Motherhood: When the waves come crashing

When I was a young girl, I lived amongst the aqua-colored saltwater and sandy shores of Hawaii.

I was fond of “Boogie Boarding” in the big Hawaii waves—ones that would knock you off your feet in an instant. I particularly remember the life lesson of how to handle these “wipeouts.” When the wave knocks you over and the undertow pulls you in—and you feel, for a moment, like you’re taking a ride in a washing machine—the best thing to do is: relax. Not always the easiest thing to do when you’re disoriented and dizzy and crashing against the ocean floor, but sooner or later, the water will pop you up on its own. I learned quickly that stressing or fighting or flailing about only made the situation worse—so the best thing to do was just enjoy the ride.

I think about this sometimes on the ride of motherhood. When I’m particularly wiped out by whining and crying and not-enough-sleep and too-many-people-pooping, the best way to handle it is to simply, relax. And the more kids I have, the easier it’s become. (Mostly by necessity.)

The 2-year-old had a blowout that’s smeared in the carpet? Oh, well. The toddlers emptied all the freshly-folded clothes from the drawers and scattered them around the house? No biggie. The 1-year-old has decided she’s nocturnal—and she wants me to be, too? This too shall pass. Everyone is fussing and whining in unison? Just stay calm.

If we go with the flow and see it as just part of the ride, life will soon pop us back out of the waves—where we can breathe easy, enjoy the beautiful view before us and say: now that was worth it.


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