Since most of the people who read my blog are friends or family (ha! let’s be honest, at the moment ALL of the people who read my blog are either friends or family), I was fortunate enough to receive some second-hand feedback. My good friend, incidentally the one who first convinced me to start writing, mentioned that her partner that night (to be clear, I’m talking about paramedics on a night shift) was explaining how nice it is to be able to speak honestly about the challenges of being a mother. I guess she agreed with an earlier entry I had written about how it seems like everyone is involved in some kind of competition. It’s like no matter how hard you try, you will always be made to feel like you’re not quite as put together as so-and-so down the street, who happens to make everything look easy.
Really, what it comes down to is perception. When you arrive at someone’s house for a visit and think to yourself “wow, I wish my house were this clean and organized”, you really have no idea (and there’s no way of knowing) what this same house looked like 20 minutes ago as they were running around like a half-dressed lunatic in preparation for your arrival. Just the same, you have no idea that they may have spent five whole minutes screaming into a towel in the powder room because they simply couldn’t find a better outlet after losing a battle of wits with their toddler. The point is, we all have bad days and good days (even the perceived supermoms).
There are some days I actually can bake a banana bread from scratch, put together an entire Disney princess puzzle (I really hate puzzles), take my poor, overly-energetic (to no fault of her own) boxer to the park, steam clean the entire main-floor (if you don’t yet own a steam-cleaner, you are missing out on a world of awesomeness) and make the world’s best lasagne. All with a smile on my face (maybe a smile that suggests I’m bordering on crazy, but a smile nonetheless). Those are the days that I feel like I’m on top of the world. It usually takes several coffees and, if I’m lucky, a really short shower while Isla is plugged into some God-awful show on Treehouse (speaking of which, am I the only one who wants to slap the cartoon face right off of that whiney little brat, Caillou?). On these particular days I wish I could bottle my energy and ration it out.
That’s an example of a good day; a day that I would be more than happy for one of those “I was just in the neighbourhood” drop-in visits. Alternatively there are the other days, which unfortunately happen far more frequently than my ‘supermom’ days. It’s these days that I’m most likely to actually have someone stop by to say hello, and also accidentally have a boob out when I answer the door (Murphy’s Law). Let’s call these days ‘regular days’ (I’m choosing not to refer to them as ‘bad days’ because they’re not at all bad; they’re just ordinary). On those days, in spite of my efforts to catch up with the laundry “situation”, I always fail miserably. In my defence, it’s simply not possible to keep up when the laundry entering the room is twice that of the laundry leaving. I also feel, and this is entirely my opinion, that it’s both unfair and unrealistic to expect that after washing and folding the laundry that I then also have to put it away. What am I, some kind of machine? Speaking of laundry, the room once known simply as the “laundry room” is now referred to as my personal hell or “PH”. I don’t know if it’s Huggies fault, or maybe my little thanksgiving-turkey of a son is just too big for the bulk size 2’s I bought him (thank goodness for Costco), but every single time Sam fills his diaper, he also happens to fill his pants, onesie, and my lap (this is the main reason for owning four pairs of lulu lemon pants). The first couple of times this happens in a day aren’t so bad. I’m actually used to it, and have a pretty effective little system in place. It’s when, for the eleventh time, immediately after changing him into his last clean outfit, he gets that look in his eye, followed by sounds comparable to that of an earthquake; that’s when it starts to wear on me a bit. And just like that I’m back in my ‘PH’, scrubbing like a maniac in the set-tub. For the record, I’ve tried many different stain-fighters all promising miracles short of solving world hunger. Truth be told, and surprising as you may find this, the best thing for scrubbing baby poop is a bar of ivory soap (you’re welcome).
Again, I digress. Most days are the like this, hence calling them ‘regular days’. There’s Roxy (the aforementioned boxer) with her sad eyes and hyper little nubbin of a tail ready to wag right off of her body, begging me for a walk but knowing full well that she’ll have to wait for Daddy to get home. Still the guilt I’m faced with for not taking her when “all the other neighbourhood dogs are out for a walk” (the quotations represent her telepathic guilt trip), totally sucks to say the very least. Usually on these days we don’t get dressed. Not only that, I’m lucky if I’m able to find a clean bra (which is a must because my boobs are really big….not “nice-big”, more like “scary-big”). I will give myself a bit of a break and mention that even on these days, one thing I always manage to do is make what I think is the world’s best dinner. Ok, so maybe not the best dinner in the world per say, but pretty damn tasty. I’m able to do that because if not for the relaxing and fulfilling experience of cooking, I might spend a lot more than five minutes screaming into a towel. Pretty hilarious, I know, but it works. Everyone has a little steam they need to blow off every now and then. Since I can’t quite “bring it” at the gym because of a back-injury (thanks to my brilliant career choice, but that’s another topic altogether), I have to take what I can get when it comes to energy outlets. So a few little towel-screams here and there, for now, will just have to suffice.
While I’ve only provided you with a few examples of an ordinary day and its respective chaos, I’m sure you get the idea. It’s these days that you probably wouldn’t recognize me because I literally look like Bride of Frankenstein’s ugly sister. Alright, that wasn’t a very nice thing to say about myself, let’s instead say Bride of Frankenstein’s slightly more attractive cousin. Turns out, in my imagination she has a big family to work with. Anyway, the point of this rare insight into the life of a Mom (a real Mom), is to shed light on the fact that being a Mother is not only the best job in the world, it’s also the hardest. That’s why I think that instead of acting like we’re all contestants on the ‘who is the better parent’ hidden-camera TV show, we should just give ourselves a break and accept that we all have good and bad days. No one is perfect and there is absolutely no contest! A good friend of mine dreads going to her Mommy group because of how the other mothers inadvertently (as I’m sure it’s not intentional), through this sense of competition, make her feel inadequate. I think ultimately it’s important to remember that there will always be the perception that other people are perfect. It would be nice if those who feel the pressure to be awesome all of the time would just realize that they don’t have to work so hard to impress those around them (before you read too far into this please know I’m absolutely not referring to anyone in particular). If you happen to be someone who can relate, hopefully you take some comfort in knowing that I will no longer run around like a mental-case 10 minutes before company arrives. If my house happens to be messy, my guests can just deal with it. Friends and family don’t come to see the house, they come to see you. This pressure moms feel is both unfortunate and unnecessary and a lot of it can be alleviated with a little bit of realism, especially from other mothers. I think as long as your kids are warm, fed and, most importantly, loved; you’re doing a great job. Trust me; in spite of the fact that most days are the ‘regular days’ I talked about, in the midst of the chaos I still manage to high-five myself for having such wonderful kids.