LOTS of coffee, may I add. Probably more than I had my entire life ever since, combined.
So it’s been 1 year now. Already. And now that the shock of the time-speed has worn off, I got to thinking about all I/ we’ ve gone through this past year. It’s been wonderful, chaotic, full-speed, self-discovering, hilarious, exhausting, unstoppable, un-pausable, unforgettable. We loved it, and I never thought we would face it with so much grace and optimism about the many more to come, as we did. Neither did I predict I would NOT consider having a second one any time soon. Hashtag #oneismorethanenough.
First of all, I’ve never drank so much white wine on a daily basis. I know my husband did during his years of glory, but I like to think I’ve been good. Now we live by new rules and one of them is, like any parent knows, never.run.out.of.wine. But if you do, make sure you have any other comfort food around, like paprika Pringles, champagne, whisky, gin, and this kind of stuff. You got the point. There’s nothing I crave more after the baby goes to sleep (hopefully around 8!) than a glass (or more) of wine and a huge plate of home-made pasta covered in parmesan. This was actually next on the “never run out of” list. Yes, I’m into cooking, yes. Never did I think I would, but I am now. It’s basically the easy and yummy stuff, like pasta (I can now call myself a Pasta CEO), caramelized apples with cinnamon, quinoa, chia seeds and banana puddings, cream soups and other such improvisation.
There’s cooking 3 times a day. Washing dishes 3 times a day, because after each meal the kitchen is a mess and then you need to find those 20 minutes to clean up because before you know it, it’s lunch time or dinner time again and so on and so on day after day. If you have a woman that cleans the house for you on a daily basis, then you’re one of the smart ones, so lucky you, you don’t know what I’m talking about. So anyways, you do this pretty much from 8 am till 9 pm in my case, so that’s 13 h, among which you have to also put him to sleep (which is NOT easy because they don’t want to miss one second of play-time, of course), and you have to walk them outside to get air (as if they would’t at home as well…#eyesroll), and you have to entertain them continuously, and bring out old toys and build lego trains, and get them off of your laptop, and change them and make sure they don’t swallow things from the floor, and make sure they GET OFF THOSE PLUGS! Yeah, kids (or MY child for one) are fascinated about plugs and chargers and anything electronic. Maybe he’ll become an electrician, at the moment it seems like a dream job for him. But there’s a long way till there. For now I have 15 eyes rolling all over my head at once.
You will lose things. A lot, of any kind, everywhere, all the time. It’s like a chronic disorder, something you can not control, and that is beyond annoying. When you have to keep track of pretty much every single thing related to the kid and household AND yourself, your brain functions ten times faster and more effective, however, there simply is not enough capacity to remember where you left the less important things than babies, like house keys, IDs, engagement rings..It’s a mess, and it all falls on your shoulders. I recently searched for my iPhone for 2 hours straight, only to find it in the bin. Yeah, Sasha recently learned how to pick up things and throw them in the bin, but I showed him with dirty diapers and napkins. I didn’t assume he will eventually throw EVERYTHING in the bin. I guess he had a lot of fun watching me turn the house upside down searching for the damn phone. And he just turned one.
This is not at all how I pictured motherhood like. I was more of a Milla Jovovich in this Bazaar‘s 2009 July issue, where she reverses roles with Sex and the City’s co-star, Mr. Big and leaves him home to watch the kids while she’s all business. But guess what, it turned out the exact opposite way. Chris Noth does however, seem quite unhappy, except for that scenario where he’s getting attention from women. And I’d like to think I only seldom look like this.. I would lie if I’d say my hair is always clean and in place, that I’m always nicely dressed where I often spend a whole day in a loose t-shirt and underwear, that I don’t have spit or food on my clothes or that I’m wearing heels and make-up by bath time. And the mothers who pretend they do laundry in deux-pieces suits, are lying.
I just feel jealous of my husband for his freedom, and his lack of “dad-guilt”. I’ve experienced so much mom-guilt since becoming a mom, and sadly I still have it- which scares me given that my son is one and I have stayed home since day 1! I envy my husband because as a man, he is free from this cultural baggage that he “should” be staying home. I felt and still feel he technically and biologically belongs to me. And I also feel I should send him off to daycare ASAP. So I couldn’t help but stare at my laptop and think : is there any cure for mom-guilt?
It got me thinking: How do I want to raise my son and what kind of an example do I want to give him? I recently read a Vogue article on mom guilt, and an attorney mother said : “Some of the best women I know today grew up with working mothers,” an attorney and mother told me. “These women have a special cool confidence. I’d like to think I am helping my daughter become a better adjusted person.” An entrepreneur mom echoed of her kids, who are in day care: “I feel good that they have a life outside of me, that they have their own independence, as much as they can for a 2- and 4-year old.”
Consider the “long game” of your career.
A friend and ambitious working mother in New York surprised me when she said she’d prefer to be at home with her toddler: “These years are so short and their development is so rapid: New words, new looks, more clues into their mini personality.” But she remembers that “in the not-so-distant future, the baby will go to school full time and I’m going to think, ‘What about me? My ambition, my purpose (outside the home) and my dreams.’ What then? The workforce doesn’t look so kindly on a break. So I’m in it for the long game.” To cut down on her guilt, she sneaks out of work for an hour one afternoon per week to take her child to music class. It’s their special, stolen time together. I find this one of the most inspiring things I have recently read. So simple and short, yet so inspiring and motivational. Voilà. I just wanna grab my ass off the couch I’m currently sitting on, and get to work. (it’s 9 pm now, but tomorrow I mean).
Remember maternity leave.
“You know what largely cured me of my working-mom guilt? Maternity leave,” a friend and working mother of two told me. “I thought it was going to be a joyous summer spent basking poolside as the kids napped and frolicked. Instead, it was largely me screaming and crying, nothing getting done, exhaustion, and copious amounts of goldfish. It reaffirmed for me that I am not meant to be a stay-at-home mom. It’s better for all of us when I work.” Said another: “It makes me a more understanding and relaxed mother that I am not around my kids 24/7.”
I found me and my husband make a great team. There is a lot more ME in the equation, that’s true, but he is hands on at any time. Yes he sleeps like a rock throughout the whole night and doesn’t hear the baby cry, doesn’t get up to prepare formula, doesn’t get up in the morning before me to bring the baby in our bed etc etc. That’s all on ME. (and I hope you will read this I love you but sometimes I wanna kill you in your sleep when I see you sleep so deeply). I’m so lucky to have you by my side, I wouldn’t have so much fun without you!
It’s hard to play the nanny, house maid, chef, teacher, mom, friend, all at once. It’s hard to stay home 24/7, but it’s beautiful and rewarding as hell.