Last week our second child turned 6 months old. So we have a 6 month old, a 3 1/2 year old and two dogs(see this post about downsizing for why we have two, rather than three). It is a full house and it completely gets in the way of being efficient.
Last night Mike took the dogs with him to pick up burritos and both of the girls fell asleep. I couldn’t believe it. I am alone. With the opportunity to do anything, I chose making the bed and a glass of wine. I forgot how easy making the bed is without a frisky puppy and an overzealous toddler playing parachute with each layer. In the few moments of glorious silence my mind began to think about how time consuming and arduous the simplest tasks are. Activities I used to take for granted now require organization and planning. Whether you have children, aspire to do so, or just relish in the fact you will always be responsibility free I put together a list anyone can appreciate.
1. Going to the bathroom. I never thought I would be the kind of girl who left the bathroom door open. With kids and dogs it is a necessity. Recently I closed the door and Lucy (our Maltese) started scratching within seconds, Bailey (our toddler) started banging on the door asking where I was and why I closed the door.
2. Heightened interest in bodily functions. Furthering #1 my home has become an “elimination check in”. As if having dogs and kids in the bathroom with you isn’t bad enough, Bailey insists on knowing what type of excretion I am leaving. “Mommy, are you pooping or peeing or both? Let me see!!” If I blow my nose, “Mommy, did you have boogers”? The inquisition does not stop at me. Bailey wants me to know when she poops, when Daddy poops, and checks to see if our baby has pooped or peed. It is mortifying and disgusting. Lately she has turned to the “tooting” (our acceptable word for ripping ass) inquisition and calls out anyone who discreetly passes gas. Yesterday she told our neighbor that I am stinky and toot all the time. Shameful.
3. Laundry. When Bailey turned 3 the multiple outfit changes began. She prefers to change her underwear after every bathroom visit and an entire ensemble change is necessary at least twice per day. Couple that with baby Michaela’s drool ridden onesies and we have a solid 2 loads of laundry per day. Doing laundry with a toddler is messy and inefficient — two words I abhor. The effort is there from her but the skills aren’t. Unfortunately by the time Bailey has acquired the skills to properly fold she will have no interest in doing so.
3. Cleanliness. I absolutely love a clean home. The smell of bleach turns me on, and clean floors is ecstasy. With kids and dogs both are impossible for more than one hour. I try so hard. But between Bailey’s scooter carving a dirt track and the dogs dragging whatever clings to their paws it will never happen. Michaela moving to solid foods only adds to the funk on the floor. I have actually deemed floors clean when the dogs lick up the food the kids leave. Even worse? When I am in a hurry I just push the extra crumbs off the counter onto the floor so the dogs can help me.
4. Enjoyment of coffee. Prior to 9am I do the following: Feed dogs. Clean up dog poop. Feed baby. Clean up baby poop or pee. Make chocolate milk for toddler. Bottle for baby. Encourage poop and pee in toilet for aforementioned toddler. Return work emails. Attempt to clean kitchen and pick up toys from night prior. Conference call. Wash bottles…. you get the idea. Guess what? I make coffee and usually microwave it 2-3 times because I just don’t have time to drink it while it’s hot.
5. Personal Grooming. As a fairly high maintenance gal I have always carved out a large amount of time for “upkeep”. Prior to children my nightly ritual included a hair mask, face mask.. heck even rejuvenating gloves on a good night. I needed 30 minutes to brush, tweeze, moisturize, and decompress before bed. Fast forward 3 years and I am lucky if I get 3 minutes. My toddler micro manages every personal ritual I have to the point I have to make up stories to keep her at bay. I told her if she touches me when I spray tan her whole body will turn orange. She thinks bronzer is fairy dust that can only be applied on holidays. Convincing her not to use my über expensive face cream as her body lotion is a lengthy argument.
1. Coffee and restaurants. The drive through is a life saver for a mom. If you don’t have children, it may not have occurred to you that infants may finally be sleeping, toddlers are reading, and for a moment chaos is controlled. That being said, I get angry when the drive though line is long with one person in their car. Seriously?? If I am by myself I will gladly walk my latte driven ass into the Starbucks to order a coffee.
2. Nice restaurants. Before kids Mike and I would choose restaurants based on the food and wine and didn’t think about whether it was family friendly. Having children means fancy restaurants are a waste. Yep, I said it. People are always telling me they take their kids to upscale restaurants and it’s great, the kids were well-behaved blah blah. Fine dining is fabulous sans kids and this is why. My children are well dressed. My toddler is polite and charming. Guess what? She is still a toddler. My idea of a fabulous dining experience includes multiple courses, invigorating conversation and a bottle (or two) of wine. I have never met small children who have a pallette for imported cheese and prefer to be silent for two hours.
3. Errands. Everyone has errands. I have always been a person of numerous errands on a weekly basis. Some of these are choice related. For example, I prefer Trader Joe’s for beverages and snacks, Farmers market for veggies and salsa and Ralph’s for our day-to-day essentials. My dry cleaner is great but I prefer a different alterations person. You get the idea. Doing errands with children takes FOREVER. Instead of running from place to place everything has to be an adventure. I listen to myself narrating the errands and I even convince myself: it sounds awesome. Couple that with the gear, diaper changes for the inevitable poop blowout, special surprises for being good and three stops will take all afternoon.
4. Meeting for coffee/lunch. I love meeting my girlfriends for breakfast. It is one of my favorite times to catch up and there is an energy and earnestness that comes from meeting up late morning. But, coordinating the tiniest get together is a BEAST. Before kids, meeting for coffee or lunch was an after thought. Having kids completely changes the cavalier meet up. It takes coordination of a sitter/partner days in advance. If a partner isn’t involved then it costs a ton of money. I recently told one of my best girlfriends the cost of us “lunching” and she was aghast — and that didn’t include the cost of the lunch itself.
5. Leisure anything. I am in a hurry every moment of my life. I don’t browse. I don’t stop for lunch with the exception of a sandwich to go. I tap my foot impatiently when the person in front of me chooses to be indecisive or holds up a line. My heart speeds up when someone causes a delay. I take it personally when someone causes and delay and want to say, “Don’t you know how much I have to do today? Hurry Up!!” I can’t help it; as a mom with a career someone ALWAYS needs something.
Looking at this list, I can’t help but giggle. Two of my dearest friends, Megan and Molly are always asking me what it’s like to be a mom….. when they read this they will surely rejoice they are without children. What is crazy to me is how children can provide the biggest annoyance and a surge of happiness in a 2 minute period. Bailey was in the backseat today and was calling me. I turned around and she said, “Mommy, you are beautiful. I love you.” When our baby wakes and begins fussing I go into her room. As soon as she sees me she gives me the biggest smile. It melts me. I will take the chaos of my life any day.
Happy Mother’s Day to the fabulous moms who read our blog!