a paradox

Bonbon Break

“Fair is foul and foul is fair”

“What does that mean?” I ask my seniors. They want to be interested, but it’s hard with Shakespeare. At least in the beginning until you get used to the language.

“Um…good is bad and bad is good?” Asks a precocious boy in the back of the room.

“Yes…but what does that mean?” I prod.

Blank stares. Uncomfortable silence. I lean into that discomfort and wait.

“Well, maybe you can’t tell the difference between the good and the bad. Maybe it’s all confused and happening all at once,” a brave student offers.

“Ok. Yes. Anyone know what that’s called? When something contradicts itself but still appears to be true?”

“A paradox!” several students yell out.

We start to talk about other examples and my mind wanders through my own days.

The sloppy wet kisses and tumbly hugs my boys give me when I leave for work each morning, and the fits they throw when I pick them up from daycare.

The soft way Charlie lays his head against my chest, and the violent way he flings himself down in anger over…well, who knows what.

Eddie asking me if I need a kiss when I bump my head on his bunk bed, and the way he breaks down in loud sobs when I won’t let him have candy right before bed.

The kisses Eddie blows me from the front of church when he spots me in the crowd, and the epic meltdown over putting on socks.

Charlie’s sweet little voice saying, “tink too!” (thank you), and his powerful screams.

The way both boys still sit on their bottoms with their knees bent and piggy toes sticking out behind them, and they way they are constantly bickering over toys.

How Eddie willingly and selflessly gives Charlie his last piece of candy, and the way he trips Charlie when they are playing “chase”.

The sweet smell of a clean-haired boy, and the stink of poopy diapers.

The reflection of my own hilarious sense of humor in Eddie’s giggle, and my own over-reaction in his tantrums.

Charlie’s fierce determination, and his stubbornness.

Watching Eddie figure out technology with the same ease his dad does, and having to pull him away from screens.

The way Charlie can take things apart and put them back together, and the way he just takes things apart and leaves them that way.

Chubby little hands learning their world, and little hands that hit.

The millions of books that the boys carry over to read, and they way they stall bedtime.

One minute I find myself cuddling two boys in a chair, and the next minute both of those boys are fighting and kneeing me in the stomach and I feel completely “touched out”.

When I watch the boys together playing so nice or being so loving, tears spring to my eyes. Tears of joy and gratitude. But in a second that loveliness can go to hell and my tears turn into to those of frustration and anxiety.

My heart can be so full, and so broken at the same time by these little people.

I can’t imagine life without them, yet I find myself wondering how I can get a break.

I feel guilt and love and pride and anger and hope and hopelessness and gratitude and sadness and comfort all at the same time.

Being a mom is both fulfilling and frustrating in ways that I have never experienced before.

It is both “fair” and “foul”.

As cliche as it sounds, the “fair” is why we do this thing called motherhood. It is. As many blog posts where I lament about how hard this all is (and it is!), there are small moments of lovely that are big enough to swallow all the difficult times.

Motherhood is a paradox for sure; however, all the headaches and heartbreak these boys bring me are worth it with just one snuggle and kiss.


About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. Thank you, this is completely my life right now. A difficult weekend with an almost 3 year old, followed by tears as I left them at day care this am. So hard and yet, the best thing in the world.

  2. Yes. To all of this. Exactly this.
    The loving it and OMG one more child why not, and the OMG I can’t take this anymore, two is enough.
    The gratefulness and ungratefulness all round.
    The exhilaration and the exhaustion.
    Paradox indeed.

  3. beautiful chaos.
    that should be a sign over my front door 🙂