Last week we went to dinner with friends and between our families we have 5 children; three babies and two toddlers. That’s a lot of kids, y’all! But we have the opinion that we shouldn’t stop living our lives once we have little ones, right? We went to Chipotle too so it’s not like we were going to a Michelin Star restaurant with screaming babies and tantrum-y tots. But there was a moment while we were all eating that I felt myself rushing. I was basically scarfing my food all while simultaneously:
- trying to catch up with our friends;
- describing a pretty hellish morning complete with a blowout and a trip to discount tire with two kids;
- keeping at least one eye, at all times, on my toddler who almost climbed over the bench onto the cement floor;
- cooing and cuddling with my baby;
- cooing and cuddling with our friends babies;
- making sure my toddler isn’t throwing food or making TOO big of a mess;
- side-eyeing other customers to make sure we’re not being TOO annoying;
- trying to avoid meltdowns and screaming;
- discussing our dessert options (because going out for dinner with 5 kids just isn’t crazy enough for us, you guys);
But it’s not just when we are out to eat or out with friends when this feeling of being “rushed” creeps in. It’s even eating dinner at home, rushing to eat so we can rush to play before we rush to bed. Even mornings when we don’t have to go anywhere, sometimes I have to stop and say, “Okay, slow down mama”. I think this is the result of a couple of things:
- Transitioning from being a working mom to a stay-at-home-mom. My normal, just a few months ago, was us waking up, getting dressed, eating breakfast, straightening up, etc., all before 8:00am when my phone started ringing and my busy day started. Of course I’m still busy now-just a different kind of busy. I was always saying things like: “Okay babe, let’s go we have to get dressed!; “M-bud we have to hurry, please eat your breakfast!; “Mommy has to get working babe, we’ve got to get going!”. I am so grateful for our new normal but I’m struggling to ‘let my hair down’, as they say, in this new, less rushed, role.
- There always seems to be the next thing. After breakfast we are going to story-time, or going on a walk with a neighbor, or doing an activity, or even just playing outside. We don’t HAVE to rush to any of these things but I feel like I do for some reason (see number 1, above).
And then, any mom can relate to this, when we are leaving the house we’re not just picking up and leaving. Leaving the house takes 2.5 hours and entails the following:
- Toddler needs to go potty;
- Baby needs a diaper change;
- Diaper bag needs to be packed;
- Crap…diaper bag needs to be cleaned out from previous outing;
- Goldfish go in a baggy, then in the diaper bag;
- Toddler has a meltdown because he also wants Cheerios with his Goldfish;
- Take out snack baggy, add in cheerios;
- Pack extra clothes for toddler and baby;
- Baby has a blowout, change baby’s diaper;
- Put the dogs out;
- Pack a lunch, just in case we’re out longer then expected;
- Get water bottles for toddler and mom;
- Let the dogs in;
- Toddler needs to go potty again;
- Clean up toys on the ground so the dogs don’t have a feast;
- Put baby in the carseat;
- Grab extra pacifier and gas drops and stuffed giraffe;
- Grab nursing cover; Stop and ask yourself if you should just bring a bottle? No because #FREETHENIPPLE; #NORMALIZEBREASTFEEDING, #ETC. Also I really don’t want to have to pump when I get home and then clean pump parts;
- Put toddler’s shoes on;
- Have toddler go potty one more time.
That is not an inclusive list. In fact, tomorrow when I’m getting ready to leave the house I’ll probably say to myself: “You idiot…you forgot like 7 things that have to happen before you can ever walk out the door!”. And chances are, I’m going to leave without an essential item. We joke with our friends about that because it seems like we are perpetually unprepared. One time when our oldest was only 2 months old we left WITHOUT THE DIAPER BAG. We went out to eat with my parents and left the diaper bag at home. I know, I know you’re thinking: WHAT THE HELL.
Let me just explain this real quick…
You see, this isn’t just a “rookie mistake” because new mom’s are crazy about their diaper bags. First of all we spend FOREVER picking out the cutest one we can find so you know we’re trying to show it off every chance we get. Second of all your diaper bag is like another baby. There are 17 pockets and each of them have a very specific purpose. One whole pocket is for gas drops, and then another is for pacifiers, another is for teething tablets because you read an article about a 3 week old who started teething so JUST IN CASE, 5 pockets are being used for 5 different outfits, you have two packs of wipes (each containing 120 wipes) because blowouts, you bring ALL the burp-cloths, it’s 90 degrees outside but you include a body suit just in case it gets windy, etc. So if you’re a new mom you DON’T just go forgetting this treasure chest that is your diaper bag.
Thank the good Lord above that our child slept through dinner and even slept through grandparent snuggles. But when we got home and I saw my diaper bag by the door I hugged it like it was my child that I had forgotten…I kid you not.
So my point is that we are ALWAYS RUSHING. Even when we don’t have to be. A few weeks ago my oldest woke up from his nap and wanted to go outside and play. I needed to nurse my littlest and he just wasn’t having it. I knew he was hungry and needed to eat but he wouldn’t latch. I was so frustrated and said out loud, “Come on buddy we need to go outside…”. I almost instantly heard myself and thought, how silly? We have all afternoon to play outside why the heck am I rushing right now? It’d be one thing if my toddler was pulling on my arm or adding to my frustration but he wasn’t. I took a deep breath and was just still with my baby. He instantly latched and we were good to go in about 20 minutes. Would we have gotten that much more playtime in-in the 2 or 3 minutes it took to settle us down in that moment? Of course not.
I’m trying to be much more still in our mornings and I’m trying to be much more fluid and flexible throughout our days. I sometimes check-in with myself and notice that my shoulders are up to my ears and my tone of voice is much to serious. It’s during these moments that I try my darndest to bring myself back to MY reality. I take in the luxury that is being home with my littles, give some hugs and kisses just because, and move on. More importantly though, like us parents know all to well, these moments go by much too quickly and years from now we will all be wishing we didn’t rush through these seasons of life.