or, “how to get stuff done when you have a toddler”
it’s all fine and well for people with (and without) kids to make suggestions to newbies on how to get stuff done. how to clean, how to work, how to shower. but truth be told, all circumstances and situations are unique.
the boy used to say things (or just think them, knowing hell hath no fury…) like, “well, my mom and grandmother …” yada yada – you get the idea. and for a new mom, that sentiment can go one of two ways.
1) you try harder, hoping to live up to some fantastical ideal and berating yourself when you can’t / don’t.
2) say, “f@ck you, i’m not them.” and give up.
obviously, there’s wiggle room – you may land a perfectly placed punch, have his bags packed and at the door by the time he makes it home from work, or even welcome the challenge to prove his dumb @ss wrong.
every day i’m amazed that i managed to get through another day without ripping out large chunks of hair or some other such unreasonable reaction due to stress. dylan is a wonderful handful. she’s bubbly and giggly and full of life, so sweet and so smart, always learning and doing. that’s exactly what you want in a child. except when you have looming deadlines and the dishes haven’t been done in three days, dinner won’t make itself, there’s possibly cat pee on your backpack / purse / shoe, and bedtime is in 10 minutes.
it only takes an evening of insanity for the boy to realize just how hard it is for me (any mom, in fact) to get stuff done (although i find most men have minds like sieves so it takes many of these evenings for it to actually sink in). dylan is completely capable of autonomous play (though it’s highly recommended you keep one ear open and be at the ready to run at all times) but as soon as you’re ready to do something – especially in the kitchen – she’s between your feet, demanding to be picked up. it’s actually really hard to chop vegetables with one hand, guys.
outside of dylan, we live in a culture of distraction – facebook, instagram, pinterest, television, netflix, phone calls and texts. all of these things serve to blind my focus to the task at hand.
i don’t know how mom’s managed before the explosion of the internet (or if they b!tched as much as we seem to do… but that’s a topic for another post – coming soon!) but i know i have no idea how i’ve been managing, and am actually in awe every night i am able to place a full, healthy meal on a clean dinner table and head to bed knowing i won’t have to wash dishes the second i wake up the next day. or when dylan gets bathed and into pyjamas.
so what i think they’re not telling you that they should tell you and i’m going to tell you because you need to hear it: there comes a time of day where you just sort of zone out – it’s like the mom sweet spot, almost zen. a perfect alignment. that’s got to be a mom superpower for real, where you’re just tired enough and fed up enough and coffee-fuelled enough to power through your daily chores because if you don’t do it they just won’t get done and we’re past the point where it’s totally acceptable to do nothing because, i mean the kid is walking now, so… you know. get on with it.
this doesn’t happen every day. the days i know i won’t get anything done are those days i can’t seem to log onto that disassociative state. i’m all too aware of the things around the house that bug me and cause that deep seated anxiety. vicious cycle. and it sucks, because no matter how many positive experiences you have, it’s like those bad days define your entire existence as a mother to you, your partner, the world. obviously they don’t but it feels that way, making it that much harder to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and do something about it the next day. things pile up (lord knows i like piles) and it’s overwhelming.
the moral of the story is sometimes you have to check out to check in. and if you can’t remember how or when you found the time to clean the kitchen, don’t worry about it. it’s clean, that’s all that matters.