The joys of the “mom effect”

When I’m alone with my 16 month old son, I can NEVER get anything done.  My husband comes home from work and the dishes are still in the sink, the laundry hasn’t been folded, and let’s not even mention my whole showering (or lack of) situation.  My son is always all over the place and it’s a full time job just making sure he doesn’t nose dive off the couch or keeping him overall injury-free.  Add on to that whenever I step out of the family room (even in an open concept house where he can see me at ALL times) he has a complete meltdown.  Not only do I need to be in the family room with him inside the confines of the safety-gate, but I also need to be on the floor.  All.  Day.  Long.  This, combined with carrying a squirmy toddler around, is why I have back problems.  Even when he’s quietly playing by himself, the second I stand up he drops everything and runs arms raised whining and crying for me to pick him up.  So again, I’m stuck in the family room until the golden nap time or bed time.  This is what I lovingly call, the “mom effect”.

Whenever I try to explain this to my husband, he never understands.  I always get the same response, “He never acts like this with me so I don’t know what you’re talking about.”  I never believe this because how can my son be so attached to me but so laid back with his dad?  I come home from work to find the kitchen cleaned, laundry folded and put away, and dinner is being prepped.  I walk in the door and question how he gets everything done.  His answer?  “We had such a good day today!  He sat in the family room and played while I got all my work done.”  To which I always say, “I don’t believe it.”  When I’m at work and our son is alone with his dad (we work alternative shifts so it’s always one or the other staying with him while the other is at work), he takes three hour naps, I get videos throughout the day of him being this cuddly adorable toddler.  When I’m with him?  I’m lucky to get an hour and a half, maybe two hour nap.  So by the time I’m done cleaning up and getting his lunch and dinner prepared I don’t have time for anything else.

My husband and I got into this standstill.  He never believed how our son was such a menace when he was at work, and I never believed how well behaved he was when I was at work.  Until one day I decided to shower while all the kids were still awake (as opposed to waiting until everyone was asleep so I could shower in peace).  That day I had a long day at work, then came home and made dinner and just needed a break to be able to finish out the evening.  So I told my husband, “I’m going to shower.  I’ll be down in an hour.”  To which he totally understood my code for “I need an hour alone or it’s not going to be pretty.”  Him being the trooper that he is replied (smartly) “Take your time.”  So as I was sitting on my bed unwinding (really, I was checking social media mindlessly), the same toddler who was just whining for my attention had gone silent.  I stood at the top of the stairs and I heard him laughing and playing.  So after I finished my shower I went downstairs hopeful that it would be a semi-quiet evening.  Only to have that hope quickly squashed.  The second my son saw me he dropped everything, ran up to the gate, and threw his arms up and stood on his tippy-toes for me to pick him up.  My husband stopped and looked at him, then looked at me and laughed and said it’s only me he acts like that around.  And sure enough, I had my proof.  To which I replied, “Why me?!”

At least now we have an understanding.  And if I’m being honest, it really makes it easier for me to go to work leaving my son at home.  I know what you’re thinking, and it’s not because I get away from his whining and crying for a little (although that definitely does help).  When I’m at work, the last thing I want to be worrying about is if my son and husband are having a rough day without me, and if my son is miserable and missing me.  So in a way, I’m glad they have the relationship they do.  I feel more at ease and relieved knowing that they’re at home playing and I don’t have to stress about what’s going on at home while I’m at work.  Now, if I could get some more quiet time and less whiny time I’d be even more relieved!

**Note:  my son is really not that whiny of a child.  I just compare the behavior between mommy-time and daddy-time and it makes me jealous.  But seriously, I can’t be the only one experiencing the “mom-effect”!  I would love to hear from you and your “mom effect” stories!

My smart phone is the only thing keeping me smart…

Well maybe not the only thing, but definitely top three things.  Without my smart phone, I don’t know how “smart” I would be.  There’s just too much to keep up with these days.  Between my busy work schedule (I work in the automotive industry as an engineer), picking up and dropping off the kids at school, being on the board of a non-profit geared towards empowering women, play dates, doctor appointments, birthday parties, and the million other social events I just can’t keep track of everything.  So basically if it doesn’t go in my calendar on my smart phone, it’s not happening.  I’ve even had to schedule movie night with my husband on my phone before.

At first, I felt so discouraged with needing to be constantly reminded of everything and always forgetting.  I was so hard on myself.  “Why can’t I remember that early morning meeting?”  “How hard can it be to coordinate pick up and drop off with my husband?”  “I can’t believe I completely forgot about that lunch date today!”  And that’s just the filtered version.   I would like to say that before I was married and had kids I was able to remember everything and schedule myself properly.  However, that’s not the case.  I was just a bit more delusional in my memory capabilities.  In other words, I thought I could remember everything only to have triple booked myself with dinner plans with my sisters and a coffee date with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while and a movie night at my best friend’s house.  All for the same day and same time.  Only to be reminded when they all started texting me to confirm, or worse ask where I was.

Finally, once I had kids I relented and started making notes and putting every appointment in my calendar with reminders.  The reminders were key, because as I found out the hard way if they weren’t turned on it was completely pointless for the event to be in my calendar.  Usually, even if I checked it something was bound to come up and distract me to the point that I forgot what I had coming up.  I had no choice once I had kids because as I said before, there was just too much going on and I didn’t want to risk disappointing the kids.  Nobody wants disappointed kids running around bored and unhappy.  That’s just disaster waiting to happen…

So it seems having more responsibilities and other people to rely on me made me more responsible in finding ways to keep me on task.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  Without all my notes and calendar reminders I’d be lost and over-booked and overwhelmed.  I’d much rather rely on my phone than forget everything.  Once I accepted that fact, that I needed help and it was alright to not have everything memorized I felt much less overwhelmed and somewhat relieved.  I was relieved because I was no longer putting so much pressure on myself.  So if we have the opportunities to make life easier wherever possible, why not take it and be thankful?

Weekends are for Yoga Pants

And leggings.  And no makeup and messy hair.  Working moms spend their week in professional attire and most likely heels and it’s an unwritten rule that their weekends are spent surrounded by the most comfortable things they can find.  I know I do.  And I’m all about efficiency so if I happen to fall asleep in my yoga pants, it’s one less thing for me to do in the morning.

Before I had kids, I spent my weekends dressing up and going out with friends and staying up late.  Now that I have kids, I’m still staying up late but for a whole different reason.  I need some “me” time.  So I struggle between the constant need to get rest and wanting to stay up to catch up on my T.V. shows.  I never used to watch TV before kids.  I was “too busy” before.  With what you ask?  I have no idea.  Dinner with friends?  Vacations?  I can’t really remember much pre-kids.  That’s thanks to the brain cells sucked out of me during pregnancy, and the overall general loss of focus on anything other than keeping the kids alive and getting my work done.  So now, unless I absolutely have to go somewhere, I not only choose to stay in and be comfy but I love it.

During the week it’s always go-go-go.  I am always rushing to get the girls ready for school while getting ready myself, dropping them off and getting to work late (still carrying my Starbucks because who functions well without their coffee?), then getting my work done and rushing to leave so I can pick the girls up and get them home only to work at a whole new job there.  Getting the toddler taken care of and making sure he doesn’t dive off the couch head first (this is a full time job in itself, he has so sense of self preservation and this shaves years off my life I’m sure), making dinner for all of us, getting homework done, then it’s time for showers and bedtime.  By the time 9pm rolls around I’m completely exhausted but refuse to go to sleep because I need at least an hour or two to myself.  And this is all with an extremely supportive and helpful husband who stays home with our toddler while I’m work (I work part-time during the week, and he works weekends) and we usually divide-and-conquer the rest.  I give major credit to all the parents who have to do all these things on their own.  They deserve an award.  Or unlimited free Starbucks for life.

By the end of the week I can barely remember what day it is let alone think about planning outfits for the weekend.  So yoga pants it is!  When I do have to go out, I have a whole selection of just-as-comfy leggings.  I bought a whole new wardrobe for post-pregnancy of comfy leggings and tunics/long sweaters.  Because regular pants post C-section is not fun.  And then you get so used to them it’s really hard to go back.  So even though my weekends are still pretty packed chasing after a 15-month old, I still like to get a small “break” from the chaos that is the week.  There’s no better way to “relax” when you know you really won’t be doing much relaxing other than putting on some super comfy yoga pants and be ready to tackle the weekend.

 

The Organized Chaos Mom

You know all the different mom-types out there.  The over-achiever that always has freshly baked muffins and always has everything under control and anticipates every event.  The Millennial mom who always the latest gadgets and researches everything and every method before trying it.  The hot-mess mom who is always late and always forgetting things.  Well, welcome to the organized chaos mom!  Typically a working mom who is busy balancing life between her career and her family, trying to be the best mom and perfect wife.  While still making sure her kids have all the extracurricular activities they can fit in their schedules.  There’s always seemingly stuff everywhere and has at least five different tasks/events going on at any given time yet she somehow knows where to be and where everything is.  There is so much pressure on the working mom these days.  So let’s join together and share our stories, give each other tips on how we cope and stay organized amidst all the chaos!  I’m definitely not perfect but I can share all my wisdom.  And by “wisdom” I mean all the things that have gone wrong and lessons I’ve learned throughout my career and starting a family.  Basically I’ve learned them the hard way so you don’t have to!  Join me on getting a handle on the identity-crisis we go through, with some motivation and empowerment sprinkled in like glitter.  Because I also have “something shiny syndrome”.  I can’t wait to begin this journey with all of you!