Back before I had children I used to think that I would be the type of mom who got shit handled. Kids weren’t an excuse to lose yourself, right? I subscribed to the school of thought that the best parents were the ones who took time to focus on themselves first and foremost and the happy kids would just fall in line after (insert gafs from beentheredonethat parents across the globe.)
I had a job. I had a social life. I knew how to multitask. I had managed grad school at nights, work in the days and friends on the weekend. I felt like a bonafide rock star. So going into having children I thought, “I got this.” Little did I know….
Now on the occasion when I have a friend who is about to enter parenthood my only advice is to stay openminded and be willing to adjust expectations. I don’t doubt that some parents are able to keep some aspects of their pre-parenthood lives in tact but the truth of it is that you just won’t know what it’s like until it hits you. Kids have a way of changing everything about everything you thought you knew. If you had told me 4.5 years ago that I would be a stay at home mom who’s social life revolved around play dates, news came from the “what’s trending” section of Facebook and style revolved around, “can I pull this off with a puppy backpack full of goldfish crackers and ninja turtle toys” I would have laughed and asked, “don’t you know ME? I’m not going to be THAT mom.” Well shucks.
So now that we’ve established that I have eaten crow, lets look at a few things that make me feel like a rock star today as a parent of two preschool aged children. I may not have it all together..I may not have even most of it together… but after almost 5 years of parenthood I DO have a new scale of success. And that is also something worth celebrating.
Clean Clothes Wishes and Folded Laundry Dreams
Forget having the laundry folded and in the appropriate drawers – These days you might find me patting myself on the back for simply getting the laundry into the dryer before it mildews. It’s not unusual (and by “not unusual” I am sugar coating the reality that it is actually quite common) for me to go to start a load of laundry and realize that there are still towels in the washer from two days before. Whoops! On the days I get multiple loads done and move them from washer to dryer to drawers within the same day you are almost guaranteed to see me with an extra skip to my step. #winning
Paper or Plastic
Following the election this past November, California became the first state to ban single use plastic bags at all grocers and grocer type stores (this means you, Target!) Bags are still available at many locations but now they add a ten cent charge for each bag and you might as well be wearing “I hate the Environment” across your chest. Cue the Californian version of the walk of shame as you leave the store with a cart full o’ plastic. After thirty(insert mumble) years of living in a paper or plastic world remembering my reusable shopping bags has been unbelievably difficult for me. I might remember to put them in the car. I sometimes even remember to put them in the front seat so I can theoretically grab them easily. Yet despite these efforts I almost never actually get them from the car to the store and generally only realize my mistake as I’m loading my items onto the belt. I can probably count on one hand the successes I’ve had in this area and every single time I have actually remembered I have given myself a mental high five when I hand them over at the register and a John Bender fist pump to the sky as I walk out triumphant.
The dishes are done man
Ah a simpler time – when there there were two of us in the house to clean up after. Not to say that the kitchen was ALWAYS clean but considering the hubs and I ate lunch at work and many dinners out on the town we were rarely dealing with a kitchen overridden by dirty dishes. Add two kids, a lot more cooking and a hell of a lot more snacking and I admit that there are many nights that I look at the pile of dishes in the sink (and maybe on the counter..well and maybe still on the table…annnnnnd maybe a few sippy cups under the couch) and decide to wait and see if tonight the dishes fairy will finally answer my plea and come to help me out while I sleep. Spoiler Alert: She never freaking does and they are always there to welcome me in the morning. Nothing says “good morning, sunshine!” like a sink full of regret. Lately though I’m getting a groove going with my cleaning as I’m cooking and my kids are getting better at staying out of my way in the kitchen (and a thank you to Netflix). This means more and more often I’m tackling the pile of dishes well before I go to bed. Never underestimate the rockstar status you feel when you wake up to a clean kitchen.
Long time no see..how nice my hair looks today?
Running into someone at the grocery store on a day I also have showered and done my hair and makeup is the equivalent to hearing my name proceeded by, “and the award goes to!!!” Pre kids I wouldn’t even have considered leaving my house without spending a descent amount of time in front of a mirror making sure my hair was in place and my makeup was on point. Nowadays it’s more likely that the moments before leaving the house I am already five minutes behind schedule while looking for a rogue child sized sized shoe followed by filling a Life of Pets water bottle before realizing that my toddler decided this was the perfect moment to poop in his diaper and dump his milk all over the kitchen floor. The ever cliche mom bun has become my style of choice and my makeup often consists of uneven foundation, last night’s eyeliner, and whatever lipstick or chapstick I can fish out of the bottom of my purse while in the car. So on those rare days that I have showered, done my hair AND dressed myself in an outfit that isn’t based solely on “well at least it’s clean” logic – man, those are the days where I feel a rainbow pop out over my head when I see an old coworker at the grocery store. Must be my lucky day!
Special shout out to remembering to put the “easy” crockpot dinner I picked out to make my life easier IN the crockpot, finishing a non-children’s book in less than 2 months time (that pre kids would have taken me 3 nights) and sneaking a cookie without being caught.
So here’s to the little things! Even if you don’t have the version of motherhood you were expecting you can always find a reason to
drink wine celebrate the little victories. And if you happen to have smeared eyeliner on from yesterday just remember – that’s so very rock star of you.