This morning, after I rushed to pack all the kids up for a school run, I pulled out of my driveway behind a school bus. As I sat waiting, I suddenly realized how insane it is that instead of just letting my kids ride the bus, I feel the need to make myself crazy every day dropping them off and picking them up.
The truth is, mom life is difficult.
But the even more painful truth is that sometimes I make my life even more difficult than it needs to be. Whether I’m worrying about birthday party decorations or cooking 400 different meals to please picky palates. And every now and then, a little lightbulb goes off and I think, why on earth am I making this so hard?
After four kids and eight years of parenting, I’m finally learning that I am susceptible to belief that motherhood = misery. That there are certain things I “have” to do to be a “good” mother based on the script we all hear. Namely, that I should always be running around frantically, that I should never, ever sleep, and that in general, it’s normal to be stressed out all of the time.
But honestly? I’m tired of the game, and I’m vowing to actually enjoy my life as a mother more — even if that means letting go of a few of the ways I actually make my life more difficult, whether or not I realize it.
1. Agonizing over the baby’s outfit.
She’s just going to poop through it anyways, let’s be honest. And don’t even get me started on trying to remember which outfit came from which grandma that I have to make sure to put on her at the right time so neither feels slighted and both feel appreciated. Nine times out of 10 I get it wrong anyways, so what’s the point?
2. Worrying if we’re playing “enough” with the kids.
Honestly, I would rather scrub toilets than play Barbies. I’m not sure what that says about my cold, dead soul, but it’s the truth. I do a lot for my kids and I love activities such as playing board games or reading to them. But every now and then, a little guilt creeps in and I force myself to play for hours with them — only to wind up cranky and feeling like the whole day was a loss.
Also, how many times can you remember your mom playing with you as a child? I thought so.
3. Obsessing over the kid’s social calendar.
No joke, this is a real, actual thing that I do. I once drove like two hours on a Saturday running kids to parties I had to stay at. Because of this, I missed out on actual money-making work for myself. At the end of the day, when everyone was stuffed to the gills with cake and cranky from too much sugar and excitement, I just thought, WTF am I doing??
So new rule of thumb for when I’m feeling overwhelmed when my 5-year-old gets more party invites in a month than I have in my entire life: Will my kid even freaking remember this in five years?