Once upon a time I tried to be an Alpha Mom but then realized that was never going to happen. Trying to fit someone else’s ideas of what a great mom is just leads to heartache. I took a few ideas from a lot of different people and created my own version of being the best mom. I work hard a being my best mom self while not sacrificing my identity as a wife, dog lover, career driven all around awesome human. I leave the tough stuff like gourmet meals, organized toy closets and sparkling stainless steel to people who have the spark to get it done and I just try to keep things simple and keep the living things alive (pets, plants and people!)
Ready? Here are seven ways to pee without an audience (and other advice your mom was too exhausted to give you).
1. Nap as needed. I love a good motion picture. They give me a solid 2 hours to nap that is completely uninterrupted. Theaters are dark and if you bring your ear plugs they are quiet. I recommend a matinee because they are cheaper and drama’s because they don’t attract a rowdy crowd. I thought about attaching a picture of myself at the AMC in Chula Vista (with the reclining seats) but the drool was too real.
2. You can’t beat them so let them join you. My toddler screams hysterically when I close her on the outside of the bathroom door. She has a ‘neighbor calling me to confirm they don’t need to call the police’ type of scream. So, we potty together. Tiny potty for her. Big potty for me. This sounds cramped but works beautifully. She is contained, busy and entertained while I don’t have to fight off her tiny hands scrambling to sit in my lap or pass me squares of toilet paper.
3. Eat simple. Repeat after me, “spaghetti sauce is a vegetable.” We eat pasta every couple of days at my house and the tiny tot is happy and healthy. When she is sad on a non-pasta day I remind her there will be penne tomorrow! She picks the sauce and we work together to create the simplest meals ever because time together is at a PREMIUM and the oven makes the kitchen hot. Busy mom tip: toss pureed veggies into the sauce when the kids aren’t looking. If boiling noodles and dumping sauce is not your idea of yummy – try a crock-pot. I have heard amazing things about Instant Pots too. If you have a fast recipe for when I forget to turn on the crock-pot - - PLEASE SHARE!
4. Meet another mom/make a mom friend. I am a Navy wife, so I got on a spouse page and sent an S.O.S for a co-conspirator. We swap napping hours and support each other in remembering to turn on the crock-pot. She also understands my somewhat absurd overreaction when an underway is extended and why I threatened the mailman’s windshield that one time he failed to pick up the package I left on the stoop. If you have a friend lean on them and if you don’t use the internet to find one. Don’t know how? Call me. Seriously….I can help. Support systems are important but creating them can be tough.
5. Celebrate the questions along with the answers. When it comes to getting through this journey I have a lot more questions than answers. Motherhood is strange. We are completely responsible for this tiny person and we have so many concerns about if we are doing the right thing. Only time will tell because there are no instant answers when it comes to parenting. Next time you wonder if you did the right thing applaud yourself for having the question because it really is a testament to the amazing mom you are.
6. Empathize with the drama. I was strolling the aisle of Target when I saw a tiny tyke screaming hysterically and flailing on the floor of the sippy cup aisle. My first thought was that the little guy must be incredibly thirsty. Now, I don’t know why that adorable little guy was melting down so passionately, but I do know that a little empathy can go a long way. In the tantrum, meltdown, sassy pants moments…pause, consider and show compassion. I know it’s easier said than done but a bit of practice makes all the difference. I usually count to 15. It gives the little one ten seconds to think about if she is committing to her outrageous behavior and me ten seconds to consider why she feels that this specific behavior fits her current circumstances. Then I act in a way that hopefully teaches her how to act next time we are in the same situation.
7. Fail up! Somedays your alarm rings late, the kids cry through breakfast, barf on your work shirt, pee in the car seat and you then show up to work 40 minutes late with gum in your hair. On those days when you scream at the toddler, banish the dog to the yard in the cold and feed the family a 20 pack of nuggets and fries remember YOU ARE ENOUGH. Remember the kids will be fine. Remember that good enough is GOOD ENOUGH. Remember, we are teaching our children to be good people and good people can have really bad days. Remember, good people make mistakes. What works for me is starting with an apology. I let the children, the dog, my husband know that I am sorry. I take a break if I need it. I ask for help when I need it.
I reaffirm for myself that there is no shame in failing. I reaffirm for myself that I am a good mom, a good wife, a good friend and an incredibly capable human being.
Bonus! 8. Just keep swimming. Every child is different and yours might be a wild and wonderful whirling dervish or a calm and cheerful cherub. Either way you are the most perfect mom for your child. Keep striving towards being your best and breathe through the pain and discomfort that growing and changing can create.
Parenting is the business of guiding novice human beings into being kind, compassionate and understanding people. You have to work at it, but you can definitely do it.
P.S. Eventually your tiny tyke will no longer want to watch you use the bathroom and wipe your bum. When that day happens, it will likely be amazing, awesome and a little sad. On that day they will find something else to do and you will have a new question, thought or concern to replace “when will I pee alone!” If you are feeling like the parenting journey is too hard, too long, or just too much – reach out and we can figure this out together.