Don’t we all picture some fairytale, far-away mythical world where we imagine what our life will be like as parents? We’ll wake up with smiles on our faces, joyous to be able to make our kids pancakes; sitting around a large table for a big family meal to include fresh-squeezed orange juice. Then, after carting the little ones off to school, we do whatever it is as moms we are inclined to do. Clean, bake, sew…whatever. That evening we cook a large meal, once again sitting down as a big family and discussing our favorite part of the day. There’s never any fighting, turmoil, there’s no stress in these visions. Just your standard All-American dream.
Once you have kids; reality hits. You realize that if you actually have time to squeeze fresh orange juice, then you have time for something else that is far more important, especially when you can just run down to the supermarket and buy some Tropicana (no sugar added of course!). And if you sit down every night to a home-cooked meal, well, I’m sorry, but you must still be in that dream world.
I do work full time, which then makes me envy the stay-at-home moms. I wish I had all day to do laundry at my leisure. Okay, who really wants to do laundry but since it’s a necessity, I’ll take it. Or go to the grocery store when there isn’t five thousand people there waiting to trample you just to get their box of cheerios or can of green beans. Then, I remember. I remember those three months I stayed home on maternity leave with my son, when my daughter was three. There was nothing done at leisure. The dirty laundry sat because I had to chase my daughter around like a little mad woman, or I was breastfeeding my son, or I was cooking and doing dishes. And when I went to the grocery store? Oh right, I didn’t. Not after that time I took both screaming kids who threw tantrums the entire time. I’ll take the stampeding crowds thank you very much!
I’m still learning every day. If you plan each night’s meal, make your grocery list by aisle, and then go to the store once a week- you are less likely to get McDonalds and more likely to eat healthier. Also, I enlist my husband to help me clean, we share some chores and that takes a bit of the load off. I have given up trying to make sure the house is perfect, it never will be…but at least the toilets are decent and there is enough clean underwear to get you through today.
Life itself, not just parenting, is a whirlwind. If we focus too much on the things we have to do, and not the things we have- what are we actually gaining? We all create our own All-American dream…and that’s perfectly okay.