I have a fancy new white couch and a toddler.
WTF was I thinking???
I also chose white cabinets for our kitchen remodel. I’ve obviously lost my mind.
I spend wayyy too much time wiping hand, feet and God knows what else kind of prints off everything from the couch to the light blue colored walls. I feel like my time might be better spent doing other, more important things than erasing toddler grime, but I made my nice clean bed and now I must wipe it down before I lie in it.
The funny thing is, it doesn’t really bother me anymore. As my son entered his 3rd year with an impressive resume of destruction, I realized I’ve let go of some of my nitpicky tendencies and just accepted things get dirty, things break, and things stay in new condition around a toddler about 2.5 seconds.
Oh I see those sparkling clean white/grey/beige Instagram feeds from popular mommy bloggers, looking all fresh and put together. I understand it is possible. And while I admire their aesthetic, that’s just not me. My life is messy, colorful and often smeared with mud and/or chocolate. I learned to relax and not stress over the mess.
I mean, I wouldn’t turn down a regular maid service so I could spend more time putting together fresh pastel ensembles in a spotless house, but unless this blog thing really blows up, I am the maid service around here.
My days used to be spent lacing people up in corsets and helping them pick out fancy costumes. Now I feel like 95% of my day is spent trying to find something my toddler will agree to eat. It’s quite a lifestyle change and takes some adjusting.
Why do toddlers hate food? Or love something one day, or at someone else’s house, so you stock up on it and then they refuse to even touch it? This is how I ended up with a freezer full of chicken nuggets and several boxes of crackers with one cracker eaten.
I clearly remember my great-grandmother feeding me steak piece-by-piece, while I ran by pretending to be a little bird stealing it from her fork. It probably took 45 minutes for me to finish the entire thing but she kept up with it. I now totally understand why. Being a parent has given me insight into certain things from my childhood that I never really would’ve understood otherwise. I also remember her making me a pizza at 10 PM at night just because I said I was hungry. Parents (and grandparents) will do anything to get a kid to eat.
I can tell Keelan is going to be a skinny kid, just like me when I was little. His dad too! But he’s also growing just fine and he does let me know if he is hungry. Sometimes he eats a lot, and some days it’s like he exists on air and a few strawberries.
I hope he eventually embraces our love of good food and cooking. Right now I might as well make him a nice dinner and then dump it on the floor because that’s where it ends up. But I will keep trying! I really look forward to the day he is helping me make gourmet dinners the kitchen and picking out his own sushi at dinner. (Early 20s maybe? Lol)
Until then, I’ll just keep slicing up those hot dogs. Unless he hates them this week of course.
So, what food rejects do you have lingering in the pantry?
My husband and I used to go out to dinner a lot. We would usually sit at the bar and spend several hours drinking wine and eating appetizers for meals. We rarely sat at a table and would just enjoy the experience of sampling food and drinks.
Now no more bar for us- we need a table that can fit a highchair, or preferably a booth where we can pen the kid in at one end. Also, you probably want to stick us somewhere in the back where we won’t be a nuisance. But not too far back because one of the kids may open the emergency door and set off the very loud alarm.
So the other night, as I sat on the toilet at the restaurant, listening to the screeching alarm going off, I totally knew that was our table causing the commotion. We were out to dinner with friends that had two boys, 4 and 6. So I did not burst out of the bathroom worried there was some sort of actual emergency. I may have actually lingered a moment or two longer than usual, hoping the alarm would be off by the time I stepped out.
Back in before baby days, we would be at the bar, rolling eyes and laughing at the hapless parents trying to enjoy a meal and wrangle their children. Most likely thinking what a bunch of brats they were and how if we had kids they would be sitting quietly like little angels.
Oh how the mightly have fallen…right off their barstools.
I had zero child rearing experience before I had one of my own. Children were sticky little loud things I tried to avoid. I don’t know where I got my lofty ideas of how children should act, but I now understand that I was wrong about everything. I feel like I owe so many women an apology. After having a child of my own, I feel like I’ve walked a mile in another woman’s nursing bra. I get it now. I was such a judgey a-hole.
1. To the one who quit her successful career to be a stay-at-home mom. I’m sorry I rolled my eyes. Said it was sad to see you throw it all away after working so hard. Said I’d never do something like that. And now that’s me. I finally understand you weren’t actually throwing anything away, and gaining so much more.
2. To the woman who’s baby wouldn’t stop crying and she had to leave the restaurant. The one I gave the stink-eye to, like how dare she pollute my environment with her noisy child. And then it was me, feeling embarrassed and rushing out before even getting a sip of water. It’s happened more than once, and every time I remember being the one who was giving the dirty looks and what a total judgmental jerk I was being.
3. To the woman who’s kid had messy hair, a snotty nose and dirty hands and I wondered why she couldn’t take care of her kid properly. I’m sorry I ever questioned your mothering skills. My kid is usually barefoot, with shaggy hair and sticky hands. He’s happy and healthy and I just had no idea how messy, snotty and dirty kids can get in ten seconds, no matter how hard you try to keep them clean.
4. To the woman who’s kid isn’t talking/walking/potty trained by some magic age. There is no magic age. They’ll do it when they are ready and not a moment before that. I’m sorry I ever questioned any child’s progress. I’m now cursed to spend my days repeating “pee and poo go in the potty” because my 3-year-old son just doesn’t want to give up his diapers, while my mom likes to remind me I was potty trained at two.
5. To the woman who asked her kid to do something five times before they did it and I wondered why the hell her kids don’t listen. Now I have to ask my kid ten times and he may or may not do what I ask. Sometimes he goes out of his way to do the complete opposite. Guess that’s just a little payback for all those times I questioned someone’s disciplinary skills.
To all these women and many more, I’m sorry for judging things I knew nothing about. Nothing has changed me more and opened my eyes like the experience of raising a child. Now when I see a screaming tantrum, I smile and nod, while inwardly thanking God it isn’t me this time. The only thing I know for certain about kids is that they are unpredictable and they are all different. And what I know for certain about moms is we are all just trying our best to keep them safe, happy and healthy and the last thing we need is judgement from friends, family or strangers. We are all just making it work, in our own way, and that happens to be the best way possible. And they are worth every bit!
So, anyone you guys feel the need to apologize to?
I was reading this article about Estee Lauder being sued for discriminating against new fathers because dads get two weeks paid vacation and moms get six weeks, and it got me thinking. My husband got ten days of “paternity leave” from the Army when I gave birth. It would have been amazing to have him there for six weeks! I can be honest and admit I spent the first week of him back at work crying every day under the stress of trying to figure out this mom stuff on my own. I didn’t have family around to help so I spent all day Googling everything for guidance. I would have loved to have my husband home until we were both more settled in new life as parents.
Parental leave isn’t the only thing dads get the short stick on. I can’t count the number of times we have been out somewhere and my husband has brought our son into the restroom to change him, only to find there’s no changing table in the men’s room. As if men never change babies!
Times have changed (thankfully) and dads are much more active in their parental roles. Anything we can do to encourage this, I support! Having a hands-on dad is awesome, and my husband makes a big effort to be part of things. I want my son to grow up with a great father role-model, which is something I missed out on. I only reconnected with my estranged father in my mid 20s, so I don’t even know what dads are supposed to do. I only recently started celebrating Father’s Day and learning about “dad stuff,” but it will always be a bit of a mystery to me.
We always want more for our children than we had, so I’m grateful my son gets to experience having a father, and this is what I celebrate now on Father’s Day. Which reminds me, I need to check the calendar and find out when that is again. I still have trouble remembering!