Once upon a time, when I still believed in the possibility of a fairy tale life… which is code for before my divorce… I would play the dutiful, perfectly thin wife and mother in my Audrey Hepburn style, wearing my ring from Tiffany’s whilst planning elaborate fundraisers and organizing theme dinners for our well-mannered, exceptionally groomed children. Bahaha! I did things much differently than most because I could afford to. And now? Well, now some days I am just happy things get done at all.
It’s hard enough to be a mother of three, and to say a working mother is redundant but for those that didn’t get that joke… let me break it down for ya. I find it offensive to say I’m a working mother because if you are a mother, then you work! All mothers work, whether it’s inside or outside the home, or if they get paid or not! Ok, fine, we can save the details on that feminist rant for a podcast or webinar at a later date ‘cause I will go off on that topic like a Southern preacher on Sunday trying to wake sleeping woman in the back row! But I was one of these mothers that, while married, was not forced to work outside the home and had help inside with things around the house, so I could focus on my children entirely–which makes for some hilarious stories to look back on since I am now an even busier single mom living many states away from my family (and yet I still question why Wentworth doesn’t call me).
For example, I actually wrote in my journal that my children would never wear clothes that were mismatched; sweats would not be included in their wardrobes or anything with a tacky character on it! I vowed I would try not let them wear the same outfits more than twice or leave the house without looking “cute.” And in the early months as a new mom, I would actually disinfect their “binky” after it fell on the ground. No really! I would clean it with disinfectant and I carried this spray bottle everywhere–yes, (insert eye-rolling here) I tried to do all the things that I thought I was expected to do in a series of books I read.
Oh! my lanz, what planet crazy was I on? It was like I lived in the world of “perfect mother” and my children would be a reflection of my hopes and expectations, but that certainly was not the case! It’s like I was trying to have them be a mirror of all my hopes for myself. My own type-A need for control in my life was realized by controlling theirs. It was a hell on earth for my children–an OCD, perfectionist, naive, silly, overly media fed girl’s view of what a mother should be. Tisk, tisk, tisk… (insert more eye rolling here as well). It was such a naive thing to think, enough to actually put pen to paper and write, NO SWEATS! And they had to always look “cute”–what does that even mean really? I mean, are not kids even cuter when they are a little disheveled anyway? See, these were the Mom-isms I had BEFORE I HAD CHILDREN, but now that I actually HAVE children, guess what this “mom on the move” learned quick? Real life and these little real lives take over!
After sixteen years of practice at being a mom, I am always looking for shortcuts, time savers and tips from other Moms on the Moves. Now I am not sterilizing binkys; heck, I’m happy if they leave the house clean. No longer do I worry about if they have on “cute outfits.” Instead, I’m checking to see if my teenage daughter has enough clothes on! They dress themselves, of course, and sometimes wear things that I don’t understand at all, and they even wear them more than once. Hey, I don’t judge them for repeating outfits, and so what if, when I was their age, I actually had a calendar in my closet where I would write down what I wore to school each day to assure I never repeated outfits (which my LuLu still mocks me for to this day)! And Prince Charming recently started a zealot’s allegiance to Star Wars costumes that he wears over and over and over again, everywhere. Oh, you are laughing I bet, and that’s fine THIS month, but he wears them year round! So I stroll into Downtown with Darth Maul. I hold my head up high in head to toe couture, ignoring the snickers and points, all the while reminding myself of something the evil, double-lightsaber-wielding character says, “Fear. Fear attracts the fearful… the strong… the weak… the innocent… the corrupt. Fear. Fear is my ally.” I hold his hand and fearlessly strut with my lil’Sith Lord.
I’ll admit this new laissez-faire form of mothering did not come naturally. I chase the Joneses as they pass me by… I’ll admit to it. I make lists, plan, meet deadlines, and certainly never would have wore gaudy clay, feathered beads around my neck, and a plastic jeweled crown in public, but I recently did for a day because Prince Charming put them on me and said I looked beautiful. So I must concede that the rules of the fashion world don’t apply in my toddlers’ world, and so I have decided while we are breaking rules, why not break a few others to save some time and help this “mom on the move” out? Here’s a few more I have bent over the years (feel free to add to the list of Mom-isms):
- They really don’t need a bath every day or to be covered in baby powder, lotion and oil. In fact, I found that warmed up wipes work as well as a bath if I’m really in a rush.
- Surely the five seconds on the ground rule that we apply to food and candy can be applied to binkys, right? I may have sterilized the binky of the 1st child when it fell on the ground but with the 2nd I would apply the 5 second rule, blow on it and wipe it on my designer jeans and give it back to her. And by the 3rd, they had these cute ribbon ties to the shirt with these clips and those binkies never fell on the ground… Holla!
- Fashion does not take precedent over comfort for toddlers; they love sweat suits with tacky characters on them! So I try my best to get the coolest Star Wars graphic tees I can find, but when it comes right down to it, my son is still in a puke green Yoda shirt.
- Chuck E Cheese is this huge giant rat that scares me half to death and is a huge migraine for adults, but not actually the devil.
- My toddler running around the house naked and “void of all fashion” is not to taunt me, but is about this little gift of personal freedom he gives himself. I need to embrace it and his announcement of “naked time!”
Please add more of your Mom-isms to the comments below because clearly there is really no right way to dress or raise your kids. There is, however, almost always a more expedient one!