Before I became a mom I would sit up on my high horse thinking of all the ways I would do it better. Those hypercritical thoughts like: Why are they having a meltdown in the supermarket? I would never leave the house without pants and then there’s the list of the stuff you would never let your children do. It is just so easy to pass judgment on other moms, until you have walked a mile in her yoga pants.
She won’t get into that.
We have an entire playroom and nursery for our one child. I baby proof both of them and our house in some for daily. I remember watching other moms constantly tell their babies, "No, don’t do that, don’t get into that." Why don’t they just put them in a place that is safe and baby proof? Charlotte, God love her, wants to be wherever I am. I naively thought I could look on while she entertains herself quietly in the playroom so I cook could dinner. It took less than one month for that bubble to burst and for me to realize motherhood was not a Lifetime TV movie of the week. She cries at every baby gate because she just wants to be near me. Isn’t that adorable?
Patience is a virtue.
I was a special education teacher for 5 years and I thought I had patience. I once had a student run off campus and climb a tree only to be rescued by the fire department, while a parent confused our parent-teacher conference as a private therapy session, and I finished out the day with a 2 hour staff development meeting about how to better manage our time (seriously); and I kept it together. Turns out we all have our limits and I reach mine roughly once a week. I thought my patience would overflowth for my own child. Ha. It’s a good thing there are no trees strong enough in our back yard for me to climb.
PJs in public.
Dressing Charlotte is like a boxing match. It happens in rounds and ding, ding, ding it always goes to her. While I was pregnant, I’d rub my belly and lovingly hang up all her outfits by color and imagine dressing her while we sang nursery songs. The reality, I will not change Charlotte more times than I have to. On mornings when we leave the house early, you better believe I’m not wasting an outfit on being in public, when her morning load is guaranteed to explode through and I only have the physical energy in me for 3 rounds a day.
Is that food on her face?
I worked at a restaurant in college. I’d see moms with children in footed onesies and what I could only hope was peas or broccoli on their face and I'd wonder how hard it was to take a wet wipe to their face? Uh, and why is she changing her kid on the ground? Personal hygiene for babies is about as much fun as personal hygiene for teenage boys and I would know, I taught Junior High. We would call the health teacher daily, begging her to mandate deodorant usage in the Spring. Face wiping and changing should be as purposeful and distraction filled as possible, with none of this I think she may be wet, so I’ll just change her any ways nonsense. For sanity purposes, I attempt to limit the waterworks to the necessary evils, like: shots, bedtime, and I’m sorry you cannot put the dog’s tail in your mouth.
Let’s go easy on each other and more importantly go easy on ourselves. Motherhood is tricky enough as it is. So the next time you pass a fellow mom with a half-naked toddler tantruming because it turns out the Hokie-Pokie is not what it’s all about, give her a sincere thumbs up or knowing smile and she’ll probably look at you like you’ve lost your mind and wonder why your yoga pants are not Lululemon.