you think that we, and God, will get a huge chuckle out of that next chapter?


At 8:19 PM , Blogger Mother Hypocrite said...

Hi Karen: A good friend of mine always tells me "God sends you the children He wants you to have. The question is why." I've concluded that God sent me my first child so that I could develop humility and a sense of humor. It seems to be working!


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