Sunday mornings. I mean every single Sunday morning. It doesn’t matter if we have 3 hours to get ready or 30 minutes. My son and I are still late for church.
He wants something else to eat. His underwear doesn’t match his socks. We can’t find the other shoe. The tag on his shirt is itchy. He wants to wear his pajamas to church today because “Jesus loves me the way I am.” It’s a little hard to argue with that one.
The more time we have, the slower my 3-year-old moves.
If I need to wash my hair that morning, forget it. The day is ruined. We might as well stay home. By the time I get out of the shower, the thought of standing in front of a foggy mirror holding what feels to be a 20-pound blow dryer in one hand and a paddle brush in the other is OUT OF THE QUESTION. Blowing hot air towards my head for 10 minutes in my 80 degree bathroom is a sure-fire way to test my patience.
Not to mention the fact that it will actually take more like 30 minutes to dry my hair because really, does a mom ever get 10 uninterrupted minutes to herself in the bathroom while her child is awake? Nope.
I have two options. Go to church with wet hair or use the holy grail of all beauty products, a.k.a dry shampoo.
I’m no stranger to dry shampoo. It’s been a staple item in my toiletry bag for many years. I started buying it in bulk, however, after my son was born.
You know that bag you pack for the hospital that has everything you will need for when you go into labor? Mine had all the essentials. Cute baby outfits, slippers, chapstick, my birth plan (why?!), glasses, and my Kindle. The hospital seemed like a good place to catch on up my reading.
I even packed waterproof mascara and painted my toenails so they would look nice for the delivery doctor.
Holy cow was I naive.
Guess what I did not pack? Dry shampoo. This was my first mistake as a new mom.
I entered the hospital full of excitement and confidence and left with a bundle of joy and a little less dignity. I’m not sure if it was the fact that my delivery doctor invited 5 residents into the room to watch me give birth (good thing I got that pedicure!), or that I was placed in a recovery room with a bathroom door that would not close, after being given the mandatory postpartum laxative.
I may have been able to stay a little more poised if I’d used my dry shampoo just before my mother-in-law, much to my dismay, massaged me in a way that put La Leche League volunteers to shame. While she was getting fresh with me, my hair was losing its freshness.
As I looked down at my little one, trying his best to latch on, I realized that my desire to have clean hair and manicured nails would need to be put on hold for a while. Perhaps indefinitely. My new purpose as a mom prevailed. It was no longer about me.
It was difficult adjusting to having a new baby. My relationship changed and it added to the strain of my marriage. My needs were secondary. I wasn’t getting enough sleep and I developed a terrible case of bronchitis that lasted for nearly 7 weeks. I wasn’t being paid on maternity leave and the bills were piling up. I couldn’t keep my house (or myself) as clean and I wanted.
Leaving my home seemed an insurmountable task now that I had a baby in tow. Someone might sneeze on him! How will I breastfeed in public? What if he starts crying and I can’t get him to stop? What if I mess up naptime because he falls asleep in the car? There is no way I am taking him to a restaurant. And I can’t manage him and the grocery cart at the same time.
Think of that can of tuna that’s buried in the back of your pantry – the one that you used to help evenly distribute the weight in a box labeled kitchen items the last time you moved apartments. Pair that with the organic peanut butter you purchased but you don’t eat because it separates into a weird oily paste and tastes icky, but you won’t throw it out because you paid $11 for 16oz. Add in some of those shredded coconut flakes left over from the one and only time you attempted to bake macaroons…Imagine eating that for dinner. Because I have.
Leaving the house with a baby is hard. Being a parent is hard too. As you try and fail, and try and fail, you realize just how resilient you and your child can be. The challenges are many, but the rewards are infinite.
I know my son is growing. He is learning to exert himself. His vocabulary is expanding, his clothes are getting too small, and his dexterity is improving. This is evident. But what isn’t always evident is that I’m growing too.
Sometimes I forget that being a mom is still a new experience for me. Each and every stage is uncharted territory. I’m not perfect and I can learn from my mistakes, just like he can.
There will always be teachable moments. For instance, he’s doing well with potty training. I feel like that’s a victory for us both. But just yesterday he peed in the church parking lot – which thankfully, no one saw… because we were 10 minutes late.
Each of us experiences motherhood in different ways. Some of us may take it in stride. Others may be sitting at home eating expired foods because we don’t want to leave the house.
There is an inevitable stress that comes with parenting. All of us feel overwhelmed at times.
The important thing is having someone to talk to. Maybe it’s your spouse or a close friend. Maybe it’s your own mom who gives support and advice when you need it.
There is also another option. KPCC offers distance counseling. It can be done via computer or tablet in the privacy of your own home. You don’t have get a sitter or pack a diaper bag. There is no need to worry about feeding schedules or naptime routines. You don’t even have to shower to get the counseling you may need.
We’ll meet you right where you are. In the trenches of mommyhood. At your house.
We realize that being a mother isn’t easy. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the pressures of parenting, maybe it’s time “treat yo self” to some distance counseling or some dry shampoo. (Both of which can be life changing!)
With Mother’s Day coming up, I’d like to dedicate this post to moms. Whether your children are newborns, toddlers, teenagers or adults, your job as a mother is a difficult one. You should know that you are loved, cherished and appreciated.