Confessional — by Laura Houston
We enter into parenthood with a skewed presumption: we are going to be perfect parents. We read the books. We take the classes. We troll the Internet looking for information that guarantees the joy and success of parenthood will not be lost on us. The picture perfect is thus: we’ll be rolling on the clean floor laughing with our babbling, adorable, freshly powdered baby, and we won’t get Cheerios stuck in our hair or sour milk on our pants because by golly we have it together.
What were we thinking?
So here it has been one year, two months, one week and a couple of days, and I’ve learned a thing or two about parental reality. It’s time to do the motherhood confessional, but only on one condition: no judgment from you. Because chances are, you did some of these things, too. Or your mother did. Or the model-perfect mom you envy on the playground did, and she’s just too stuck-up to confess. And keep in mind we’re all still supermoms no matter our faults.
Here it goes — my failings as a parent over the last year:
- The ten-second rule is alive and well at my house during mealtime. In fact, if the floor is reasonably clean, I stretch it to the 120-second rule.
- I lie to other parents who are expecting twins. I tell them you just do everything at the same time. Knock it out all at once. And it’s fun. Oh yes – it’s fun. Why not let them be blissfully, ignorantly happy for a few more months?
- We waste a lot of food in this house. I calculate how full they are by how much is in the floor. A big pile means they’re done.
- I once went three days without brushing my teeth, so now I leave the tube of toothpaste on the counter to remind me to brush.
- I can wear my yoga pants way too many days in a row.
- If I don’t change my vocabulary, my boys’ first word is going to be the one that rhymes with fire truck. And they already know when I say, “God Damn it!” they need to stop whatever their doing and back away.
- I thought reading would be one of my greatest pleasures, but it bores me silly because we read the same books over and over again. Sometimes I make up different words for the books. Sometimes those barnyard animals are doing and saying some very naughty things. And then I laugh at my dark humor. And then the boys laugh with me. It’s as if they know. Then I feel guilty and story time is abruptly over.
- I vowed to keep sugar out of their diet, but now I will walk four blocks out of my way to get them the deep fried, doughy, sugary bombolinis they love in hopes they eat enough to sleep through the night.
- And, no, they still don’t sleep through the night. And, yes, I have read every fire-trucking sleep manual there is. Nothing works. Even the nannies gave up. So don’t email me any of your tips. We’ve tried them all, and we’re at peace with it. Almost.
- When weather is prohibitive for venturing out, I don’t hesitate to give them three baths a day so I can sit on the can and read a book while they play happily for 20 freakin’ minutes. It’s the only thing I can do to keep from going insane.
- When asked if they are twins, I have learned to say no, so I don’t have to have conversations with people I don’t know about their sister’s brother-in-law who had twins 22 years ago. People are fascinated by twins. Spend a day taking care of a pair, and you won’t be.
- When I have not had time to go grocery shopping, I will feed the boys the triple cream Brie cheese on vegetable flavored crackers and tell myself that the veggie flakes count as a salad and the Brie is just extending their palate even if it does give them horrible, room-clearing gas.
- Happy hour has a whole new meaning to me now.
- I don’t put clothes on them when it’s more than 75 degrees outside so I don’t have to do as much laundry.
- If I can’t sleep I pluck Wyatt from the comfy quiet of his crib and take him to bed with me because his short, soft breaths lull me back to sleep every time.
- For someone who is a big fan of schedules, I gave up trying to get the boys in bed by 7pm way too easily. Some nights, like when “Lost” is on, we let them crawl around in the blue light of the TV until we go to bed.
- I let them chew on Victoria’s Secret catalogs while I make dinner. It occupies them and gives me some sort of satisfaction to see them drooling on the models but not in the way it was intended. The mess is horrible. I find bras and panties all over the floor.
- I make up songs for everything we do around the house. There’s a “Who-Wants Their-Diaper-Changed?” song, a “Way-Too-Many-Babies” song, and a “Shake, Shake, Shake Your Martini” song. My personal favorite is the “Your Whining Makes Me Wine” song sung to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell.” I sing these songs absent-mindedly in public, and now my husband, friends and nanny do, too.
- Yes. I smear Nutella on broccoli, zucchini, green beans and anything else I deem their diet needs.
- Some days I put Ovaltine in my coffee because that’s all the breakfast I have time for. If I am not careful, I choke on the lumps.
So there you have it. That’s my purge. And I want to be clear on one thing: I would not trade a second of motherhood for anything. I love it. I do. I am crazy about my sons, and they are crazy about me. Even when I think I can’t change another diaper or chase another cheerio under the fridge, I sometimes stop and look at them and think, “Man, these guys are great.” Because they are. They rarely cry. They’re intelligent and curious. They laugh every day. They think I am hilarious, so they’re my best audience ever. Most of all, they trust me implicitly to help make things better. And I always do.