Every job has parts that suck. Everyone who’s ever worked knows this. Usually, the worst part of a job is something that isn’t really even your job, but somehow you got roped into doing it without even a raise to acknowledge the fact that it’s a completely different job, and now you and everyone who inherits your job is stuck doing it forever and ever.
That’s how I feel about cooking dinner.
Being a mom is a lonely calling, especially if you’re the main caregiver for your kids. When you spend most of your time with people who are less than five feet tall and have minimal conversation skills, it’s easy to second-guess yourself. Most of the time you’re parenting, you have no one to compare thoughts with, no one to help you brainstorm, no one to tell you that what you’re feeling and doing is totally normal.
So let me tell you right now: what you’re feeling and doing is totally normal.
Confession: I consider myself an attachment parent.
If you’ve read any of my other blog, you probably know that already. But if you’ve read any of this blog, then I hope you also know I’m not one of those AP moms who thinks this is the only way to parent, and if you don’t breastfeed and babywear through preschool then your child will be emotionally scarred. (I’m positive that’s not true. Because I did babywear and breastfeed through preschool, and now I’m a little scarred.) The truth, of course, is that Supermoms come in all flavors. Some of us breastfeed and some of us bottle-feed and some of us babywear and some of us always use strollers and some of us sleep train at 6 months and some of us don’t sleep till our kids are 18. And you are totally Supermom if you’re doing what’s right for you and your family.
That said, I think the AP evangelists could use a little marketing help.
Getting a toddler strapped into a car seat requires more than supermom brilliance. It requires godlike patience, superhuman strength, and creativity that rivals J.K. Rowling.
If you have a toddler, you know this.
If you have a child older than three months, someone has criticized about your childcare choices. And unless you have thicker skin than a rhinoceros, you’ve probably felt at least a twinge of guilt about it. I understand. With my first child, I stayed home full-time till she quit napping (which, okay, was 18 months, but who’s counting?), and my friends said I was a “baby hog” because I never let anyone else watch her. When I finally put her in two-day-a-week preschool, my family shook their heads and said she was awfully young for school. It quickly became clear to me that no matter how much childcare I used or didn’t use, someone was sure to tell me I was making a big mistake.
Quitting social media is a thing these days. Several of my friends have recently taken “breaks” from Facebook (breaks? Really? From Facebook? The place where I connect with all my friends and family and get 99% of my adult interaction? Why?). They said something about wanting to pay attention to their children, connect with friends in real life, and stop looking at their phones every three minutes. Whatever. I’m not going to judge. It works for them.
But I’m here to tell you: if you want to quit social media, don’t worry about Facebook. Facebook helps you make friends. Twitter and Instagram are not a problem. Pinterest is what you need to quit.
It’s New Year’s Day morning. Before you had children, that would mean that you were still in bed right now, recovering from a night of drinking champagne, dancing till midnight, and kissing random strangers. Now that you have children, it means that you’ve been wide awake drinking coffee since six, and if you were up past midnight last night, it wasn’t because you wanted to see the ball drop. It’s because somebody kept calling you to bring them another glass of water, arrange their blanket just so, or turn back on their stupid night light that’s programmed to turn itself off after a mere 45 minutes.
In other words, it’s because somebody doesn’t understand bedtime.
Thanksgiving is over, which means that Christmas is coming, which means your house will soon be filled with new toys. Most of them, I’m sorry to say, will be toys that you hate. This is because they’ll be chosen by relatives who either a) have never had children or b) have children who are so old that their parents no longer remember what it’s like to have a house full of annoying toys. The likelihood that any particular toy will be given to your child by a relative can be calculated using an equation involving the noisiness, messiness, and general annoyingness of the toy. The higher these factors are, the more likely your kid will get one for Christmas.
Happy New Year.
You may have heard of mothers who get stuff done without babysitters.
These mothers don’t actually exist.
But for some reason — probably for the same inexplicable reason that ideas like unicorns, garden gnomes, and The Abominable Snowman persist — the myth of this Supermom survives. Women all over the world keep dreaming that somehow, someday, they could truly have it all. They could make actual income without spending 99.7% of it on childcare. They could get laundry folded before bedtime. They could pick up all the toys and the shoes. No one can really do this, at least not until their youngest child is six, at which point they have a (free!) daily babysitter (it’s called public school). But the belief that maintaining a home and taking care of a toddler are not incompatible activities just won’t disappear. And so, every day, unsuspecting moms wake up and think, I could get stuff done today.