Over the weekend, I flew with my kids, ages 5 and almost 2. My younger one is still eligible to be a lap infant and we take advantage of that because after take off, I can wedge him in between me and my 5 year old… He just fits. But flying with an almost 2 year old who is already showing signs of the terrible twos is not easy, especially when he's exhausted and in need of a nap. On the outbound flight, my little one became that kid that even those with kids loathe when flying. Screaming, kicking, out of control. For 15 straight minutes, he was a nightmare. And in the middle of it all, all I could do is feel bad for the other people on the flight who had to listen to this. Eventually, he fell asleep.
Fast forward to the return flight. While he didn't scream like on the outbound flight, after the first hour of a 3 hour flight (from boarding until deplaning), nothing was making this kid happy. I spent the next two hours doing everything I could to distract him. After we landed, a "neighbor" from the next row praised me, telling me I deserve the "mother of the year" award.
All I could think at the time was, "is she kidding?" How could she tell me I'm a candidate for mother of the year when my kid has been so out of control? Later, when I had time to think about it, it occurred to me. I guess because of my effort. Motherhood is not like other careers. It's not about perfection. It's about doing the best you can. It's about being present and trying different ways to get the result you're looking for. Creativity. Patience. Crisis.