Saturday, July 27, 2013

She Ain't Crazy, She's my Mama

I say this all the time IRL ( in real life, ya'll) - I finally get why my mom had a slightly crazed look in her eye every now and then.  most of the time.

I mean, when I was a kid, I used to watch her jaw clench and her eyes go wide, and her nostrils flare and think, "Geesh, this lady has GOT to get it together.  What gives?"

I'll tell you what gives: my mother was a little nutty, and my brothers and I were to blame.

I never correlated her wild-eyed look with the fact that I had just gotten my clothes from the bottom of the folded pile on the laundry room table, toppling all of my mother's hard work with a careless tug of my favorite shorts. I never once considered that spilling a jar of pickles in the fridge and not telling anyone (or cleaning it up) could cause such inner turmoil in a grown woman. Also, I thought it was quite thoughtful of me and my brothers to hide our trash in the couch cushions. Who wants to see that?

Apparently, our thoughtful consideration was lost on Mom.

You know what, though?  Now, I get it. I get the clenched jaw, the wide eyes, and the flared nostrils.  I get sitting down to the dinner table and wishing you could click your heels three times and end up in another dimension. Just for a bit, right?

It took a few years for the truth to sink in. The first 18 months I had this idea that I was a super pulled-together woman, I thought I had this mothering thing down. Until my first child started moving, that is. Then we had more kids, and more, and more. I found myself doing things like digging through the cat littler box for car keys, finding half eaten corn cobs in bathroom drawers, and wearing maternity underwear for years because I just couldn't muster the strength to shop for new. The kids got older, and the situations got more complicated:

I'll be brushing my teeth, and Spencer will say, "Oh, good. you found my rock-cleaning brush!"

I'll be dozing blissfully to sleep at 10:30 at night after an EXTREMELY long day when cat-like screeches will jolt me awake. We don't own cats, so I quickly surmise that it is our teenage daughters fighting over clothes. They only do that after 10.

A neighbor will stop by to visit and they have to step over a rake while I run ahead of them to move 8 million legos (what do you think the rake was for????), and remove 4 rolls of toilet paper from under the couch cushion.  I would offer them something to drink, except every single cup I own is in the backyard being used for 'experiments'. Just as I think I may have gotten over the embarrassment of the entry, a child comes bursting in announcing that their little brother has smeared poop all over the toilet seat and I MUST clean it up immediately.  I just smile serenely through the whole episode, because I am envisioning another reality.

I remember visiting my parent's house a number of years ago. It seemed so neat and tidy, and Mom and Dad seemed so relaxed.  We stayed for a week, and I noticed that Mom and Dad kept exchanging glances, and sometimes openly laughed at me while I chased a naked child and puppy around the neighborhood. I will say, Dad did not laugh the 4th time the toilet clogged.  They did laugh as I pulled out of their driveway to go home, after giving assigned seats to the three angry older children, loading two dogs, and placating my toddler by giving him the whisk he had formed a strange attachment to.

So, I get it. I am in the years where I will wear a wild-eyed look, wear clothing covered in someone else's food, and only having one eyebrow nicely groomed.  Eventually, I will be in the years where I wear elegant clothes, all my hair, even facial,  is neatly styled, and I laugh at my children's experiences with their children.

Until then I am just going to practice my crazy-mama look.

We only look normal.


  1. OMG I laughed so hard because I experienced all of that myself. Only I haven't figured out when the wild eyed look goes away and in my case the the twitch that I got when my children say.."Mommmmm!" Three of my children are older now however I still get that wild eyed look at them. Now instead of toilet paper and Lego's its trying to hide the totally inappropriate boyfriend from the preacher and express in a sane way why they are inappropriate just to hear my child say "Mom you just don't get it." (I remember that phrase well) So I am waiting for my golden years when the wild eyed look can go away and sit back and laugh because I am not the only one who has it. By the way, I think your mom and my mom practiced the same faces while at mammaws in the bathroom just to throw us off because their wild eyed looks looked the same, (or maybe its because we were doing what mammaw told us not too and our parents where trying to stop us before mammaw got the wild eyed look). I love your blog so please don't ever stop.

    1. Beth, if only we had known was headed our way, we may have taken it easier on our poor mama's. :) xoxo

  2. Kara,

    You made me grin! :)

    In that season some days too,
    Jennifer Dougan

  3. Oh how you make me laugh, then smile, then laugh again! I remember my Mom telling my sister, I hope you have a child just like you someday. God is gracious to allow you to find humor in even the most challenging of moments. Bless you!