Motherhood is an amazing thing. It is magical and mercurial
(and yes, sometimes situations can be maddening).
As a mother, I can be rockin’ it one minute and then cleaning up an enormous mess (whether literal or figurative) the next. In fact, it is this very spectrum that inspired me to started writing this blog 6 1/2 years ago; as the mother of a then 2-month-old I found that motherhood was enchanting, beautiful, fun, delightful and hard, scary, boring, lonely…
the list goes on and on.
And back then, before the world of mommyblogs really exploded, I could only find two types of sites to read:
a) “Hi, I’m the beautiful new mom, wearing my baby as he nurses and I prepare the organic puree that I am making from the vegetables that I grew in my garden la la la la la life is perfect and so is my hair.”
b) “Hi. Here are my four kids: I call them Punk 1, Punk 2, Punk 3 and the large bottle of wine that I consume every night because my kids are jerks and ugh, my hair is always a mess. Where’s my wine, again?”
I could relate to aspects of both ends of that mommy spectrum, but I was somewhere in the middle. I was absolutely in love with my daughter–my dream come true. I breastfed her for an extended period of time (to my friends who were recently discussing this: it was 18 months, not four years). We dressed in tutus, had daily dance parties and I made her nursery into an “Enchanted Garden” by sewing pillows, hot-glueing silk flowers and hanging birds from the ceiling with invisible fish wire.
At the same time, I also found it to be very hard. The sleep deprivation was a struggle, as she only wanted to sleep when nursing or on top of me (we had to seek professional help from a sleep coach), I doubted my decisions (“can I give her the 9 month baby food when she’s only 8 months and 20 days?”) and felt lonely at times, longing for adult conversation (which took her about 8 months to really master).
So I started to write honestly and shared my stories of fun, craziness, anxiety, love, doubt and magic.
Life has changed quite a bit since that time, and so has my role as a mother. I am more savvy now, which is fortunate, as the problems have gotten more challenging. And the sweet times are even sweeter.
But, it is a rollercoaster, which is why I’ve decided to chronicle 24 hours in life of being a mom:
My kids woke up early and my husband had to leave the house at 6:30am, so we all piled into my bed. I served them a gourmet breakfast in bed (a Nutella sandwich and bowl of Chex cereal) and I (don’t judge) let them watch a movie on the iPad while I put in my headphones, faced away from them, and watched Sunday’s episode of “The Affair”, as I had been too tired to catch up on it in real time.
Remarkably, I packed two lunches, we all got dressed, and out the door for school, though I had to drive my daughter (instead of waiting outside for her bus in the pouring rain) and she made it just in time.
I then had some blessed free time to take care of myself. I wrote this post on my Instagram and I believe it wholeheartedly. We need to care for ourselves. I don’t care if you are a mother, a college-student, a busy, grown-up professional; it is salient.
“No, buddy. Not right now.”
“WHY!?!? Why we don’t have graham crackers!??!”
“Because we ran out of them!”
“NO!! WHY WE DON’T HAVE GRAHAM CRACKERS?!?!” he cried in the preschool hallway.
“I will have to get them,” I assured him.
“NO! I don’t WANT to get them. I want GRAHAM CRACKERS!!!”
So, right from school, we drove to the grocery and he picked out a few things, including graham crackers.
As soon as we got home he tore into the grocery bag, asked me to open the box of graham crackers, took one bite and said, “I don’t like these graham crackers.”
And then I noticed: We had, accidentally, gotten the cinnamon sugar, and not plain, flavor.
Fortunately, he was easily distracted by my daughter’s return home, as he loves his Boppy AND she had a sweet friend over for a playdate. I hosted the three kids, tending to all of their needs, and I spent at least 27 minutes trying to get the straw into a pouch of the special, fancy pouch of organic berry lemonade.
The rest of the evening was uneventful, for us. We read “Goodnight Moon” and my son came out of his bedroom approximately 18 times before my kids snuggled up and went to sleep together.
I had planned to watch “This is Us”, but spent the rest of the night registering my kids for camp online.
A new day. A new start.
It was a shiz-show.
First, my son said that he wanted to wear his “Goodnight Moon” shirt to school.
“Sure,” I told him. “You just need to wear a long-sleeved shirt on top of it and you can take it off when you get to school.”
He had a tantrum, stormed out of my room and I could hear noises and some banging from down the hall.
And then, I saw this:
My dear son displayed his massive stubborn streak once again by taking all of his clothing out of his drawers and THROWING THEM DOWN THE STAIRS (and some over the railing into the foyer, as it is a very tall staircase with several landings, so, basically, into the abyss).
I have to give him credit. He is smart. But, really?!
I rushed to get both of my kids ready while getting myself ready for an important day at work. I had to steam my sweater and I will confess that I used the hand steamer to attempt to steam my hair. I did not have time to properly blow-dry my wavy locks, so I figured, “the steamer takes creases out of my clothing, so it should totally take them out of my hair, too, right?” and no, that is not right.
DO NOT TRY TO STEAM YOUR HAIR WITH A CLOTHING STEAMER.
I will leave it at that.
By the time they were fed and my daughter’s lunch was packed, I realized that we were going to be late in dropping her off if I did not race out the door at that very instant, so we threw on her coat, tied her shoes and I dragged my son out in his “Goodnight Moon” t-shirt, pants, and nothing else.
And I got to her school at 9:01. One minute late. Which meant that the doors were locked and that I had to walk her into school, signing her into the office. I had to carry my son, I was a hot mess and they had to write up a TARDY slip for her. Literally, it said “Tardy” on it. I was mortified.
(Sorry Kim Zolciak.)
And it was after 9am and I still had to finish dressing myself and my son, pack the remainder of his lunch that he wouldn’t be eating anyway, and get out the door. None of this went smoothly, as you can imagine, and for the second time that day I missed carline and got to school when the doors were already locked. So I had to walk my son into his school (which involves multiple security checkpoints and several flights of stairs), hastily applied my makeup in the car and took off for work.
I got a few miles on my drive towards work when a thought popped into my head: Did I ever let Lola back in?
I weighed the options, not wanting to be late to work, but truly worried that I had left my tiny, 10 lb, 9-year-old dog outside, without a closed gate, in the pouring rain. So I made a 10 minute detour back home to find that Lola had been chilling, peacefully, inside.
I got back on my way. And, of course, as soon as I started to drive back down the car-filled road the gas light went on. I needed to fill up the car, however, what I haven’t mentioned until now (although I alluded to some struggles, this being the least of them), is that I had a terrible, pretty major car accident a few weeks ago. Perhaps I will write about this experience another time, but my car was completely wrecked, I was trapped inside when all of the airbags deployed, and I have not seen my car since, although I am told that, someday, it will be fixed, as the damage is EXTENSIVE. So I have been driving a loaner car and I have no idea how it works and I had to sit at the gas station and Google “Where is the gas tank opener thing?” for this particular car.
I filled up, got back on my way, stressed about being late, when cars started to honk at me, through the traffic and rain.
And then I looked in my side mirror to see that I had never closed the gas tank.
I pulled over, closed the tank and the little door and fought through traffic until I got to work. With half-steamed hair.
And I know that I said that I was going to write about 24 hours
but I would be remiss if I did not include the following mommy-highlights from the rest of yesterday:
* After a long, rainy, traffic-filled drive home from work, I got to my door, saw my kids spinning around in the kitchen, laughing, with our amazing babysitter, and when I walked inside my son looked at me and screamed,
“NO!! I Don’t want YOU! I want DADDY!”
And he literally tried to push me back OUT of the door.
* When the kids were finally fed, bathed and in bed, I went into my room to change out of my work clothing and my son came in eight times.
One of the times he opened the door and said, “Do I have a big butt?”
* Finally, this.
So, those were 24 hours (or so) of motherhood.
Was it easy? No. Not in the slightest. Were there incredible moments of joy and pride? Absolutely.
Being a mom is the best experience, the best job and the best blessing.
But, sometimes it can make us feel overwhelmed, stressed and even, at times, crazy (see above when I drove home re: Lola).
I do not know what the next 24 hours will bring, but I hope that I am strong enough to cope with whatever is thrown my way, and wise enough to enjoy the sweet moments that my children bring to my life.
It’s time for me to get up and moving so that we are not “tardy” again, this morning.
I have lunches to pack, and though they will be healthy, they will not be 100% organic and from my garden.
My kids may be stubborn at times, but they aren’t punks.
And, I can say unequivocally, my hair is not perfect.
But I won’t turn to wining. Or whining.
I won’t steam my hair with a clothing steamer….
and I will make sure, from now on, that the house is always stocked with graham crackers and that they are always, always, plain.
Next 24 hours, I’m ready for you.
Show me what you’ve got.