(published by ElephantJournal.com on February 25, 2017)
by Amy Chesler
Hi, I’m Amy, and I’m a regular mom.
I don’t Pinterest, my house is generally pretty messy, and my kids’ outfits and hair are often not on point. Most days I’m just keeping it together.
Let’s just say that if motherhood were a sporting event, I’d be the one still tailgating (aka making sure the diaper bag and stroller are properly equipped) in the parking lot twenty-five minutes after the game began.
Oftentimes, I feel like I’m the only one. But then I’ll find myself surfing the “Mommy boards,” and I’ll come across a post that makes me stop and think, “They don’t all have it together like their Instagram makes it seem.”
This inspired me to compile a list of things (in no particular order) that every mom surely has done—but maybe doesn’t always want to admit.
Things that undoubtedly level the playing field of motherhood:
1. Fed your kids a “meal” that wasn’t really a meal at all. I like to call it “child’s charcuterie,” but really it’s just the remnants of what’s left from the last grocery run. Generally it consists of random fruit that escaped getting moldy, a string cheese, and some Goldfish. Voilà, breakfast! I’m not proud of it either, ladies. It is what it is.
2. Forgotten some sort of important event at school. My mom forgot to pick up my brother his first day of third grade. This year, my daughter’s school actually planned her class picture around her attendance (as she was only attending on certain days), and we missed it. Granted, she was sick, but I also totally freaking forgot. We all do it. I’ve heard of forgotten winter pageants, missed parent-teacher conferences and more. It’s a law of parenting: Plan and you shall forget.
3. Cleaned up all kinds of bodily secretions from any number of surfaces, oftentimes all on the same day. ‘Nough said.
4. Reluctantly sat out on an event that you really wanted to go to because you didn’t have, or couldn’t find, or lost your sitter. Que sera, sera.
5. Excitedly sat out on an event that you really didn’t want to go to, and were so glad you had kids as an excuse to escape the doldrums that would have impended. Phew.
6. Lied about your child’s age in order to get free admission to an amusement park. Your grandparents did it, your parents did it, now you’ll do it. It’s part of the circle of life. Also? Why at The Happiest Place on Earth would someone pay $100 to push their heavy ass kid around in a stroller all day? They’re not going to be able to get on half the rides their admission includes anyway. For f*ck’s sake.
7. Not ordered or not cooked yourself your own meal because the ingrates won’t finish all the food they order or you cook anyway. Having kids is expensive, and at times it’s prudent to save money in any way you can. So, vulture away.
8. Made a promise to your child that is emptier than a Ben and Jerry’s carton after a night of binge-eating. You know when your kid says to you, “I don’t wanna put on my shoes! I’m not going to Starbucks!” and the caffeine withdrawal makes you say, “Fine. Then you can stay home by yourself.” Obviously, this is untrue, but sometimes, you have to.
This will only last until she’s five, I know—then she’ll figure me out. I’m enjoying the next year and a half of unquestioned irrationality.
9. Arranged the background of a photo to be more presentable for its online viewers. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I just don’t give a f*ck, but on occasion I see the scattered puzzle pieces and spilled juice and think, “I should pick that up before I take the photo that may end up cute enough to put on holiday cards because I’ll be too lazy to have photos taken when it comes time.” Double phew.
10. Been too lazy to take family photos.
11. Not showered for days at a time. Or if you do, it’s an essentials sort of three-minutes-and-thirty-seven-seconds thing; some bits definitely get neglected. Also, what’s shaving?
12. Posted (or thought about posting) an “Is it too early to drink?” thread. The answer is no, it’s not. Let’s be real: If you’re not driving anywhere, and you know your own healthy limit, have your damn mimosa and enjoy it, too. Earlier, you had to ask on Mommy2Mommy how to wash beet-colored poop off of Himalayan suede, so you’ve earned yourself some bubbly.
13. You’ve had a movie day. And by day, I mean a whole, entire day. Like from wake-up to bedtime. Don’t worry, we all need a break some times.
14. Flipped your wig (or extensions). Rightfully so. Ask anyone who’s mommed before. This sh*t is no effing joke.
15. Relatedly, you’ve daydreamed of ditching it all for warm white sand and cocktails. No laundry, no whining, no cleaning, no preparing lunches, no folding, no family, nothing. Just you, warm water, drinks, food, and maybe your husband when you want some loving. Otherwise, a large, fluffy bed with a down duvet and no human alarm clocks. Le sigh.
16. Written a social media caption that wasn’t entirely truthful. Social media is great for one thing—connecting us. But with that, we often feel the responsibility of keeping things positive 100 percent of the time; no one likes a Negative Nancy. But, can we make room for a Realistic Rachel? Next time you post a photo of your kid eating fish and green beans with the caption, “He just hates junk food, I couldn’t pay him to eat it,” I dare you to be real. I know if I was keeping it a hundred, I’d be sharing something like, “This fool is eating his first vegetable in a week, and I feel like I deserve a standing ovation. Thank you, thank you!”
17. Ignored household duties to Facebook or blog or Instagram or eff off on the internet—because motherhood can be a bit isolating and lonely, and at times the only connection to the outside world is your phone or computer. Sorry, not sorry.
18. Properly diagnosed your child the day his or her symptoms appeared, totally knocking it out of the park as a mom (because, who else knows your child like you do?). Now, you’re thinking, why wouldn’t I want to admit that? Duh. No one likes a braggart.
19. Improperly diagnosed your child with a life-threatening illness (because WebMD).
20. Witnessed one of your own worst habits in your children. Like, when the teacher says, “I see her getting frustrated easily. Let’s work on taking deep breaths and focusing on the task at hand, rather than letting our emotions run away with us?” Yes, Miss Katie.
It’s true—some days we may feel like we’ve knocked it out of the park, and on others like we’ve struck out entirely. But that’s the point: We’re all doing it, so if you’re under the impression that you’re the only one not knocking it out of the park every day, think again.