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.
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.
It doesn’t matter where you’re going or how long you’ll be gone. You could be stepping out of the room to go to the bathroom for a 35.7-second pee. You could be leaving for an 10-hour work day. Or you could be running out for a quick errand while your neighbor watches your child. No matter where you’re going or how long you’ll be gone, your toddler’s reaction is the same. His lower lip juts out, his forehead creases, and his mouth quivers. A tear forms in the corner of his eye as his arms reach for you.
Then the wailing starts.
So you took some time off from work after your baby came. Maybe you thought at first you’d stick with six weeks maternity leave, but by the end of that you wanted to stretch it a little more, and soon you discovered you could totally manage on one income for a while, especially when you considered that putting your baby in daycare would cost more than your mortgage. So you tightened up your budget, strapped on your baby carrier, and settled in for a few months or years of playdates, pacifiers, and long, lovely afternoon naps.
Some days, being Supermom is too much to hope for.
You know which days I mean. I mean the days when your kid kept you up for half the night because she thought there was a squirrel in her closet. And your toddler kept you up for the other half because he’s getting his two-year molars even though he just turned one. The days when you walk around all morning with your nipple hanging out of your shirt and don’t even realize it. The days when there’s no such thing as a big enough coffee mug. The days when you seriously question why you ever had kids.
On days like that, you’ll never feel like Supermom. But that’s okay. The good news? You can still look like Supermom.