Professional mom seeking clarity, balance and a well deserved glass of wine.
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I was at a popular water park this past summer with my kids and another family. My inner voice was on overdrive, complaining for a good part of the day. My four year old is exactly 2 inches too short to ride any of the big fun rides. Everyone else in our party was tall enough. So, I had to stay with my little one on all the kiddie slides for most of the day. This WAS NOT FUN. The idea of all those bare feet everywhere touching everything WAS NOT FUN. The thought of all that pee warmly floating around me WAS NOT FUN. The fact that we had to “go potty” ALOT, WAS NOT FUN.
Yet, I look around and witness hundreds of other parents who appear to be having fun. So, I tell myself, “I’m such a bad mom!” The critical voice goes in to overdrive and she’s off and running. Then I think, wait, let’s put the brakes on here. Am I a bad mom or just someone who doesn’t really have ALOT OF FUN at water parks.The bad mom thing is simply a story that I tell myself. I’m pretty sure there were other moms there who were not having fun. I know I wasn’t the only one. I am positive that there were other moms there who secretly wished they were at a tropical resort, drinking margaritas while having a massage on the beach instead of being at this feet-infested, chlorine drenched god-forsaken water park. Right?!
I realize now that I do this alot. I also like to use the word ALOT, alot! I am in a given situation with my kids and it just isn’t any fun and I tell myself the on-going story of how I’m a bad mom for not liking it. For example, spas or salons are not a place to take your children until they are about 5. Ok, maybe until they’re 40. A pedicure, for me, is sacred time. It’s a delicious little gift of QUIET time to savor. I made the mistake, on more than one occasion, of taking my kids with me to get a pedi. Picture my youngest daughter squirming on my lap most of the time, my oldest decides that complaining and talking back are a good idea and I am having a hot flash. All I want to do is run. Run straight out the door, toilet paper stuck between my toes and all. I don’t care that half my toes are painted and the rest are bare and sad. I NEED QUIET. I NEED TO BREATHE. I NEED TO BE ALONE. Now, I look around the nail salon and see people watching me. I’m sure they are judging me and thinking, “Wow, she’s a horrible mother.” Or wait, is this just that old story I’m telling myself again?! Why, yes it is. I’m not a bad mom for taking my kids with me to my sacred space. I’m just dumb. Next time I make this mistake, just throw a brick at my head. Please. To remind me that this is a space just for me. It’s not a space where I have to include my children, even though they love it too. They can enjoy this little bit of heaven when they are older and can pay for it themselves.
The other places I’ve felt like a bad mom were (listed in no particular order):
–the hospital (too tired to breast feed after giving birth; surely the other new moms there were perky and thrilled to be poked and prodded and handed a little person every hour or two to suck the life out of them)
–the portrait studio (breaking out in a sweat while chasing my 18-month old around the studio)
–shopping (watching the look on the cashiers face at Nordstrom Rack, while my 2-year old screams in protest wanting to eject from her stroller)
–school programs (I just want to sit and watch my older daughters entire performance instead of stepping into the “cry” room to breast feed my youngest)
–friends wedding (again, with the breast feeding)
–client dinner with my family (baby daughter decides it’s a good idea to crap her pants until it’s oozing down the high chair)
–little kid birthday parties (I’m just gonna say, I hate them unless there’s alcohol)
–softball games and sporting events (darting to the bathroom every 5 minutes while my youngest was potty training was not my idea of a good time)
–various restaurants, car washes, movie theaters and frozen yogurt establishments
As I write down these memories, you may be thinking, wow, why did you have kids?! Do you even like them?! The answer is an undeniable and emphatic YES! I was destined to be Drea and Ivy’s mom. I love them more than anything on this planet. They are so smart and beautiful and funny and wonderful. I think I’m just not the perky mom who strolls into school with six kids in tow looking refreshed and well-put together at 7:30am. I’m simply not her and that’s ok. I don’t love my kids any less and I am still a good mom. I’m just the mom whose ready to strangle her little one because she doesn’t want to get out of the car while the older daughter announces she’s forgotten her gym clothes and can I run back home and get them. Never mind I have a meeting in an hour. Infuse caffeine STAT doctor–she’s breaking up, she’s breaking up! At this point, only bionics will save her.
Stay sane, my friends.