Truth #53 – We secretly return your gifts

Shameful.

No matter how many times I walk up to the register and hand back the unworn/unused item, the guilt doesn’t subside but rather worsens.  A fine individual has gone out of their way to think of my child on a special occasion.  They took time out of their day and spent their hard-earned cash.  They chose something because either they liked it, they genuinely thought we could use it, or perhaps, they got a good deal.  Regardless, they extended themselves and thought an extra minute about our babies.

The Mother Truth is that sometimes we open it, nod in appreciation, tell them we love it and that we absolutely DO NOT have 10 of the same… and then sometimes, we return it.   We haven’t asked for the receipt and the generous gifter hasn’t provided it so we’re left with the item and sticker.  Not a problem as chances are we know where you got it because, if we’re seasoned mothers, we know all tags, brands and return policies.

Allow me a moment for poor excuses…

We may have doubles and can’t bear to hurt your feelings.  We may really need some winter socks rather than the 14th “I love Mommy” bib.   We knew we were having another boy and he may actually be throwing up blue so we were hoping to buy something in another colour.  We may have so much Made in China plastic that we’re getting high off lead fumes when all we really need are diapers.  Those are the good reasons…  I’m hoping not to spell out the not-so-proud-to-admit reasons for shameful return but come on!  There is so much glitter on girls clothing these days that it will forever be stuck between the grooves of my hardwood floors and down the sides of my car seats!  Those persistent specks have made their way into their underwear and all over Daddy’s face!  I don’t have boys but my friends do and they’ve told me to back off the cartoon clad t-shirts and Mickey Mouse running shoes!  Oh, and stuffed animals?  Nothing further.

I’m rounding the bend into the final month of my third pregnancy and I could start a receiving blanket, burp bad and scratch mitt store.  I’ve only ever used about 10 of my favourite receiving blankets which also serve as burp pads and I don’t believe much in scratch mitts so please don’t be offended!  We know how lucky we are to have YOU and our abundance of gifts and blessings.  If we can think of a better way to serve our children and your precious pay checks, allow us that privilege.   Don’t be hurt when you don’t see our child sporting the super-fun, multi-coloured Sesame Street sweater because I SWEAR IT, we were short on pyjamas!

Photos from here and here 

Truth #52 – It’s hard to remember they’re sick

 

I write this post with my husband in mind.  He’s a great dad and is naturally crazy in love with his two girls… BUT never more than when they’re sleeping.  The other day he says: “Can you believe how beautiful they are Nat?  I mean I love them so much but Mamma Mia, when they’re sleeping?….” Original Ag.  When our sweet babies are sleeping, we can get crazy.  It’s like we wanna make 10 more, freeze time, bite their faces, hold them all night, stare at them for hours.  It’s a dangerous time really.  We forget for a second what it took us to get there.

However, when they’re sick, sleeping is just one of the many things they totally suck at.

If you can try to remember a time when you were sick…  Eyelids like weights, stomach in knots, constant trips to the can, weak in the knees, trying to sleep but can’t seem to get it straight.  Our nose is so stuffed so we’re breathing through our mouths but end up pasty as hell so we absolutely cannot get our minds off our plugged noses long enough to fall asleep.  We might have such a headache that we can’t see past our noses.  Earaches, toothaches, tummy aches…  How bad does it blow to feel like garbage?

Kids are sick all the time.  School, toys, adults sucking their faces or using them as chew toys… However they catch it, they catch it a lot.  Initially we’re heartbroken for them.  Knowing how awful we feel when we’re sick and then seeing them have to go through it is torture!  They don’t understand and sometimes, they’re too young to express what they feel or what hurts!  We would do anything to take it away from them!  …  BUT after a couple of excruciating days, it’s hard remember they’re sick!  

We’re donning  a new necklace; their arms clutched around our necks. We can’t eat, can’t drink, can’t pee.  They’re emitting a constant whine that is more piercing than the sound of Elmo’s voice.  They won’t eat, drink, or take their medicine.  They are so frustrated that they cry all day long.  They lose control of their bladders, or puke where we wish they didn’t.  We have to do so much laundry that we’ve got no clean clothes of our own.  Chances are, we aren’t feeling the greatest either – WHO AM I KIDDING?  By now WE are obviously full on sick ourselves.  But because they are, we can’t be!  Mommy has no time to feel shitty.  

Everybody else’s life continues.   They work, go to school, have their own routines.  There is no relief for us!  So maybe for a second, we might like to sell our offspring to the highest bidder.  Come now, we want to!  Not for real but we almost can’t stand the sight of them for another second.  “Can’t you guys toughen up?  Just lay down and relax.  Try to SLEEP!  Stop freakin’ crying!  Why won’t you drink!  You’re gonna get dehydrated!  WHY DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND??!!!!

They don’t understand.  The Mother Truth is that sometimes it’s really hard to remember they’re sick… And then when there’s more than 1?  We’ll leave that one alone. Happy baby making!  Just think of how beautiful they are when they’re sleeping.

Photos from here and here and here and here 

Truth #51 – We want you to know ALL the things we’ve done

I don’t know what it is but for some reason, we never think we’ve done enough.  As if staying home and looking after the kids doesn’t cut it.  We wanna make sure you know what ELSE we did.

Maybe it’s because we belong to a club of mothers and there are so many participants that we feel as though we aren’t doing anything quite unique.  Like so many other women, we just have kids.  Although it IS plenty good enough as explained in Truth #27,  we don’t truly know it.  So the only way we feel we can stand out is by making sure somebody knows the other stuff we did that day…

This truth came to me one day when my husband called from work.  It was almost 3 o’clock when he called and I told him that I washed the floors.  Sure it was the truth but it was 10am when I finished!  Rather than telling him what the kids and I were actually doing at the time, which was watching TV, an ever so shameful confession, I wanted him to know that I washed the damn floors.  I caught myself and the light went off.  Since I recorded the truth, I’ve noticed I’m not alone!

We want someone to know when we’re cleaning.  We want someone to know when we’ve taken our kids to the library or to the mall or grocery shopping.  We feel as though just an ordinary day of play, meals and laundry doesn’t do our day justice.  We want to say that we took our kids swimming or even to a doctor’s appointment because that for us, is more.  What goes into an outing with a baby or toddler is unreal!  I take my kids swimming and I have to prep the night before and by the time I’m ready, I can fill a luggage!  Bathing suits, towels, swimmers, diapers, wipes, life jackets, and if it’s winter?… Phew!

I catch myself rhyming off my chores with my mom and mother-in-law because it feels good to be validated and proud of.  God forbid we be regular.  Regular is not okay as a mom.  To be a regular wife, a regular employee or a regular daughter is often fine, but we’ve got to be a BETTER mom.

It all comes down to wanting to do our ultimate best for our babies!  From what is enough tummy time, to what are enough extracurriculars.  When to start foods, preschool, punishment, or sleep training.  We break when we feel as though we’ve fallen behind.  It’s a tricky thing this gig and that’s why we sometimes want someone to know.  Because we’re trying really really hard!

Photos from here and here and here

Truth #50 – No, a puppy is NOT the same a baby

Oh animal lovers!  Myself, not so much.  I mean I really like animals having grown up with dogs and cats, fish even, but after all that, I am definitely not running out to get one.  I have young kids and this pad doesn’t need another loud, stinky and time-consuming complication!  

Have you ever had a conversation with a new puppy owner?  Maybe it was had while bouncing your baby on your knee.  You may not have tuned in for the whole conversation with the super-stoked animal lover because you couldn’t think about anything other than keeping your baby quiet and entertained long enough for them to gush.  I guess it’s not unlike the majority of our new mommy conversations.  They resemble a slew of messy sentences thrown together while being hopeful to get our point across within the hour.  Pretty sure that ain’t the case for Mother Canine.

My husband nudged me into this Truth.  There he was, sitting across from dear friends who were new pup owners.  They were genuinely elated, the new pup had brought them such joy!  He nodded, truly happy for their delight… until they made the innocent yet VERY ignorant comparison.  “It’s JUST like having a new baby!” Unfortunately for them, they continued on with the comparison digging themselves deeper, in attempt to sway him!  It was clear to us, as it now is to you, they absolutely DO NOT have kids.

Aside from the obvious human vs. animal comparison, allow me just a few blurbs to nail down this Truth… They lived inside us, their food doesn’t come in a bag, we can’t leave them alone, or in a car, for maybe 12-15  years? … for about as long as some breeds life expectancies.  Harsh?  Yeah maybe.  Babies cost way more money, they grow out of clothes, hockey equipment, beds, and toys.  We forever have to watch what we say and how we behave.  A new puppy is so exciting, and in many ways a huge responsibility, especially for the first year of its life.  Come now though, our kids will cost us money and hair, sometimes well after they leave the house.  Leaving the house??  Today it took me short of 30 minutes to dress my kids good and ready for below 0 temperatures.  Mommy, I want this hat, those gloves, I’m thirsty and I hate scarves.  My girlfriend has to spell the damn word W-A-L-K  around her puppy because he’d be out the door before she could grab her coat.  Come on!

It’s all relative, no argument there.  A young couple gets a puppy and their lives are forever changed.  They never thought they could love something so much!  Maybe it’s their first significant responsibility.  It is in fact, another life!  It’s exciting, frustrating, demanding and SO EMOTIONAL but the Mother Truth remains, NO, IT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT LIKE HAVING A BABY!

Photos from here and here

Truth #49 – We start mailing Christmas cards

Maybe you’ve always sent out holiday greeting cards to clients or distant relatives but starting a family gives birth to the launch of precious picture-donned Christmas cards.  The spectrum of recipients can range from loved ones to casual acquaintances who may never have received best wishes from you in the past!

Is it done to show off your kiddies?  DAMN STRAIGHT!… Oh and Merry Christmas by the way!

My husband and I used to receive a few cards here and there but our fridge now resembles a daycare’s bulletin board!  Naturally we hit baby making age at the same time as everyone else in our circle and the photo greeting cards started pouring in!

We Mommies LOVE a solid excuse to send out updated snapshots of our little people and the holidays seem like the perfect time.  AND there’s always a full year of photo memories from which to choose!

Keep em’ comin’ because they’re fantastic!

The Mother Truth is that life gets in the way of much-needed visits to friends and their new families so we try to send out a reminder once a year!  Cheers to you friends, aren’t they fabulous?!

Merry Christmas Mommies!  No doubt a trying time of year for some of us but worth it for the memories!

Photos from here and here

Truth #48 – We’re hypersensitive about food

Junk food is taboo in most circles.  We all wanna believe that we eat healthy and make the best choices for our bodies and when it comes to nourishing our kids, we hate to admit the shortcuts we take for convenience.  For sanity!

What a sincere pain it is to bust our asses to make healthy choices for our kids, meal after meal, day after day.  We’re always trying to initiate tastes, textures and variety when placing the plate in front of our biggest critic.  Unlike adults, kids won’t choke things down to please the Chef.  Instead, they beat us down by responding with a “Yuk!” or rather by launching the slaved-over grub to the floor.  It’s easy to say that we subscribe to the so-called old way of thinking – “Well if they don’t eat what I make them, they don’t eat.”  That’s such crap.  Lies!  If you the reader has figured out how to repetitively make your picky eater leave the table hungry, toss me a line.  I would love to know your secret!

We’re hypersensitive about food.  Gone are the days where we can host a hotdog and chocolate cake party to 6 year-olds without a hitch.  Consequences from that type of shindig may include your child losing a friend! Best case scenario, the team of moms will toss your name in shit the very next day.

I’m sure we’ve all had play-dates where it becomes awkward.  The hosting mom will reluctantly hand over a ‘treat’ to keep their kid happy, subsequently offering one to your child.  Now what?  To be polite and accept the ‘treat’ for our child as well?  Or the riskier option, to decline the tasty time bomb and risk looking like a too-good snot with the kid who throws a tantrum because they’re missing out!

The Mother Truth is that we do what works for us and our kids.  The attempt at making our kids get excited about quinoa and wild rice is hard enough, we don’t need judgment from other moms who may have landed a good eater.  There is no doubt that we have to try our damnedest to introduce the healthiest option at our dinner tables because when our kids are out of our kitchens, they’ll have plenty of temptations at their fingertips.  We have no control over when they will swap lunches!  It’s true that we’re hypersensitive, let’s just try our best not to be judgmental in the company of other moms, because girlfriend, your plate of pasta is no better than my chicken fingers!

Photos from here and here and here

Truth #47 – It’s lonely sometimes

It took me a while to melt this one down.  Hoping as always to be sensitive to all of us super stoked and blessed mommies while trying to do some of our secret feelings justice.

These aren’t thoughts I’ve dreamed up but some that I’ve shared with fellow warriors so please be patient with this delicate discourse.

Sometimes we’re bored.  My kids are 3 and 19 months so you may think bored isn’t quite the right word but I think it is.  I’m home everyday between 1130 and 3 because my second is napping.  No, not for 3 and a half hours but when she’s tired and after she eats.  My oldest gets me to herself during that time so between Barbie’s, puzzles, ABC’s and 123’s, I’m left thinking about dinner, dirty floors, and laundry, of course.  We’re bored because multiplied by 365 save a few, it can be a long ass lonely day.

Sometimes we’re proud.  Our babies grow up so fast!  They make us laugh hysterically, and cry often.  Nobody gets to witness how forever changing they are except for us and although that’s fantastic and makes us feel a whole new level of special, we’re alone in it most of the time.  Only two of us were there, us and them.

Sometimes we’re not lonely enough.  As lonely as we may feel, we’re never actually alone.  Centuries past have spoken to us about how we’re less in need of alone time because that is a mother’s nature yet at times, we are bulging at the seams to be able to slam the door, breathe the air and drink the wine, yet when we really need it, it’s seldom possible.

The stay-at-home mom is a heroine, not unlike the working mom doing so to feed her children but she has true time alone.  She has a moment to lunch, a moment to shit, and a moment to bitch to a grown-up.  The Mother Truth is that there is NO job more rewarding than lovingly and actively participating in the growth of our children and although most of us wouldn’t change a thing, it’s a little lonely sometimes.

Photos from here and here and here