I’ve got some questions.

Moms and dads who are better at this parenting thing than me, I’ve got some questions for you.

One question really – HOW? How??

(This is less of a question and more of a ‘something I’d like to yell across the street at you’.) I have no idea how you pull it all off. Or pull any of it off. I can barely pull gum off the underside of our chairs.

I’m dying to know how y’all manage. How do you meet all the basic needs of your family without dying every single night? HOW?

Let me elaborate.

Moms who have a clean house

How? Yeah sure, you’re going to tell me how you taught your kid from an early age to put their toys away. Your kid probably even liked that “clean up, clean up” song. Your kid probably never screams that he is too tired to move a single hot wheel and dissolved into a puddle you then have to mop up.

But that still doesn’t explain how your house is spotless all the time.

I mean – have none of your children ever projectile vomited off the top of a bunk bed in the middle of the night? After eating chocolate birthday cake for dessert? Is that why you still have white curtains?

‘Cause I don’t. Anymore.

Moms who work out of the home

How? How do you do this? Or more accurately, when?

When do you find the time to work? I mean, I know you’re scheduled 9-5 Monday-Friday but when do you actually work?

Do you have one of those Harry Potter time turners? A doppelgänger? Do you have 48 hours in your day and you just haven’t told us?

Because I know between the dentist appointments, the school plays, random teacher work days, and the steady stream of snot filled sick days, you are constantly rearranging your schedule.

I’m starting to grow concerned I might actually have a 9-5 job I just haven’t had a chance to show up at in three years.

Moms who are always on time

You pack lunches ahead of time, I get it. You lay out clothes and you know where your sunglasses and wallet are all the time. Good for you. But I don’t care how much you plan ahead, I don’t care how early you try to leave. That’s not my question.

What I want to know is – how do you stop them from pooping right as you are walking out the door?

I mean, you can’t plan for that one. You can’t just leave ten minutes earlier because then you’re just driving back home because someone doesn’t want to poop in the public potty and/or you forgot the wipes (again). So what’s your secret? Dates? Prunes? Bananas? A schedule? Lock the bathroom door ten minutes before you have to leave? Double up on the diapers?

Tell me.

Moms whose kids don’t fight

So, what’s it like to have one kid?

Moms who sleep through the night

Fresh air? Exercise? Bananas? Chamomile tea? Lavender oil? Melatonin? Whiskey?

Tell me, what are you crushing up and putting in your kids’ applesauce to get them to sleep through the night?

You know what no one ever really tells you – kids never sleep through the night. Sure they stop waking up to nurse (allegedly). But there’s still growing pains and stomach bugs and nightmares and boredom and monsters under the bed. And when you have three kids with three different reasons to wake up, it’s just like playing whack-a-mole.

All. Night. Long.

Moms who workout

Why?

I mean sure, you can say you want to be healthy and look amazing in your “I actually do yoga” pants. But between the three hundred LEGO piece deadlifts and the separation-anxiety-won’t-go-to-anyone-else 20lb weight carry and the 40 laps of “you’re too little to go down the big slide let’s come back to this part of the playground,” aren’t you tired enough?

I’m pretty sure all moms are secretly in amazing shape and could run marathons.

If we just weren’t so tired.

Moms who look amazing at school drop off

What time did you wake up this morning? It must’ve been earlier than 5:30 because I’ve been up since then and have managed to look a little worse each hour. So when did you wake up, 3, 4am? If I woke up at 4am maybe then I’d have half a minute to brush my teeth before drop off but I’m not counting on it. You went to bed looking like that right? You did your hair, your makeup, got dressed, and fell asleep standing up so that nothing smudged. Right? That’s the only thing I can figure.

Moms whose kids eat healthy

So, they’ve never had chicken nuggets, right? Because it’s all over after chicken nuggets.

I don’t care that chicken nuggets aren’t even that unhealthy. It’s the fact that it unlocks something in their brains. The nuggets clue our kids into the fact we’ve just been lying to them this whole time. You don’t actually have to eat the vegetables. You can get by perfectly fine on a steady diet of supposedly white breast meat and whole grain bread coating.

Once they’ve seen behind the curtain, there’s no going back.

Moms with teenagers

It gets easier right? Please tell me it gets easier.

Wait, no. I don’t want to know.

Moms with work-life balance, perfectly behaved and well-nurtured children who eat their vegetables

So, when are you due?

5 thoughts on “I’ve got some questions.”

  1. I’m trying to figure that out too. Three kids and I finished my degree last year with a ton of help from my in laws. I’m about to start working as an on call substitute with the school district. When the kids are in school it’s my time to climb, to pay bills, shop for crap that we need, and make and attend appointments for them and for me. It’s an insane schedule without adding work.

    Counseling appointments for me and two of the kids, dentist appointments for everyone with cavity follow ups, orthodontist appointments, my appointments for my regular doctor, rheumatologist, pain doctor, dermatologist, probably a psychiatrist soon too.

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  2. I enjoyed reading this! And no, I don’t have the answers. But I feel ya on the questions. My 2.5 year old who was normally a great sleeper, suddenly started waking up every couple hours *for a month* and then if she does sleep through, chances are my 5 year old will be up at 2am to compensate. And he is much harder to get back to sleep. Bah. My husband and I are both working full time and juggling career challenges, daycare, all of the sudden misc. school requirements that nobody really told me about… (we recently found a school library book that we didn’t know we had and our son says ‘oh yeah… that’s why I couldn’t take books out for SO long’ (bad Mom moment). Anyway, I do take comfort in knowing we’re not alone in our struggles and that nobody has it perfect 🙂 Thanks for posting, and good luck with the rest of your week!

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  3. Dear Jackie,
    Thank you for reminding me, that these questions are not restricted to national boundaries. Hello from Germany. I´ve stumbled across your blog somehow and would like to drop a few lines. Let´s see how far my English is taking me…
    I am convinced that either you have household assistance or you simply don´t do anything else in your life than clean up. There is a line but a German comedian, Karl Valentin (*1882!) and he said very famously: If your house is cleaned up you are setting the wrong priorities in life.
    Applied to my life it looks like this: When I had my children at the end of my 30s after a busy life with numerous international endeavours within 15 months from one another and after we had reached small-toys-age, I cleaned up every evening. At first picking up all of the tiny pieces by hand, later using a broom and creating a big pile and then I thought of Valentin and decided: I don´t want to spend each evening like this. It simply isn´t worth it loosing my brain cells, nerves and last bits of free time over this mess. I simply don´t do it any more. Once a week when “cleaning day” arrives, a one night frenzy unfolds and everything has to land in the correct box. Life has gotten more relaxed since then – also more painful, of course, because you are bound to step onto little plastic pieces while trying to make your way through the living room.

    But I try to look at it this way: When the toys are gone and the kids have moved on and out, I can have the cleanest, nicest house around. It will be quiet then. I can paint in peace. I can read in peace. And would I then regret having primarily stressed over the little things? Yes. Hence: attitude change.

    The outcome: more relaxed evenings! But, you then have to deal with judgement and shrug it off. When a good friend of my came over (and we had cleaned up before that, there were just some toys scattered on the floor) she asked me, when leaving: Tell me, do you ever get used to this mess? Needless to say, she doesn´t have any children.

    It took a while until I could see it this way and own up to it. But I feel better. Would I wish to have a spotless house? Yes. Am I willing to bear the sacrifice that it takes to have one? No.

    🙂

    Cheers.

    Like

  4. Dear Jackie,

    This is not meant as a comment underneath your article. I was just browsing and realized I hadn´t made it past your internal checks and was wondering if my comment had violated a policy?

    Mika

    Like

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