I put a piece of bread in the toaster.
I walk to the highchair and grab the toy off the floor to give to my upset baby.
He loves to throw all of his toys down but then immediately regrets it after it’s done.
I sit down at the kitchen table, open my computer and try to respond to one quick e-mail. Just one. It’ll be fast.
The toaster pops and the toast is burnt to a crisp.
I put a new piece of bread in the toaster, grab a different toy to give to my baby who’s still playing roulette with his emotions in his highchair. I sit down at the kitchen table again, refresh my dark computer screen and try yet again to respond to that same, quick e-mail.
The toaster pops up. The toast is yet again burnt to a crisp.
So now we’re on the third piece of bread… I do everything the same except this time I pick up my baby and hold him, I close my computer and I stay by the toaster waiting for the toast to pop.
There was absolutely no way I was going to burn a third piece of toast.
I’m telling myself — Why didn’t you turn the dial down? Why aren’t you paying attention? Why can’t you make your baby happy right now? Why can’t you answer that e-mail? It’ll take two seconds. Why can’t you do ALL of it at the same time?
The guilt takes over and I feel this immense disappointment in myself.
I know plenty of moms who can do all of this and it looks so easy.
What is going on with me?
Why do I feel like this?
It’s just a couple pieces of bread for crying out loud.
The third piece of toast pops up.
It’s not burnt. It’s the perfect temperature. I did it! I finally did it. How silly am I?
To celebrate the fact that I did not burn this piece of toast.
I mean, I’ve gone through childbirth three times but here I am — so proud of myself for something as little as cooking a piece of toast in a toaster.
Oh, what a time to be alive you guys.
Now, I hear something in the living room.
The sweetest footsteps coming up the stairs — my middle babe is awake.
He comes into the kitchen, takes a deep breath in… a smile comes across his face.
In the softest voice, he says:
“Good morning, mama. Can I please have a piece of toast?”
I grab the toast out of the toaster.
The piece of toast I was so proud I finally cooked right.
The piece of toast I’ve been trying to make for the last 10 minutes.
The piece of toast I was giving myself the absolute hardest time over.
I butter it up and hand it to him.
And that my friends… is motherhood.