The other day, someone said I had a good-looking cervix. (Okay, it was my OB/GYN.) But still, “Your cervix looks good,” coming from someone who spends her day assessing cervixes (cervices?) sounded like pretty high praise, especially considering the fact that I didn’t even try to make my cervix look nice. Before I could respond with a casually humble, “Oh, thanks! Just born that way!” she went on to say, “Yes, it looks completely normal for someone who has had three children.”
It was one of those compliments.
Like the time my four-year old commented on my “pretty-smelling perfume” only to point out that “it’s actually probably the dish soap I’m smelling.”
Or when my first-grader responds to my new knock-knock joke with “Haha! That’s a pretty good one, Mommy. But you’re still not as funny as my teacher.”
So maybe my cervix is only Post-Three-Kids normal, and maybe I only smell like perfume when I’m washing dishes, and maybe I’m no longer the smartest or funniest person in my school-aged kiddo’s life. That’s okay! Because I’m a mommy and I am loved by these three children unconditionally.
Unless I cut their waffles too small.
Or pick out the wrong socks for them to wear.
Or run out of orange juice.
Or am unable to immediately locate the precise, minuscule Lego piece absolutely necessary for the Cross-Wing Battle Droid Transporter Starship or whatever it is currently under construction.
Or forget the name of the My Little Pony… you know, that one from that show we saw one time last year where she was with the other one and she had white hair or maybe lavender hair or was light blue?…and WHY DON’T YOU REMEMBER HER NAME, MOMMY?!
Or tell them it’s time for school, or bed, or to put away the iPad.
Or sneak spinach into their smoothies.
Or notice that they need their fingernails clipped.
Or suggest that their incessant whining and complete lack of rationality indicates a need for a nap.
It’s not just compliments that can be hard to come by when you’re a mom. It’s a thankless job and we’re overworked and tired, so sometimes I find myself using selective listening to hear what I want to hear, instead of what my kids are actually saying.
“How many more bites do I have to take?” becomes “Mom, thank you for providing me with this healthy and delicious dinner!”
“I’m not wearing that” becomes “I picked out my own clothes, Mom. And I put my laundry in the basket.”
“But I wanted PANCAKES!” becomes “Fresh, homemade waffles? You’re the best, Mommy!”
“Mooooooo—-oooooo—-ooooommm!” becomes “It’s okay, Mom, we worked out the problem on our own and reached a mutually agreed-upon solution.”
And you know that silence that follows every sentence you say, then repeat, then yell, as you try to get three children out the door in the morning? They’re not ignoring your “Put your shoes on!” direction, they’ve already put them on….and their coats and their backpacks (which they packed themselves). They’re standing, ready to go, by the door as you leisurely finish your last sip of coffee and calmly find your keys (on the key hook, where they should be, of course).
A Mommy can dream, can’t she? Or at least, pretend.
Although they might not be the best at verbalizing their love and appreciation, these little beasts still show it.
They snuggle in tight while reading books.
They draw pictures of me surrounded by hearts and rainbows and stars.
They hug me with both arms around my neck and say, with heartfelt sincerity, “You’re the best Mommy I ever had!”
And when they help me put on my tiny kid-sized fairy wings, layers upon layers of sparkly necklaces, and a shiny (slightly cracked) tiara, they look at me sparkly-eyed. They tell me I look beautiful. And though my mascara is smudged, my ponytail is sloppy, and I have once again forgotten deodorant, I believe them.
Who needs a gorgeous cervix or fancy perfume when you’ve got all that?