Mothering young ones can very much feel, at times, like being a soldier in the trenches. But, it seems to me that a more wholistic picture of motherhood in the early years is like being in a ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese’s.
My view from the ball pit…
Everything is making noise! Do you remember being buried beneath the primary-colored plastic sea of balls at Chuck E. Cheese’s and trying to focus on, say…making it out alive? But, the sounds of the kids screaming; or yelling “cannon ball”; or the varied chimes, rings, buzzing that mimicked a family-friendly casino swirled all around – made us a tad overstimulated, as a child therapist would say? That’s a fair comparison, I think, to the symphony of chaos in a house with young kids.
Where is my (insert literally anything that you need to find)? It was a guarantee in the ball pit that a kid would lose an article of clothing, hair accessory, sense of security…I could go on…Oh how similar the scavenger hunt is in parenting. My husband has “lost” more tools than he can count at the hands of my daughter who turns countless inanimate objects into contraptions, decorations, and my favorite…re-gifting opportunities.
There are so many gross smells. I don’t need to expound. If you’ve been in ball pit and you’re a parent…you see the clear connection.
If you’re exhausted, the ball pit is the opposite of sleep. No room for sleepers in the ball pit. Better stay awake or you’ll get jumped on. I seriously tried to sleep in the ball pit as a kid. Never an option…
Jumping into the unknown is the best fun to be had. Every day of parenting a little person is an opportunity to unwrap the gift of a second childhood. Time to fingerpaint, color, dance, build, tear-down, imagine, design, imitate, laugh at people-getting-hurt (Three Stooges style)…yes, please, this is the life!
No matter the injuries or irritations in the ball pit, we wouldn’t miss it for anything and some of us even go back for more. Parenting is the most mentally, emotionally, and physically demanding service I’ve experienced. The mystery…side-by-side to the hard is this intensely deep sense of gratitude for the most precious experience. It’s all quite the miracle to me.
At the end of the day, nothing sounds better than a break from the ball pit to eat pizza (even if it’s stale).
Happy Mother’s Day to all of us moms in the “ball pit” and those moms who are out of the “ball pit” now able to eat pizza in a kid-less restaurant. You’ve earned it!