Five years ago I was a new mom fresh off a year of maternity leave. I was ready to go back to work and conquer the world. It was a bumpy start, trying to balance a 1-year-old, a home and a marriage while excelling in my chosen career; fast forward to present day and it’s still a bumpy road.
I thought I would have everything organized and smoothed out in less than a month and we would be able to successfully have it all. I can say with all honesty, that thought was very optimistic and very naive.
It is a lot harder than I thought to ‘do it all’. Our household functions in a fairly constant state of chaos and panic.
There have been some mishaps along the way, like the time I forgot it was picture day and my son was going through a growth spurt. I remembered picture day at 11:00 pm the night before and of course none of his good clothes fit anymore.
So, I sat on his bedroom floor at 11:30 at night, in the dark, crying as I dug through his t-shirts finding the ‘nicest’ one out of the lot that would fit. Then I spent the next few weeks feeling bad about it and wondering if everyone around me would know that I didn’t have it all figured out and put together.
When his pictures did arrive, they were adorable and I promised myself I would let it go the next time. (Fun fact; I did not let it go the next time).
My son is in grade one and I try to keep up with everything he has going on at school and day-home and I don’t know if it’s just me but it feels like a lot.
There is always some sort of special day, pajama day, backwards day, cowboy day, stuffed animal day, dress up as what you want to be when you grow up day, wacky hair day and then all the holidays; the list just goes on.
My son loves the theme days and I’m happy he enjoys them so much, but I don’t have Mr. Dressup’s Tickle Trunk or Mary Poppins bag in my house. If it hasn’t been a Halloween costume, I probably won’t have it my house.
My son was a wolf two years in a row and I don’t think the school would believe he wants to be a wolf when he grows up or that Dracula was really a cowboy.
One morning earlier this winter, we were rushing to leave the house and be at school on time.
I was hurrying, and when my son sees me rushing he has to offset my energy and becomes slower than molasses in January. Of course, it’s winter and cold out and dressing my son in winter clothes is like trying to wrangle a crocodile.
Just as I finished zipping up his coat and get him to the door, he informs me he has to go to the bathroom. I internally scream and curse because I was still sweating from wrestling the snow pants on him and now I have to take them off.
I waited very impatiently while he was in the bathroom and I stuffed the dreaded snow pants in his backpack.
When he finally finished we raced to school, but when I pulled into the parking lot I knew something wasn’t right.
We were the only car in the parking lot.
I looked up the school calendar to discover there was no school that day. I put my son back in the car and proceeded to have a mini meltdown behind my car. As soon as we got home my son took off all his winter clothes, that I worked so hard to get on, put his pajamas back on and started watching cartoons, happy as a clam.
I sat in the corner coming off an adrenaline high, overthinking the scene the school cameras just witnessed.
Before I had my son, I would see other moms and think they had it all together. I’d never heard a mom talk about how hard it truly is to be a mom and balance all the responsibilities placed on them. I am no longer hiding the fact I don’t have it all together and while talking with other moms I know it’s refreshing to know they don’t have it all together either.
One day last week my son ate cold pizza in the car on the way to school for breakfast, I buy cookies for the school bake sale instead of making my own, by Friday night my house looks like a tornado went through, sometimes a load of laundry has to be washed twice because I forgot about it, some nights for dinner we have smoothies and popcorn and I’m learning that all of that is totally fine. I love my family, I try, and that has to count for something.
It was Tina Fey that said, “I think every working mom probably feels the same thing; you go through big chunks of time where you’re just thinking, ‘this is impossible – oh, this is impossible.’ And then you just keep going and keep going, and you sort of do the impossible.”