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I start my mornings with a Starbucks and a Spinach Feta Wrap about 7 am. Then, I do an hour of Pilates and cardio, followed by thirty minutes of Booty Barre. Feeling super toned and ballerina-like, I pop my favorite champagne and slide into an essential-oil-infused bubble bath. This is where I do my best writing and catch up on all my social media feeds. Don’t worry, I have the children sitting with a box of Cheezits each in front of their favorite YouTube shows. The Playlist lasts 5 hours – Perfect. I also just left the jug of apple juice in front of them in case they get thirsty.
Back to my day: My tub cools down, so I get out, put on my favorite, fluffy, perfectly-white robe and do a full blow dry and makeup. I pull on non-yoga pants and clasp a real bra. I start contemplating a target spree…SMACK! That’s reality hitting me in the face as my daydream is jolted away, and a toddler wacks me with their cardboard, paper towel tube, aka “sword.” My non-Starbucks Keurig coffee just finishes pouring, and I realize I don’t have any champagne or bubbles coming my way anytime soon.
I find myself falling into the dream trap some days. I think of all the things I want to do, wish I could do or haven’t done in forever. The mommy hood balance is most difficult when we are trying to decide where we can put ourselves first. Each time we make a choice that is more for us than them, there’s that pang of guilt that we have to carry. We feel like a bad mom. Well, I’m here to say that I let myself be a bad mom every day. We have a beautiful, selfless job, but the reality is, our little ones are not the center of the universe, and we are required to teach them that, as well as let them know we are people, not just their mom. I’m a little bit “selfish” everyday, and here’s how:
- I Shower: I’m a nursing mother with leakages. I have a newborn with blow outs and spit ups, I wipe bottoms and take out garbage. I will shower every day, even if I have to put the boys in straight jackets while I do it (I wish). I have various ways I manage a shower when I’m completely outnumbered at home 3:1. It usually involves the tv, while the baby sleeps in a little bassinet in the bathroom with me. Or, I have to have everyone in the bathroom, and I tell an elaborate police – chase story that enthralls them long enough for me to rinse, shampoo and condition. Either way, a shower WILL happen!
- I Workout: reality right at this second is, I don’t always get much of a workout in with a two-week old baby. Sometimes it’s only 50 squats while I have the baby in the front pack, and that’s all I end up getting to. Other days, I fit in some Pilates while everyone is napping. It’s a struggle now, but it’s something I know makes me feel better, and I have more energy for the rest of the day.
- Quiet Time: I make them sit on their beds with one book and be quiet for 15 minutes or so everyday. Sometimes it’s in the morning and sometimes it’s at night. I am not only teaching them to be quiet and sit still, but I get 15 whole minutes to cleanup the war zones, make a phone call, send an email and actually respond to text messages, all while balancing a plate on my head (just joking). They don’t like it, but I love it. 15 minutes is about all they’re capable of right now, but I’m working towards the 20 minute mark frantically.
- I let Them Be Wild: there is also a point in the day where I play and encourage them to run, yell and laugh. Most of the time this is some sort of chase and tickle game. I just let it roll and let them go! It really gets all their energy out, and they laugh they’re heads off. This may not seem like I’m choosing something for me, but the process makes me feel connected and joyful. We all laugh together, and the pure, exhausted smiles totally brightens my day.
- I Hide Their Toys: I can’t stand the toys everywhere. They also get broken, so there are pieces of things and crap that just shows up out of no where. It drives me insane, so I’ve slowly downsized their toys to a few little boxes, and I hide the left-over toys. I find that they have a few favorites they use everyday, a couple that are randomly used, then all the other toys that just get dumped out, looked at, thrown and left. They’re exciting for a hot second. So, I have a few little plastic storage bins of toys hidden in closets. If they really need some new entertainment, I’ll bring them out. Otherwise, they are stuck being creative with the amount of toys they have out. I’m tough on this one. It saves me the frustration of picking everything up all the time, and the bonus is it teaches them to be creative with what they have. Less is more on this one for me!
Unfortunately, none of my points involve champagne or bubble baths. Maybe in 10 years when the boys are hopefully more self sufficient. I will go grab a Starbucks and put a movie on in the car for some peace and quiet, and a caffeine fix. Sometimes it’s not even the caffeine I want, it’s just the cup, the going somewhere, the feelings of fall, and talking to adults at the drive thru (there’s no way I could manage two toddlers and a baby and my coffee without some sort of disaster if we actually went in! I don’t even know how that would be possible?!) that make it more than just coffee. Everyday, we need to make some choices for ourselves. It’s important because it makes us happy, and our children love when we are smiling and happy. They are kids, so they think they are the reason for everything. If we aren’t happy, they notice and internalize reasons why they might be the cause of our frustration, sadness, anger etc. I want my boys to feel confident they are a source of joy, and by creating scenarios that allow me to be human, I keep my heart in a place that has plenty of room for giggles, and isn’t stuffed with resentment.