Some days, I really rock this parenting thing. Other days, I’m just thankful parents don’t have to pass a test and get a license (because I’m probably not a shoo-in.) Overall, the gold star parenting days outweigh the “I have no flipping clue what I’m doing” days so I’ll share a few little hacks that save time and sanity. From my “mommy hood” to yours, here we go:
- Eat your cookies in the bathroom
Unless you want to share, that is. This applies to brownies, candy or anything you’re not willing to let your small humans nosh on. I’m a firm believer in the restorative properties of chocolate. When my kid has decided to “help wash the potty” with my boar bristle hairbrush or throws himself on the floor because of the injustice in the world (AKA, Daniel Tiger not being on), a sweet treat makes it all better. Shut up, it does! I can tell my little angels “mommy’s peeing” and munch my cookies in peace (or while my kids scream and bang on the door, let’s be real.)
- Keep your makeup in the kitchen
Becoming a parent has caused a huge shift in my priorities. It’s all about my kids so much more than it’s all about me, but I refuse to be one of those perpetual yoga pants-wearing moms who brag about how long it’s been since her last shower. No, I don’t look my best all the time, but I try. That might mean putting on mascara in between slurps of coffee while I keep an eye on my kidlets while they’re eating breakfast (AKA make sure nobody finger-paints the kitchen with oatmeal) but I try to take a few minutes to look presentable. I’m not saying I’ve never done a school drop-off wearing pajamas under my coat, but in general, looking good makes me feel more ready to attack the day. And yes, my makeup really is in the kitchen.
Wine and parenthood go together like peas and carrots and that’s pretty much all I have to say about that.
- Don’t be “that mom”
Look for ways to support and uplift your fellow sufferers…er, I mean other parents. Go easy on the Judgy McJudgerson “I’d never do that” attitude. You don’t know what you don’t know. Besides, when you say “never” in reference to parenting, you’re practically begging karma to crash your party. If you think someone’s child isn’t hitting their developmental milestones, mind your beez. Don’t say stuff like “wow, my little Horace was potty trained by his first birthday” when you notice a Pull Up peeking out of the waistband of a kindergartener’s jeans.
Be nice. And if you can’t be nice, be quiet.
- Will it matter in five years?
Parenting is messy. You’ll spend hours of your life cleaning up messes you didn’t make and cooking food no one eats (hint: don’t waste time on homemade mac n’ cheese. Your small humans only want the blue box stuff…learn to accept that.) You’ll face minor emergencies: car keys taking a trip in the trash can…your toddler decorating pristine cabinets with modern art in lipstick (and really, who has both a toddler and pristine anything, let’s be real.) Someone will give you stink eye because your child has a colossal meltdown in the frozen food section because you won’t buy popsicles.
But before you get overly twisted, ask yourself this: will it matter in five years? If your child had Diet Coke and scrambled eggs for supper because you forgot to go to the store, will that matter in five years? Doubtful. Will it matter in five years that your six-year-old didn’t take a bath the entire week of your family vacation? I don’t think so. In five years, your children will remember your laughter and your presence, or lack of it. They’ll remember harsh words, hurt feelings and stuff that we sometimes need to be reminded to make time for: sitting down and coloring a picture together or talking about why the clouds look like Patrick from Sponge Bob. Important stuff, ya know.
- Ditch the multitasking
Yes, you read that right. Modern parents sometimes wear the ability to multitask as a badge of honor…but is it? I can read email, search for dinner recipes and check tomorrow’s weather simultaneously…because apps. But, is that really a good thing? I can do a bunch of stuff all at once…that doesn’t mean I should. Sure, sometimes, multitasking is just the way it’s gotta be. How else can I cook dinner while making sure my kids don’t burn my house down and have a semi-adult conversation with my hubby? I find myself being a multitasking mommy more often than I like, but my interactions with my kids are so much more meaningful when I’m not trying to do 612 things at once.
I’m certainly not supermom and I try not to dispense unsolicited advice…okay, that’s a dirty lie because I always want you to know what I think. I’m not perfect but I can (usually) look at myself in the mirror and say: “Hey girl. You’re doin’ alright.”
And so can you.
Peeps, if you've liked reading this can I ask you to hop on over to Today Parents and click HERE to vote for me? This article is posted on their website as part of the April parenting challenge. If I get enough votes maybe they'll talk about me on the Today Show…or maybe invite me to come to NYC and hang with Kathie Lee and Hoda! Big dreams, people. Big dreams. And don't forget to check out my Facebook page!