Editor's Note: This article first appeared on Babble and is reprinted here with permission. Disney is the parent company of both Babble and ABC News.
Once in a great while, someone will make that infamous comment to me — “I don’t know how you do it all!” and in response, I will break out into hysterical laughter.
Because come on — me?
I’m perhaps the least put together mother I know. And yet, from my motherhood resume, it might look like I have a lot going on: a full-time career, three little kids and a baby due any day now, the title of “author” under my belt, a sometimes speaking career, and, of course, my daily Instagrams that showcase how much exercise I get and how clean my house is in totally humorous ways.
As moms, let’s admit that we can all be guilty of the #humblebrag from time to time. It’s natural for us to want to do it all and have it all and even showcase it all in an effort to convince ourselves that we are doing a great job. But no mother can do it all without some sort of compromise. These days, my life is all about making choices on a day-to-day basis to fit in everything that is important to me as a mother, wife, and employee.
Even though I think most of us are doing a pretty darn good job of it at the end of the day, I’m throwing in the towel and admitting at long last:
Everything I don’t do as a mother. Be prepared.
1) Play with my kids
Are you horrified? Flabbergasted? Well, sorry, but it’s the truth. When I had but a mere one and even two children, I played with kids aplenty. All morning, I’d drop whatever chores I had to do and play with my daughters when they asked, I initiated rousing games of imaginative play, and when the youngest napped, I devoted hours to tea parties with the oldest. But now, with three (almost four) kids and more work responsibilities, I simply don’t play with my kids like I used to.
Sure, there’s a lot of days we play outside and I, of course, take them to a lot of fun activities, but on a day-to-day basis, I’m not spending a whole lot of time getting involved in their downtime playtime at home. They are more than happy to play independently together, which I believe is good for them. We get plenty of bonding time other ways, like reading together, playing board games, or when they come hang out with me in the office and “help” me on my articles. I have absolutely zero guilt on this front and honestly, in a lot of ways, we are all happier for my motherhood fail on this one.
2) Cook dinner every night
I plan the meals, shop for the meals, prep the meals, and clean up the meals, but almost every single night, my husband cooks the main course for dinner. He’s a way better cook than me, honestly, and for the main dishes, like chicken or anything grilled, I just stay out of the way. Unless it’s a one-pot meal, one of the few dishes I enjoy cooking (like homemade waffles) or crockpot magic, I bow down to the “Master Chef” in our house on this one. He likes cooking, I like eating, so it’s a match made in heaven, really.
3) Iron. Like, ever
I don’t know if this qualifies as a motherhood failure or just a general human being failure, but in thinking about how much time it would take me to iron on a regular basis, I’m just going to go ahead with classifying it under mothering responsibilities. That I don’t do. I rarely have the need to iron my clothes and I’m pretty vigilant about hanging any ironable wet clothes up right away to decrease wrinkles for my kids’ dress clothes. And my husband, who actually has a professional job outside of the home? He’s on his own in the mornings to iron his work uniform. Sorry, honey, but let’s be honest — I’d probably ruin them anyways.
4) Switch the laundry on time
I’ll never forget the day I learned you were supposed to take the clothes out of the dryer right when it buzzed, because shamefully, it was just last year. I just never even knew such a fact was true, as horrifying as that may be to admit. Without being in the habit of it, and with the fact that our washer and dryer are in the basement, where I can’t hear the buzzer anyways, I pretty much never take the clothes out on time. I do loads of laundry every day, but rarely do I have the pleasure of folding a warm, fresh-from-the-dryer load of clothes.
5) Take regular dates with my husband
The best thing you can do for your kids is love your husband, right? And while I do love mine, we do not have a long-standing “date night” tradition of any kind. In fact, it’s very rare for us to actually go out on a date night, as he works a lot of nights and we are pretty exhausted after the kids’ bedtime anyways. I’d say we average one date night every four months. Is that bad?
6) Volunteer at my kids’ school
While not exactly on purpose, I realized in a panic a week before my daughter’s school ended last year, that I had volunteered precisely zero times in her classroom. (To remedy this, I immediately signed up for the end-of-the-school year ice cream party, no hidden motive there, I assure you.) I was pretty horrified, considering that I had started the year with grand plans to be a super classroom mom. But the logistics of figuring out childcare for the younger two kids, shelling out cash to pay said babysitter, and then still getting my work in for the day proved to be a challenge I didn’t foresee. With a newborn due a week before school starts this year, I doubt I will be winning any “Volunteer Mom of The Year” awards anytime soon, but I keep telling myself it’s OK for now. Someday, all of these little people will be in school and I will have more time to change my slacker ways.
7) Do my hair or make-up
I wish this one wasn’t true, but it’s a rare day that I do my hair or put on a lot of make-up when I’m at home. Most days, the only out-of-the-house action I have going on is to pick up my oldest from school, so it feels pointless to put a lot of effort into my appearance.
8) Break up every fight
Nope, I just don’t do it. I’d spend every waking minute breaking up fights. Unless things are getting physical, I will from time to time tell my kids to work it out on their own. It’s a life skill in my book.
9) Drop everything for my kids
To make working at home work for our family, I’ve had to teach my kids a little more patience than I might have otherwise. If I’m in the middle of interviewing a doctor for an article, for example, my daughter may have to wait a few minutes for me to fix her a snack. It’s been a learning curve for all of us — for them to learn that sometimes, mama has to work — and for me, to not feel overwhelmingly guilty when I say, “can you hold on a minute, please?”
10) Always get up at night with the kids
This is perhaps my most shocking admission ever and I hesitated even putting it in here, but in the end, I decided it might help one other mother feel less guilty. Or maybe I really am a horrible mother. Either way, here it is: sometimes, if I hear the kids get up in the middle of the night, I don’t get up with them. I will wait a minute and listen if they are just using the restroom, or if they go to my husband’s side of the bed and ask specifically for Daddy (which they often do), I will stay warmly snuggled up. It’s horrible, I know, but I figure the scales have to balance out for almost four consecutive years of breastfeeding at night on my end, right?
11) Get out much
I try to plan at least one activity out of the house a week for all our sakes’, but in general, my kids and I don’t get out of the house much, especially when I’m breastfeeding a baby. It just feels like way too much work. Social time is usually time with family or play dates for the kids, and my biggest weekly excursion is generally my Sunday shop at the grocery store. Exciting stuff, I know.
So now you know the truth about how I “have it all.” Feel free to spill your own motherhood guts anytime and join me. Or I’ll just wait for the encouraging comments to pour in …
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