In my 20s and early 30s, wearing green, pinching the unfortunate souls who didn’t and getting wasted on St. Patrick’s Day was a required annual ritual my party hardy friends and I looked forward to. Then I had kids. Suddenly March 17 and the traditions of the day took on a different meaning. Here are five ways St. Patrick’s Day prepared me for motherhood:
1. I get pinched more often than I’d like even when I am wearing green. And poked and kicked and pushed. Most of the time it’s by accident – when I’m lifting the way-too-heavy toddler and her head bumps into my chin or the 10-year-old crashes into me as she races around the corner trying to outrun her older sister. Sometimes, though, the little one just can’t find her words and that’s when she gets physical. A fierce grab of my thigh coupled with a frustrated grunt usually means “Get off your phone and play with me already!”
2. A lot of things that shouldn’t be green are green. Forget green milk in your Lucky Charms and green water in the toilet bowl. What about the nasty green snot hanging out of your kid’s nose when she’s got The Worst Cold Ever? How about the unsavory shade of green exploding up the back of the baby’s diaper after she ate a double helping of that organic pureed spinach you whipped up? I’m not even going to go into the green variations of vomit. When you’re a mom, dealing with things that are green is less a novelty and more a way of life.
3. Leprechauns are only the tip of the magical creature iceberg. Unicorns are real as are Fairy Godmothers who insist candy is a breakfast food. Dragons can talk and love to eat tacos. The lions and giraffes at the zoo routinely visit my youngest daughter in the middle of the night, which is why she’s awake at 3:20 a.m. If my kids are going to be creative geniuses, can’t they conjure a genie who wakes them up, gets them dressed, brushes their teeth, makes them breakfast, packs their lunch boxes and drives them to school? Now that’s my kind of magic.
4. Passing out isn’t only for drunks. Back in my pre-kid life, when St. Patrick’s Day rolled around, I could drink all night with the best of ‘em, passing out dizzy and drunk whenever I got home. These days, it’s a lack of sleep that’s got me punch-drunk and the only passing out I’m doing is from sheer exhaustion.
5. You don’t have to be Irish to be lucky. My people hail mostly from Eastern Europe, Russia and Scotland. Lucky for me, it’s not only the Irish who are lucky. Yes I have to endure the physical flailing of three gangly, rambunctious offspring and wipe up their disgusting green discharge. I have to play along with a never-ending parade of adorable made-up creatures, some of who insist on keeping my kid up all night which means there are plenty of nights when I’m up all night. Motherhood isn’t always the safest, quietest, prettiest job out there, but my three kids are better than any pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Which makes me the luckiest gal in the world.
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