Krista is a (sort of) supportive wife to a high school football coach and an (always) frazzled momma to a wild child of a 17-month old toddler with another baby due any day. Currently, she is spending her evenings washing burp cloths, chasing her little girl, trying to see her toes and counting down the days to her delivery date of March 7th. As a working mom, Krista constantly tries to find the balance between a busy job and making sure dinner gets on the table and her daughter reaches her daily quota of kisses. To-do lists, chocolate and wine help to keep her sane. Somewhere along the way, she started sharing her stories and all the reasons she would never be “mommy of the year” with the internet at www.notmommyoftheyear.com.
Let’s get something straight. I’m not an expert. I’m not even entirely sure I’m good at this “mommy thing.” There is at least one day a week that I want to escape to my bathroom and soak in a hot bath until my skin wrinkles, shutting out the kid, the husband, the work, the laundry and the dishes. And, most days my husband is nice enough to tell me to go take that bath… and then 15 minutes later he brings the toddler in to “check on Mommy”. Sigh. Thanks honey.
Anyway, I digress. My point is, I’m not sure I’m good at this. But almost 17 months into the parenting thing with another due any day now, I have learned a thing or two. Some things people sort of alluded to when I was pregnant and would talk about what I thought parenting was like, others completely blindsided me. So, here’s my list of things I wish I had known before I brought my sweet girl home last September.
1. Some days you will feel like a super-hero.
There will be days that you keep your kid in one piece, you may even make her laugh a time or two, you read books, you are able to soothe her immediately and you have dinner ready on time. And it tastes good. You dance across your kitchen thinking that this, THIS right here, is what you were made to do. It feels right, it feels natural and it may not feel easy, but you did it. And you, my friend, are a rock star.
2. Other days you will feel like the world’s biggest screw up.
Then, there are days that nothing goes right. The baby cries all day and you can’t figure out why. You forget that three days ago you put a load of laundry in the washing machine and now it smells funny so you have to rewash it, but oh, hey, the shirt you needed for that important meeting – the only shirt you have that fits right, it’s in there and now you have to find something else to wear. You fight with your husband. You twist your ankle. And, dammit, who drank all the wine?
3. Taking a bath alone, or at least without a kid interrupting you, becomes a luxury.
Now that I’ve had a kid, I either get up really early to bath or shower before she wakes up or I save my “ahh.. peace” moments for well after she’s gone to bed. On the occasion that I do have to get ready while she’s up, I spend my bath time singing “Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes,” trying to talk her out of crawling into the bathtub with me or from dropping her stuffed animals in the water.
4. Date nights with the husband are not so easy to come by.
Before I had a kid, I thought date nights would come easy. I’d call up one of Craig’s high school students, pay them the going rate for a baby sitter and go eat steaks and drink beer with my husband. Turns out, I’m sort of picky about who I leave my child with. So, between finding someone I trust to stay with her, worrying about whether they’ll put her to bed the same way I do and coordinating schedules with my husband, date night takes the scheduling ability of a social director for the White House.
5. Newborns are easier than toddlers.
Even with their crying, their every-two-hour-feedings, their explosive poops and spitting up, newborns are easier than toddlers. And here’s why: When you put them in one place, they stay there. You don’t walk to the kitchen to start a grocery list and look up 17 seconds later to find your newborn at the top of your steps. You don’t negotiate over goldfish crackers versus ice cream or have meltdowns when you give your kid milk instead of apple juice, even though she asked for milk.
6. If your kid takes a pacifier, ALWAYS have a back up.
Don’t ever get in the car with only one pacifier. Don’t do it. You will need to stop 37 times between point A and point B to retrieve it after your child throws it across the car. Think you won’t? Think you’ll just let the baby learn NOT to throw her comfort items? Fat chance when your kid is screaming, your ears are bleeding and you’re driving at 60 MPH.
7. You will never pee alone when you’re at home with your kid.