WWaGMD

snowWhat would a good mom do?

Sometimes I have to stop and ask myself that question, because if I acted solely on my own wants and desires, I would plop my oldest down in front of the TV for six hours, give my youngest a box of Honeynut Cheerios, and read a book. That’s what I would do.

But then I see these moms on FB, saying how excited they are that it snowed and how wonderful it’s going to be to take their tiny humans out to make a snowman or whatever other freezing activity you can think of for a snow day… and I think, “Is this what a good mom does?”

And I instantly know the answer – yes. A good mom will put down her (luke)warm cup of tea, put on real pants (with tights on underneath), find the snow suits for the boys, convince them to wear them, bribe them to put on warm shoes, bribe them again to wear a hat, shovel them in the car, find the dang sleds in the mayhem of the garage, and go to the dang park.

So I did. And I managed to convince two of my friends to bring their kids, too. Misery loves company.

The kids loved it. They abso-freaking-lutely loved it. There were snowball fights. There were games of tag. There was even a dog pile in the snow (wherein my son was the bottom layer) and no one even cried. Not even once. Even us moms were laughing. It was a snow-day miracle.

So no matter what happens for the rest of the day – macaroni for dinner, complete lack of toilet cleaning, 3-hour TV marathon – at least that happened. Turns out we really are good moms.

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“Over”achieving

Yes, I planned a theme party for my two-year-old. No, he didn't care. Yes, it was fun for me. No, you don't have to do it if you don't want to!

Yes, I planned a theme party for my two-year-old. No, he didn’t care. Yes, it was fun for me. No, you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to!

It’s funny, being a mom. You lose yourself in wiping butts, making healthy / creative snacks, scouring Pinterest for toddler activities that will keep the two children from killing / maiming each other on a particularly snowy day when you haven’t been outside for three days straight…

And it’s hard. You don’t get time to talk to other adults, further your career, or dress like a normal human being. (Damn you, yoga pants, for being so comfortable.)

And then we compare ourselves to each other.

A friend of mine shared this list on Facebook the other day and the comments instantly piled up around “overachieving moms” – who apparently make parenting harder for the rest of us. But only if you compare yourself to them.

I feel like I’m doing a bad job at least once a day: The kids aren’t eating enough vegetables. Blaine is nowhere near potty-trained (um, he knows where the toilet is?). Cal isn’t getting enough one-on-one time. The list goes on. I also used to (less now) compare myself to other moms: They feed their kids organic foods. They make their own snack bars. They use cloth diapers. They do a sensory activity once a day. They wore their baby instead of packing him up in a stroller to go to the library. For me, these things are really hard. For me, these are “over” achievements.

But here’s the thing: I do a lot of things really well. I love throwing theme parties for my two-year-old. I love making Shutterfly books of my kids’ every milestone and vacation. I love taking photos of them every month and making a collage. I love getting them out for hikes. Not everyone does. For them, these are “over” achievements. Every once in a while, someone will say to me “how do you have the time?” I’ll tell you how: I use disposable diapers. I don’t bake my own granola bars. I only give my kids a bath every other (okay, third) night.

I’ve learned not to compare myself to other parents. They aren’t over-achievers, they’re just achieving different things – things that we perceive as deficiencies in ourselves. We are all doing our best to reconcile who we were – teachers, crafters, jewelers, travelers, doctors, etc. – with what we’ve become – moms. And we’re all doing an amazing job.

So Easy

Toss_GameOh, Pinterest. How I love you. You give me these great spur-of-the-moment ideas about how to entertain my toddler on a snowy day (when neither of them will nap and my last shred of patience has been spent on a battle over what’s for lunch) …but you inevitably fail me.

Why? Because my toddler has a one-year-old little brother.

I put the painters’ tape down on the carpet.

I placed three bowls 3 feet from the line.

I gave him plenty of soft, easy-to-throw objects to toss into the bowls.

I even cheered for him when the object made a fun “ding” sound as it ricocheted off the bowl and into the fireplace.

All went well, for 30 seconds.

Until little brother tore up the tape.

And little brother started pulling all the rubber duckies out of the bowl.

And little brother put ducks in the ball bowl and balls in the bug bowl.

And little brother stood in front of the bowls, waving his pudgy little hands.

Oh, little brother. If you weren’t so cute…

This is why sometimes you have to be a parent to understand why parenting is so HARD. On the outset, things look so easy.

Just make up a fun game for them! Childless people proclaim. Kids love games and playdough and fun snacks and being outside!

Until the tiniest person in the room interferes with the games, the playdough ends up in the mouths of dogs and babies, nobody likes the snacks because everyone is only interested in eating chicken nuggets and mandarin oranges, and outside is covered in frost and nobody likes wearing gloves.

But they’re so dang cute.

It’s all fun and games…until someone eats the cloud dough.

07_03_2013 (4 of 27)On the list of things that I love, these two moppets fall right below Blaine and right above Girl Scout cookies. They are my dogs: Peanut and Sydney. They were my babies before I had babies, and I love them to bits. Which is why they are still alive this afternoon.

Because in the wee hours of the morning, we awoke to the sound of Peanut retching in the dining room. “Oh boy,” I thought as I grabbed the flashlight and jumped out of bed, “she’s gonna barf.” And she did. Which added to the 15 other piles of nastiness that she had already left as little presents all over the newly-carpeted room. (Coming from both ends, mind you.) Gasp.

In hindsight, it’s all my fault. I should never have let them in the backyard after the kids had dumped cloud dough (made from flour and oil) all over the backyard in a frenzy of fun times yesterday. And then we probably shouldn’t have shut them in last night…even though it’s protocol since they bark at squirrels late into the night.

Shampooing the carpet at 8:00 in the morning with a rented machine that is roughly the size of my dorm room refrigerator was not that bad, actually. It was kind of rewarding – the kind of reward that you get when something is really dirty, you clean it, and you feel gratified with your efforts.

It’s amazing to me what being a parent / homeowner / adult means: complaining is fruitless, action is quicker, and life goes on. If I would have told my younger self that I would literally have touched poo twice in one day before lunch (Blaine had quite the diaper bomb, too), my younger self would have put her hands over her ears and shrieked, “la la la la la! I can’t hear you!” But as a friend of mine recently reminded me, adulthood is the price we pay for having the authority to buy whatever kind of ice cream we want at the store…and eat it for dinner if we so please.