In honor of my 15th wedding anniversary, I thought about buying my husband the traditional piece of crystal - a clear and dazzling illustration of our love. But after yet another recent manic meltdown moment, I realized that instead of some crystal token, what he really needed was a 'How To Guide' to dealing with the semi-crazed, occasionally irrational woman known as Mom.
So here goes:
Tip #1: Mother is both a noun and verb. I need to mother: I need to nurture and protect. And as hard as I've tried, there’s no on/off switch, which leads me to ...
Tip #2: Mother and Martyr are fairly synonymous. It's a tiring, never-ending job and inevitably I will suffer and complain about my sacrifices.
Tip #3: But you can pretty much ignore my complaints because even though I may glare and scowl and snarl about the never-ending mayhem, I love the madness.
Tip #4: I do expect you to read my mind and know when I need help, even when I don’t ask. To help I'll try to think more loudly.
Tip #5: It's not personal - I can be a raving lunatic when we are alone and a congenial, jovial ray of sunshine the moment a guest arrives. I feel safe with you and can let it all out - the good, the bad and the ugly.
Tip #6: Even though I know we are supposed to raise our children to be independent, confident young men and women, I am afraid of the day when they no longer need me. So...
Tip #7: Just have a tissue handy because I've never been able to hold back the tears on the first day of school or on the last, or when he learned to bike or she raced over for one final hug.
Tip #8: The signs of an imminent meltdown are the same for me as that of an overtired two year old. When I reach my breaking point, I’m done.
Tip #9: Sometimes it just feels good to cry. Don't take it personally. And don't be too concerned. I'll usually be laughing again within seconds.
Tip #10: Although it may seem you've been relegated to the back of the line, I really haven't forgotten about you. You are still my original Number One.
So, hopefully this helps. But don't worry if you're still confused. You probably need to be a mother to understand.
Happy Anniversary. I love you..., but you'll need to excuse me, I hear the kids calling.
By Jenny Tananbaum. Jenny Tananbaum is a writer, wife and mom to three. firstname.lastname@example.org