I was Katniss shivering, exhausted in a foreign arena. Borderline hopeless. Torn between throwing my hands up in defeat and summoning the energy to realign my strategy. I had no idea how I was going to meet the latest challenge the Gamemakers had thrown my way. It’s at that very moment it occurred to me; this is our Hunger Games. Motherhood is our Hunger Games.
Our children are the Gamemakers. I think that’s obvious. They dictate how much or how little sleep we’ll get. Whether or not we will get to enjoy any given feast. They even have a hand in if we find time to feed ourselves properly some days. And thanks to some of their decisions and actions, we find ourselves in the final round sparring with another tribute-ironically, the same person we married before the Gamemakers even existed.
Just when you get used to the latest phase, the game takes a turn. Your baby is sleeping through the night at three months? How wonderful, but hold that thought! Feeling mighty proud that your toddler listens when you say “no” or “don’t”? Something tells me it won’t last! All you can do is work your strengths and be prepared for an imminent change.
As you huddle alone thinking of your next gameplay, random bits of advice from your mentor go through your head. The pearls of wisdom you held dear appear first. Remember, you can’t say “I love you” enough! Or Never let them see you sweat. When you’ve reflected on all of the good advice, you the tidbits you weren’t too crazy about start looking pretty good. Just let him cry it out-crying never hurt anyone. You ultimately conclude that she must’ve known what she was talking about; after all, she raised you.
You’ve got to think of something! So, you beg quietly to the sky: where is my silver parachute? Your hopes are high but almost anything will do. A manual that will walk you through each new puzzle that is sprung on you. An all-expense paid two-night stay in a cozy hotel room anywhere just to give you a couple of nights of solid, restful, worry-free sleep after a day or two of laying by a pool sitting margaritas with your girlfriends. A pint of ice cream would even work magic at this point! Nothing appears. Damn my sponsors, you can’t help but think!
With each new twist, we invent tricks to help us maneuver one step ahead of the Gamemakers. Katniss pulled out the berries as a solution to a desperate moment. You whip up one of Jessica Seinfeld’s hidden-veggies-in-a-meal recipes and your non-vegetable-eating toddler magically devours two full servings of cauliflower.
Does this mean we are Katniss? A spirited woman who often found her hair in a messy frame around her face as she constantly moved around most of her day, fighting to survive with a piece of her own identity and maybe a nap in a world where the rules keep changing. Seems pretty clear to me. But what say you? Are we the Katniss and is this our Hunger Games?