I was once a fantastic babysitter. The kind with boundless energy who whipped up games of “Simon says” anywhere, anytime. Parents booked me for everything from errands to birthday parties because I was always fun and I never got tired. I couldn’t wait to have my own kids; I knew I’d be Mom-of-the-Year. And then I had five children of my own. All girls.
Today I find myself with them in the orthodontist’s waiting room while the oldest gets her braces. They argue about seating arrangements. I hand out phones, iPads, and chocolates. I collapse into a seat and take a moment before someone’s screen stops working.
Why no “Simon says” or flash cards? Where is that parent? I have no idea. I only know that I am exhausted. The energy it took just to get to this point emptied my tank. I need silence and caffeine. The girls become quiet, and I am sadly happy.
That night I actually make it to bathtime. Feeling guilty about earlier, I find the energy to lead my speedy version of “Simon says.” I receive giggles from them all. Have they forgiven me for ignoring them and bribing them with chocolate? I consider our evening game a victory, and surely there will be more.
I truly thought I’d be that babysitter version of myself as a mom. I realize now that those moms hired me because moms don’t always have a song and a dance available. I won’t be able to give my children a show every day, but I still think there is a fun mom inside me. Perhaps not Mom-of-the-Year. Maybe an occasional Mom-of-the-Day.
This article originally appeared in Parents Magazine as 'The Energizer Bunny Is Tired.'