The groundhog. This furry little creature has reached surprising celebrity status due to the annual February 2 Groundhog Day celebration. According to legend, if it is cloudy when the groundhog emerges from his burrow, spring will arrive early. If it is sunny when the groundhog emerges and he sees his shadow, the groundhog supposedly retreats back into his den, indicating six more weeks of winter. Most of us are familiar with the 1993 movie starring Bill Murray that was based on the Groundhog Day tradition. The main character, a frustrated weatherman, finds himself reliving the same day over and over.
It’s tempting to compare my life with littles to some type of mom version of Groundhog Day. Diaper changes, refilling sippy cups, PB&J sandwiches, preschool pick up and drop off, messy mom buns and yoga pants and reheating cold coffee all.day.long. I’m guilty of complaining about this cycle, the humdrum repetition of taking care of tiny people, wiping noses and bottoms and watching the same episodes of Paw Patrol 8 times a day. It’s easy to take the attitude of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. In one scene early in the movie, he sits in a bowling alley and moans, “What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same and nothing you did mattered?” I will admit that I have had those feelings about motherhood at times. I have cried when my picky toddler threw his entire dinner onto the floor for the third time that week and peaches flew all over the dog’s fur. Sometimes I roll my eyes and say swear words under my breath when I have to ask my preschooler to put on his coat six times before he finally puts it on. My dining room table is covered with Legos and toy trains litter my kitchen floor daily. More often than not, I find plastic food in my sock drawer or under my pillow.
But you know what? The little preschooler who frustrates me with his unhurried dressing habits will be going to kindergarten in a short 8 months or so. That Groundhog Day of mom moments will change. When my boys were babies, I worried about every milestone being met, the first word, the first step. Days seemed to drag on. I’m not exactly sure when things changed. There are, of course, still days that drag on, days when bedtime seems impossibly far away. But seeing my preschooler’s too-short pajamas and outgrown toys being handed down to little brother makes me wish that time would slow down a little. I don’t want to look back and wish that I had given more snuggles, more praise or more of my attention while I had the chance.
So instead of focusing on the tiresome, tedious aspects of motherhood, here’s what I’ll do.
• I will give extra hugs and kisses whenever I can.
• I will let the pile of dirty dishes sit in the sink for a few more hours when my 5 year old asks me to watch Monsters Inc.
• I will read one more Llama Llama book even though it’s already past bedtime.
• I will drive across town to Sonic for after-preschool happy hour drinks, even though it’s a bit too close to dinnertime.
• I will get down on the floor and play superheroes instead of scrolling Facebook.
• I will strive to speak kindness, encourage, forgive, affirm, listen and love.
I know there will be days I find myself feeling frustrated and unshowered, wishing for 3 minutes to send an email, a laundry pile that’s not competing with Mt. Everest and a nanny who would magically appear on my doorstep with a Venti Starbucks drink in hand. Maybe I’ll just leave that plastic hot dog in my sock drawer to remind myself of all the Groundhog Days I was lucky enough to spend with my boys.