There are teachable moments every day, but motherhood is one thing where you are constantly amazed at the things you learn. I’ve had the pleasure (umm…well, it hasn’t always been pleasant, but you know what I mean) of being a mom for over 9 years now, and I would like to impart some of my “wisdom” on you.
- There will always be the mom who is more patient, craftier, more fun, more creative, blah, blah, blah, and I don’t want to live up to those standards. I think Pinterest is the devil because it gives unrealistic expectations of what a mom should be able to accomplish. Sitting here now I have no desire to make cupcakes that look like dolphins jumping out of crystal blue water, but you know what, if I see the number of people who are pinning stuff like that or sharing it on Facebook, I begin to feel inadequate and think to myself, “Maybe I should be making stuff like that for the kids.” or “Maybe my kids would think I was a better mom if I did more things like that.” That’s where I have to tell myself to stop, take a deep breath, and close the computer. If you’re a Pinterest mom, that’s great, and I’m happy for you. If you’re more like me, that’s great, too. The lesson here is motherhood is hard enough as it is, but throw in the expectation that moms can do all of those great extra things too is just unfair. It helps that I read the blog of an absolutely real mom who gives me a dose of reality when I feel like I’m failing. Her name is Rachel Martin, and she is my hero. Read her blog at http://findingjoy.net/.
- Owning anything white is utterly ridiculous, especially outerwear and furniture. Although I’m pale and probably the same color, I have always wanted a winter white coat. I just think they are so pretty. However, I will never purchase one because even as my kids get older, they tend to still get things all over me. A little marker smudge here, a bit of dinner there, and before you know it, I’m a mess. And do I even need to get started on when they are babies and are constantly spitting up everywhere?! Better to just leave the white to people without kids.
- The way you choose to feed your baby is your choice. People will have all kinds of opinions on how a baby should be fed, but the only one that really matters is yours. I chose to breastfeed my kids, but I’m surely not going to knock the lady who used formula. Lex was almost 11 months, Annie was around 10 months, and the Cole and Cael were 9 months when I stopped, and that was the best choice for us. Breastmilk or formula – the important things is the baby is growing and healthy and fed.
- There will always be pee somewhere on my toilet. Ahh, the joys of boys (and messy girls)! It doesn’t matter if I just cleaned it; within five minutes, it’s already been sprayed, like they’re marking their territory. Lysol wipes are my best friend. And this is followed up with the next item.
- No matter how many bathrooms there are in the house, the kids will whine and complain when someone else is using “their” bathroom. I could see my kids complaining when we lived in the duplex with one bathroom, but we are fortunate enough to have four, count them, four bathrooms in my new house. However, I will have someone standing outside the door of the upstairs hallway bathroom whining that so-and-so is taking too long and he/she really has to go. Child, if you had to go that badly, you could walk the extra 10 feet and use my bathroom instead of causing a scene.
- Someone will usually think dinner is “disgusting.” This is the term commonly used by my Annie to describe my dinners, which the rest of the kids and I think are pretty good. There is no pleasing everyone. However, give her a few minutes, and she usually eats everything, proving yet again that kids just like to drive you crazy.
- Buying new furniture is a ludicrous idea. I’d like to say that my children are old enough to be in the new furniture stage, but alas, it’s untrue. I still have to yell at my 9-year-old that walking on the couch is inappropriate and constantly remind my 7-year-old that flips are not what the chair is used for. The boys haven’t even come to the realization that butts are the only things that belongs on a couch or chair. Maybe new furniture is in the cards, like when they go to college.
- A strict bedtime schedule is a necessity. With being a working mom, I didn’t have the luxury of being at home much with the kids. Sure, I had maternity leave, but after that, they went to child care. Because we had to be up and out of the house early, I kept to a very strict bedtime schedule. I still keep one to this day. Dealing with four kids and getting them out of the house on time is hard enough. Throw in crabby and tired and forget it! Plus I need that downtime once they’re in bed to work, clean the house, pack lunches, do laundry, write blog posts…
- Just because I had kids didn’t mean it was an excuse to let myself go. I’m not just talking baby weight here. I don’t know too many women who have escaped pregnancy unscathed by at least a few extra pounds or a redistribution of weight on their body. I mean motherhood is not an excuse to stop doing things that you did before to make yourself feel good, whether it’s wearing makeup, getting a great haircut and color, putting on a cute dress and heels, or signing up for that exercise class. I think it’s important to do things that make us feel non-mommish (that’s not really a word but roll with it). With all the time we moms put into our families, we shouldn’t overlook ourselves.