Never in my life did I think it was possible to have such strong and complex feelings for a piece of Play-Doh. Clearly I’m not talking about just any piece of Play-Doh. Nope, I’m talking about a little green monster not even 2 inches high. I’m lucky enough to work from home and as I made my way down to the living room to greet my nanny and the kids I witness a full on Play-Doh party. It’s on the table. It’s on the floor. There are around 12 cans strewn about and I’m certain that I will be stepping on dried bits of Play-Doh for the rest of the night. I often refer to these as the “crumbs of joy” of parenting.
My Favorite Time of Day
I head to the kitchen to set a glass in the sink and Evan casually approaches and hands me his creation. “I made this for you, Mamá. It’s a monster with 2 eyes and a belt.” Yes, indeed it is. I look over at my nanny and, without speaking a word, ask if he really made it. She silently responds with a nod to confirm it was all Evan. This tiny, lopsided, one-armed monster was, to me, sheer perfection. I became filled with pride and I could actually feel my heart swell in my chest. For a brief moment, it was as though I could feel, inside me, the wonder and joy that my little boy had felt while creating this little monster. These sweet little moments of motherhood are ours for the taking. Pure, untainted joy that can, if noticed, restore some of the exhaustion and uncertainty that comes along with being a mom.
With all this warm and fuzziness I must mention something about Play-Doh. It’s non-toxic, has been around since the 1950s and encourages creative play. Sounds like a total winner, right? WRONG! I personally hate playing with the stuff. It gets under my fingernails, makes a mess, and I’m not a fan of the smell. Random note: if you are a fan of the smell of Play-doh, check this out.
The Dichotomy of Motherhood
This little lump of Play-Doh represents, to me, the dichotomy that is motherhood. All at once simple and complex; demanding and rewarding; organized and chaotic; social and isolating. This little green Play-Doh monster now sits at my desk and reminds me throughout the day that motherhood offers so many opportunities for joy. Not sure about you, but I’m a big fan of joy! Our need for perfection and control can suck so much joy out of the experience! Really being present with our kids can reveal some rewarding, satisfying moments. And when motherhood is kicking your butt, make sure to reach out to friends for support.
Is there a specific moment or memory from your experience of being a mom that you thought of when you read this? What is your little green monster?