If you can consistently do any of these things while being the mom of two or more kids, I want to know your secret!
- Keep your temper. I don’t care how patient or Zen-like you are, some things that your kids do are going to drive you bat-shit crazy and you won’t believe the words coming out of your mouth.
- Be guilt-free. Of course after you regain your calm you will feel pretty shitty for screaming at your kids and be convinced that you’ve damaged them for life. On days you don’t scream there will be plenty of other things to fuel your mom guilt, trust me.
- Have sex. On a Saturday afternoon…or Sunday morning…or on the couch….or during naptime (kids have radar for when parents get naked, I kid you not).
- Hear what your spouse is saying over the din of incessant talking, screaming, banging, fighting and other noise. “What?” “What’d you say?” “I still can’t hear you!” Forget about communicating, or anything resembling a conversation, before the kids’ bedtime.
- Finish a thought. Whenever you begin a thought, you will be interrupted by a child’s voice. It’s best to avoid thinking until after they go to sleep, but you’d better think fast because you will likely be interrupted when they’re awake again after a short while. My baby has already woken from her nap three times since I started writing this list. After the second time I soothed her, she was asleep until one of her wall decorations fell and made a loud thud. Shit like this just keeps happening on the merry-go-round of motherhood, and there’s no getting off.
- Finish a to-do list. You’ll end many a day fretting about what you didn’t have time to do, whether that be sorting through outgrown clothes, finishing a photo album, taking a shower, doing some work, or paying a bill. Shit will just not get done.
- Have alone time that doesn’t involve a trip to the store or doctor’s office. If you do get a rare moment at home alone without kids, it feels like Christmas and the Super Bowl rolled into one. Don’t waste that time on anything productive.
- Enjoy preparing a meal. I guarantee that when it’s time to make dinner three things will increase all around you: 1) the noise volume, 2) your children’s desire for attention, and 3) your frustration with having to cook with one kid attached to your leg and the other prodding you with never-ending questions. You might as well uncork the wine now.
- Eat out. Ok, to be fair, you will still eat out every now and again, but rarely will you think the experience was worth it, especially if you have kids 5 or younger. And forget good restaurants, you will resign yourself to dining options that include play areas.
- Eat warm food/drink hot coffee. Eating and drinking barely over room-temperature food and coffee is the norm. Sometimes you’ll try to reheat your food, but rarely succeed in eating it before it cools down again.
- Worry about germs. When your first child is a baby, you’ll be very concerned about germs and carry around a mini-hand sanitizer attached to your diaper bag. By baby #2 you will be cleaning your floors a lot less often, barely remembering to wash their hands before they eat, and not even flinching when another kid hands your baby a toy he’s been mouthing.
- Keep up with friends. You’ll still have friends – but unless they also have kids and live close by, you probably won’t see or talk to them for months at a time.
- Keep a neat house. Kids will destroy it – the floors, the toilets, the kitchen – and, my god, the laundry piles they will create. And you will be too tired to deal, especially by kid #2.
- Be the perfect parent you thought you could be. Being in the trenches changes everything. Most parents don’t pull off a perfect day, much less a perfect week, or longer. It’s too hard. You’ll say the wrong thing during a tantrum. You won’t set the best example. You will have moments of extreme frustration and really wonder if you were cut out for parenthood. You will read books that tell you how you messed up some stuff, and you will encounter moms who seem to have their shit more together than you. Keep Calm and Mother On.
- Neglect to be grateful. No matter all the hassle of everyday life with kids, most of the time you’ll watch them with wonder and amazement over how you made something so beautiful and pure. And the unconditional love flowing on both sides makes it all worthwhile, right?