I leave the house feeling sexy.
I’m driving down the road, and the feel of my body moving the clutch, and shifting, and turning the wheel through this sunny-day scenery is magnificent.
Sure, I have two kids in the backseat, but my mascara is perfect, my hair is actually slightly done, and I’m not wearing the clothes I wore yesterday. Unless you count these jeans. Or this bra. Or my socks.
I’m maneuvering the curvy, country roads with one hand on my gear shift, and one hand safely on the wheel. I brake at a light, and I’m feeling pretty bad ass.
And then the baby starts crying. A lot. Like—a lot. (She’s getting her incisors.)
And my oldest drops her toy, and asks me to get it. I’m attempting to reach behind my seat when the light turns green, and I focus on the road ahead again, only now I have two upset kids in the backseat.
I tell my oldest—in a fictitiously calm voice that doesn’t give away my backing-away-from-the-bear-like fear—that we’ll get her toy when we get to our destination, which is only five minutes down the road, but these last 20 seconds have already felt like 15 minutes.
I begin to sweat. Kind of a lot. I take a casual, somewhat discreet sniff of my armpit, and I’m pretty sure that the car next to me saw it. I’m feeling a little less sexy than when I left the house.
I bolster up—I tell myself things like who cares if that car saw me, who the fuck is that person in their fancy…wait, what is that? A Tesla? Well, that is kind of cool—-and then that I’m being neurotic because everyone is, you know, driving. I remind myself that my mascara is flawless, and that I’m a confident woman with a lot going for me, even if I am only taking my daughter to an appointment where no one will likely look at me, except to take my credit card, and my mascara is really just for me, because I’ll wash it off probably about an hour after my husband gets home from work (or it will wilt off mid-afternoon when I randomly work out for those 20 minutes to avoid yelling at my kids through an endorphin-boosted haze).
I brake at another light.
My daughter no longer cares about her toy, because she’s grown interested instead in trying to reach as far as she can to grab onto her baby sister’s hand, who’s stopped crying, but has re-started at this hand-pulling—shall we call it—“game.”
By now I’m using my yoga breath.
And I’m holding my shit together by an extremely fine string, and—as I glance at the clock—I notice that it’s (insert silent, inside-my-head maniacal laughter) not even 10.
I breathe in again. What’s that smell? Is that poop?
I exhale it out through clenched lips so that it makes a slight blowing-up-a-balloon sound, and I think my daughter in the backseat has heard, and knows Mommy is close to her edge.
I smile at myself in the mirror as some weird way to encourage myself that today will somehow still be awesome, despite this being the second day of the baby teething, and my neck tension turning into a severe headache, and my oldest needing my attention in a way that I cannot adequately gift to her with her teething, uncomfortable baby sister (which she subconsciously knows, and this is why she wants me so much).
I smile at myself in the rear-view mirror, but my oldest thinks I’m grinning at her, so she gives me this super adorable smile back. She lets go of her sister’s hand, and giggles at me in the mirror. She tells me that she’s feeling happy. Somehow, everything really is alright again.
(And it doesn’t matter if my mascara is perfect.)