9 Little Things For Moms In The Trenches Of Motherhood

Before I was a working mother, my life was totally different. I had several moments where I was bored, frustrated, angry, confused–and also several that were amazing because I was able to give my undivided attention to my kids 100% of the time. And then there’s also the fact that my presence was a lot less questionable during that time, I know this because my husband makes mention of it. Now some days I’m lucky if I remember to shower.

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Fast forward to my life now, and I work because it keeps me from totally losing my mind and it helps me to feel important to someone over the age of 5. I’ve also had major life changes that don’t give me another option to be able to stay home full-time. And god made alcohol (or man—although it should have been a woman, if you want to get technical), so I can totally do that once the kids are asleep at night to calm me down from the stress of life.

I don’t ever think anyone should ever have to apologize for wanting more, or have to justify their rationale to those who are quick to judge. I work because that’s my thing and I’m lucky enough to have found something that allows me to do it from home.

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We are all mothers here, we can all relate to certain things. And these are those right here:

-Alcohol: Yes, and lots of it. How else am I supposed to go to sleep at night after cranking coffee all day long? Plus, when I’m annoyed, it helps me to keep my eyes from permanently rolling in the back of my head.

-Curse words: Sometimes it just feels good to let the shit fly, and if you don’t think so you are totally full of it. But I use enough of them for you that there’s plenty of them to go around.

-Coffee: see alcohol. Also, my reason for existence on earth.

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-The Magical Thing Called “Bed Time”: My kids know the drill: From 10PM-6AM, I’m off the clock. Go bug your dad, because Mommy is unavailable to talk your calls or give a shit about who hit who or where your Beanie Boo toy is.

-Social Media: I need this because when I am slammed with work, and I happen to pop on social media for some air, I love to see how hard other mothers are working on Pinterest crap with their kids. Honestly, if I went to someone’s house and saw a wreath made out of popsicle sticks, I’d wonder if they knew it looked like shit on their front door.

-A Good Sense Of Humor: Shortly after my third child was born, I went on a run to the grocery store at night with my oldest in tow. When my daughter saw me breeze by the wine aisle, she asked if I was going to get any, to which I said “no” and her response was simply: “But you drank wine when you were pregnant?” Needless to say I wanted to die then and there but had to walk away quickly. Funny now, not so funny then.

-Yoga Pants: I did yoga a few times, put me right to sleep. The longest I hold still for is when I am driving because if I didn’t I would run off the damn road. But the pants are comfortable and they come with an adjustable waist band. #momass

-Dessert: Chocolate has superpowers. Enough said.

-Close Friends in the Trenches: Sometimes there is nothing better than being able to message another mother at random, because you know she can relate to whatever shit you’re going through. Life is short, and we can all use someone to lean on.

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Damn you Dads…Always the “Cool” Ones.

Men are simple creatures. I’ve always thought that. They like simple things, they’re easy to please. Screw them, feed them, shut the F up—for the most part. Give them a remote and a beer and they’re usually A-OK. Well, maybe that’s a bit extreme, but you catch my drift.

From what I’ve seen, when it comes to parenting, those sneaky bastards always seem to have the upper hand. Moms are the boring ones who make you do your homework and finish your food, the ones who make sure the kids have flossed their teeth and taken a bath before bed. What do men do exactly? Aside going to this magical place called “work” every day?

Here are 5 little things that all dads get that can make us moms batshit crazy:

Praise for cooking

OMG, Dad! These are the best eggs ever! I didn’t know you could cook!”

–insert eye roll straight into the back of head and invisible dagger through man’s chest thinking of how these same kids just throw your eggs on the damn floor….which you obviously have to clean, too–

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To not to have to worry all the damn time about every little thing.

What are the kids gonna wear? What are the kids gonna eat? What, when, why, how times infinity times a million.

The mother is responsible for bathing, dressing, meal lunch prep, after school snack prep, basically anything that involves actually caring for said child in the literal sense. Dads cannot be concerned with such things. They worry about things like golf and when they are going to get their next meal. Dad gets to walk in with a big “Heyyy!” and all of a sudden Jesus has risen from the dead while you stand there covered in snot and soup thinking what the hell is wrong with this equation.

To SLEEP.

What.the.fuck is a “nap” anyway? And more importantly, why do they get them and not me?

The last time I got a nap was when I was laying in a hospital bed. You know, the same day our last child was ripped out of my body. The last time he got a nap was Sunday.

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To be the cool one who doesn’t have to drive the minivan.

Seriously. I had to trade in the last cool thing I had left. These kids already took my damn body and sanity, they’ve got to take my cool car, too? Might has well have gotten a hearse, because my life is basically over with.

To Not Have To Play Nurse 24/7

I love my kids oh-so-much but when they are sick I want to dip myself in Lysol. Dear Ol’ Dad isn’t forced to drag them to the doctor’s office into the cesspool of germs, that’s mom’s job…just like it is to hold their hair when they puke…even when it’s on you.

I Am Not Pinterest Mom…Just The Queen Of Pinterest Fails

I remember when Pinterest first came around. My brain is a little foggy from loss of brain cells since that time, but I’d say it was around 2012 when it started gaining widespread pandemonium popularity. I remember this because it was also the year that I had my second child…13 months after having my first. Yes, I know, I’m crazy. But all is well now.

Obviously when you have kids back to back as I did, cramming in a career is usually not an option. Unless you work from home or have a ton of help–or you don’t mind paying several thousand dollars a year for childcare. Since I am not a celebrity or rich, I didn’t have the option to bounce right back into a flourishing career so I wanted something “to do” when I wasn’t preoccupied with diapers and feedings, etc.

As I started hearing all this buzz surrounding Pinterest, I remember telling my husband about it. Like most things, he said, “sounds expensive” and left it at that. And really, he’s right. Unless you’re super crafty or it comes naturally to you there’s a tendency to stock up like you’re preparing for the Apocalypse when going to the craft store. And Pinterest fails? I’m the queen of those. I don’t have the patience for it and I burn my fingers with the stupid hot glue.

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I remember feeling jealous when I could see other mothers make all these cool crafts for and with their kids and wondering why I couldn’t do shit like that. Am I doing it wrong? Is it really that hard? Surely it couldn’t be. But then when the novelty wore off for me, which is about a month or so given my gnat-like attention span for trying new things, I realized why. Because it wasn’t me. I am not Pinterest Mom nor will I ever be. Those things just don’t come naturally for me.

I am touchdown dance mom. I am mom who likes to have dance parties to YouTube videos in the living room. I am mom who likes to take you to Starbucks and order you caffeine-free Frappuccinos. I am mom who will sing along with you to Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber songs in the car.

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We all have our strengths, we don’t have to be the same. We don’t have to be made to feel bad if we don’t relate to other mothers for things that are widely popular. It doesn’t matter, you are no less of a mother and your kids aren’t going to sit back and tell your grandkids one day about that amazing cheesecloth project y’all made together when they were 7. Let it go, along with the PTA and all the other mother stuff you feel like you have to like but don’t.

Be the mom YOU want to be and don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re not a true mom because of it.

I Am A Mother And I Drink. I Am Not The Devil.

Everyone has something that calms them down, helps them to relax, and brings them inner peace. Everybody has a vice, so to speak. This is especially true after a long day. A release from stress, life, parenting, work, whatever. For me, it’s alcohol. Always has been.

I get that life is not a competition, but I have stress. I have real life shit that weighs me down and percolates in my mind to the point at which I need some sort of release to make the worry go to rest.

Some people need to pray, others need to sweat it out in a gym, some may even chain smoke to ease their mind, but for me, I need my alcohol. What I don’t need is to be made to feel bad about it.mom needs drink

Yes, I have children. Three in fact. Regardless of this, I still deserve to kick back and enjoy myself. I am not dead just because I have kids. I am still a human being that likes to have deserved fun when needed, just like I was before I became a parent. I have several mom friends in the trenches who can relate.

And those tolerances we once had that were weak and easily tampered with? Those are a thing of the past. Bottle of wine? I got this. Sit back and relax and enjoy. Tomorrow morning may be a tad rough, but tonight will be fun. Besides, it’s nothing that a little water and Tylenol can’t fix—or greasy food.

I feel that despite my kids seeing me drink, they will turn out just fine. I grew up in a rather dysfunctional and interesting family dynamic, but even though things weren’t “normal” in my childhood, I cannot recollect ever once seeing my parents drink alcohol in front of me when I was in my youth.

My father was much older and had had his “party days” so that was behind him, but my mother was a single mom who often went out on the town and reserved her times of drinking for when her children were none the wiser. I cannot say the same. My kids have seen me drink on several occasions. But this is also mainly because I do not have a live-in housekeeper to care for my kids the way that I had as a child when my mother reared me. I do my best to wait till it’s past bedtime, but sometimes such is not always the case.dOKpmOkids-mother-annoying-tired-hungry-drink-moms-ecards-someecards

Not seeing my parents drink didn’t really teach me anything about alcohol anyway. How much is too much? Is it fun? Am I supposed to do it? I dabbled a little in high school but I was so focused on making good grades and playing sports that I didn’t care much for it during that time. Now after high school, that’s a much different story.

Thankfully my cool mom radar goes off when I meet other mothers that like to enjoy themselves and don’t pretend to be Mother Theresa. Because, really, what’s the point in that anyway? If I want a drink I am going to indulge myself. I work hard, I deserve it. I’m not waking up in the morning and drinking vodka from a flask. Save your judgement for someone who is actually doing an injustice to the world. I am only doing an injustice to my liver. And it’s my liver dammit, I can do with it as I see fit.

Everyone has their vice and for me it’s wine…or vodka, heck, even whiskey if that’s what I feel like I’m in the mood for…or all that I have in my liquor cabinet.

Life is short and I am not here to impress anyone, so to all of those mothers out there who are quick to judge another mother for letting loose and having fun you should ask yourself why you’re judging someone else in the first place. I won’t judge you for making shit off Pinterest, don’t judge me for drinking a bottle of wine on a Tuesday. Seems fair enough.

Be Affectionate With Your Kids. They Need It. And So Do You.

I can count on one hand how many times my mother told me that she loved me. And I can count on two fingers how many times she told me that I made her proud.

Those words matter. Not only to a child, but also to an adult.

When I was growing up, had it not have been for my father who I saw irregularly, I would never have received affection at all. My mother was just not that type of person. As a child–when your perspective is rather limited to not much else besides your family–you think of things as “normal” because you don’t really know the difference.

I didn’t mind it then, not receiving affection, because I naturally assumed this was how all families are.

Clearly, I was wrong.

For the rest of this story, click over to Life As Mama!

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Learning To Unplug From Life–And Work

When you work from home it’s not the same as working in an office. Sure, you are working, but “shutting it down” is just not the same as leaving an actual office when the clock strikes 5PM.

We are all guilty of “taking our work home with us” from time to time. For myself, I have been very guilty of this. But I’m actively trying to get better. I’d like to think it’s working.

I know for a fact why I do, and why I did this for so long to the point at which it was unhealthy. I liked feeling important. I liked the feeling that other people “needed me” outside of my home life. Sometimes when you have kids back to back and you’re deep in the trenches of diaper duty, meal prep, laundry and covered in spit up and snot, it’s nice to feel like your opinion matters to someone over the age of 5.

It’s also nice to hold adult conversation. For me, it serves as a fundamental outlet to escape and to satisfy my unbreakable passion to earn money and earn purpose outside of my family. None of this would be possible if I couldn’t work from home. My personal life wouldn’t allow for that. I have to be home to play shuttle bus driver, among other reasons.

But when is it “too much” that it becomes unhealthy? For me, it was when I realized what I defined as my level of “commitment” was a stark extreme compared to others. The phone can wait, the messages will still be there after the alert goes ding.

Above all, I’m actively learning that you don’t need to go on an actual vacation just to get away from work. You should have enough strength and will power and commitment to yourself and to your well-being to be able to shut it down even when you are at home.

Life needs balance. Without it, there are sure to be consequences. I think back to January of this year. I’m one of those corny people who goes guns blazing with personal “New Year’s Resolutions” I seek to fulfill because I convince myself that it will “make me a better person” when all is said and done. Typically I choose 3. This year was to give up caffeine, alcohol, and to try and take on side jobs and grow my “writing career” other than my editing career in hopes of self-fullfillment.

Fast forward to mid February and I was sick as a dog. My body, mind, and spirit were so run down and exhausted I could hardly move. Why am I killing myself to try harder? I couldn’t see that I was trying too much. For anyone that’s ever worked freelance at anything–or commission based–you understand the strange feeling of declining offers. You have this overwhelming sense of guilt that’s attached that makes you worry that you may not get this golden opportunity again.

Having to turn down the opportunity to earn more money was hard, but not when it came at the expense of spending less time with my kids or less time allowing my brain to have some downtime. The sense of worry was outweighed by practicality and I made myself speak up for the tiny voice in my head that was begging for a break.

Take those 5 extra minutes for yourself. Sleep an extra hour if you need it. We are all human and being a mother is like working two jobs that no-one is sending you a check in the mail for and if you throw a career on top of that it’s damn near impossible not to lose your mind on a few occasions. It’s okay to “shut it down” and detach. Don’t feel bad for needing or wanting that each day. Because if not, you’ll just be doing yourself an injustice that will transform into a major issue before long.

Why It’s Okay To Admit You Can’t Do It All

Five years ago I never would have been in this position. Heck, even two years ago I wouldn’t have. For years I spent far too much energy focusing on appearing as the “Supermom” that could do everything with ease. I even wrote about it once for a writing job. Surely if I read that blog to myself now I would roll my eyes straight into the back of my head.

You can’t do it all. But you know what? You shouldn’t have to.

It’s okay to admit that you need help. It’s okay to admit that you are tired and want to take a nap. There’s nothing wrong with accepting help or assigning responsibilities to your spouse or your children.

There is, however, a problem with putting yourself on the back burner for the sake of portraying an unrealistic and idealized perception of what a mother is supposed to be.

For years my weight ruled my life. The toxic relationship that I had with the scale and the clothes hanging in my closet dictated my mood and self-worth. But what’s worse is they conquered my well-being. Many times I would work out twice a day, and even more times I would skip out on meals or forfeit the opportunity to eat anything tempting. It was a twisted cycle that consumed my everyday existence. It isn’t until now, a few years later and over 20 pounds heavier that I realize that nothing I did was ever going to be enough.

No matter how skinny I was there was always going to be something I felt like I needed to change about the way that I looked. If it wasn’t for my daughters, I would still be that person. I saw how my obsession was leaving an impression on them and it made me see the awful, ignorant injustice I was bestowing upon them. I promised to change my ways, and slowly but surely I let down my wall I’d built up in my mind and I did.

Then I think about the perfectly cleaned house, the impeccably dressed children, and the amazing meals that I would prepare every evening. Now spot cleaning will suffice, my kids wear whatever is clean, and my family is lucky to get an appetizer out of me unless it’s game day.

The point of all of this is that the little things mean shit when you realize you are killing yourself for them. No one is watching you, as they are so consumed with their lives they barely have time to see yours and feel envy. Social media is a lie, so don’t believe all the mothers you see on there that have you convinced they are momming so hard and crushing parenting. Their husbands are probably sick of their shit and can’t wait to escape and I bet their kid picks their nose and eats it. You’re doing fine, so just relax already.

If you are losing yourself because you’re so caught up in the small things you will never, ever be truly happy. Sleep the extra hour. Take an extra day off of the gym. Put that sugar in your coffee. Have that second glass of wine.

When you slow down for a second and realize that life is meant to be enjoyed, not put into fast gear, you’ll see that all those things you cared about don’t matter anyway.

The dishes can wait. Your kid crying cannot.

You can also do what I did and stage silent protests. I’ve intentionally stopped doing laundry to signal to my husband that the washer and dryer does, in fact, have an on and off switch. I’ve also left used pots and pans sitting empty post meal to signify that yes, you can help clean the kitchen. If your better half helped make the kids he can help to take care of them, too, regardless if he is “tired” or has had a “long day” at work.

Accepting yourself and your needs will allow you to gain perspective on what truly matters. Give in to the urges to sit down and relax, and don’t be shy to speak up about wanting to divvy out some of your mounting tasks. Letting go of the stress of treading water will allow you to feel something you haven’t felt in a long time—relief.