Saturday, January 5, 2013

Chipotle is like motherhood

The other night while I was reading, I came across a term to describe this time in my life (when the kids are all young, and incredibly dependent upon Randy and I for assistance with nearly every task they perform).  The term was 'intense parenting', and I've been rolling that around in my head for the past few days, and boy is that author right.  Parenting is intense.

I know I don't have first hand experience of parenting children older than 6, so I can't speak to the unforeseen challenges, trials, and (hopefully) triumphs we will experience as our kids grow up.  But, I can speak to the way in which life has been altered (for the better) since becoming a mom in 2006.

There are so many things to say about the positive and amazing impact becoming a mom has had on my life.  I honestly know even I can't find enough words to describe the contentment and love I feel when the kids give me a hug, a kiss, and a 'cuggle', or when I witness them showing they've actually started applying the little 'life lessons' I've been working so hard to instill in their ever-expanding characters.  Parenting truly and honestly is the single most rewarding thing I'll ever do with my life, and I recognize my blessings each day and thank God for the awesome experience of being a mom.

But let's be honest.

Sometimes, you wanna rip your hair out.

Earlier today, I had one of those moments.  
We needed to run a few errands, and thanks to a toddler who partied until nearly midnight last night, we got kind of a later start than I'd hoped because she slept in.  That put our errand-running right smack in the midst of lunch time.  So, before getting haircuts for the boys, we made a pit stop at Chipotle.  I'll admit, I was kind of craving some Chick-Fil-A (which is weird...because if I crave that, it's always on a Sunday, when they're closed), but when I recalled the cesspool that is their children's play area, I gave up the dream of waffle fries dipped in Polynesian sauce and opted for a little burrito bowl action instead.

When we approached the counter to order, I was glad to be reminded of their very limited children's menu (and was simultaneously happy that cheese quesadillas are always a good 'go to' that the kids will all eat).  I figured the limitations in selections would equal a quick and relatively painless ordering process, thus keeping the line moving, my sanity levels down, and get the kid's tummies filled quickly.  

Then, it began.  The questions.  Tacos or quesadillas?  Cheese or meat?  White rice or brown?  Black beans or pinto?  What kind of meat?  Mild, medium, corn, green, or hot salsa?  Cheese?  Sour cream? Guacamole?  Would you like chips and salsa?  (Mild, medium, corn, green, or hot salsa?)   What would you like to drink? ( this point?  Tequila!)  This barrage of questions came from not one, not two, but three different Chipotle employees, all of whom were asking at different points in each of the three kid's meal preparation process.  And it wasn't just the rapid-fire line of questioning that I had to respond to...oh, no.  Remember...I'm 'intensely parenting' right now, so I had to take the question from Ms. Chipotle and then rephrase it in a way that made the options sound more appealing to my children, therefore inspiring them to eat every bite of their $6.00 meal.  

Sure enough "Black beans or pinto?" metamorphosed into, "Sweetie, would you like the beans that are black--no, they're not bugs--, or the beans that are beige?  Beige means light brown.  What?  No, it's like mixing brown with white.  Huh? and yellow make orange.  What beans would you like?  Very good, yellow and blue make purple.  What kind of beans do you want?  Pink is just light red.  NOW TELL ME WHAT KIND OF BEANS YOU WANT!  Black?  I don't think you like those.  Pinto.  She'll have the pinto."

I'm good at multi-tasking, and waited tables for nearly eight years, but good heavens.  My head was spinning.  And I wasn't alone in this venture...Randy was at the front end of the line, fielding questions for the finishing touches on the meals at pretty much the same rate.  It was madness.  By the time all was said and done and we were seated in the (nearest) bench, I had no idea what I'd ordered and was therefore pretty disappointed that the burrito bowl I had in front of me was nothing like the I had planned in my head as we trudged across the parking lot and into the damn restaurant in the first place.

As I ate, I thought about how funny it is that we wound up choosing a place to eat where we were peppered with repetitive questions and annoyed glances when we didn't respond quickly enough.  That's pretty much what life outside Chipotle is like on a daily basis, and I know anyone with little ones (or who teaches little ones), can raise their white flag in surrender and concur with me. 

That concept of 'intense parenting'?  Yeah, I'm living it right now.  Each day is filled from sun-up to sun-down (and beyond...who else has a baby/toddler who thinks the party rages on until late night?) with questions, demands (polite requests if I've done my job re-teaching manners for the 943rd time this week), and tattles.  Love them as I may, there are moments when I have to yell out, "WHAT KIND OF BEANS DO YOU WANT?" to get a moment of peace (read: fear) so I can clear my head, count to 10 (or 20), and start over in a more 'mommy' way.

Many of the girls I know--many through the magical land of Facebook--are in the midst of this 'intense parenting' phase as well.  It's great to have the connections with them so we can commiserate, ask advice, share tips and tricks, or flat out just vent our frustrations (I'm guilty of doing all four--probably more than the average bear!).  Some of these girls I went to school with (as far back as elementary!), while others I've met along the path of life, and there are even a few whom I have not officially 'met' (at least, it's been so long, it would be like meeting for the first time anyhow).  The beauty of being able to reach out and share the connection with these moms provides the kind of support that we need as women.  I'm grateful for each of the girls I'm *friends* with, because every one of them has helped support me in some way as I navigate the path of mommy hood.  Bumps, turns, forks in the road, and dead moms have to stick together.  

because some days, life is just too demanding for pants.

or...I'm too tired to argue with a toddler.

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