Mundane things can be fun:
If I waited until the girls weren’t around to have fun, I would have a miserable existence. At a certain point, I embraced the daily life of being a mom knowing that our big adventure for the day might just be at the grocery store so why not make it fun? Our Whole Foods has a kid’s station by the service desk where you can pick out 1 free treat per kid (check it out, yours might too), which I was only told about 3 weeks ago after spending like a zillion dollars there with the girls in tow every time. A checker finally said ‘you know they get to pick a treat, right?’ Perfect, for every $200 I spend, I get a free banana. Anyway, we grab our treats, open some drinks (green juice in this case), and tailgate in the back of our car next to all of the groceries jammed to the side while probably sitting on a pile of dog hair. It’s fun for all of us and a good reminder to slow down a little during the daily grind of rushing from one place to another trying to accomplish tasks.
Go forth and multiply:
The best reason to have more than one kid is because they eventually hang out together while you do other stuff. Ours play, then fight, so I’ll put someone on time out and then miraculously the other will go over and sit there too keeping her sister company the whole time. They don’t even realize that it’s an option not to hang out together. With just 1 child, you do have a little more freedom as far as traveling and ease of schedules, but you’re forever entertaining them at home so they don’t just sit there stacking blocks by themselves. When you have more than one it’s more work short-term especially as you watch your friends with 1 child smugly travel the world on Facebook while you’re elbows deep in your daily grind. What I didn’t even think about it how kids eventually (around 17 months or so) play together independent of you which is a relief at home where you spend most of your time anyway. Although we probably won’t be seeing Rome any time soon, it’s so much easier now that they have their own relationship.
It’s not about you anymore, not even on your birthday:
My birthday was last week and I really didn’t feel like doing much. I’ve been trying to get the our bedroom finished, Harper’s big girl bed put together (damn you IKEA!), and my office cleared out to make way for the new nursery while trying to figure out exactly where a new office might go next. Anyway, it’s not like I was avoiding my birthday, I just wanted to hang out with Mike and the girls and have a great day which we did. It was a weekday so while the girls were down for naps I told Mike to catch up on some work (he works from home too) and I’d run to Whole Foods. While I was out I passed a cupcake store and grabbed a few to take home. After dinner I grabbed candles, stuck them in the cupcakes and myself started us singing Happy Birthday then let them each blow out a candle. If you know me, you know that I hate when people sing Happy Birthday to me, it makes me sweaty and nervous even as a kid so I just don’t allow it. This year however, the song, the cupcakes, candles, and even the day had little to do with me. Our girls loved all of the excitement and were so happy blowing out the candles that we re-lit them several times so they could do it again. I’m not saying this in a martyr sort of way, but I’m happy to create a peaceful, happy life for my kids and celebrate them. Even on my own birthday.
You can either embrace being a parent and the completely different life you now have, or fight it and be completely unhappy. I think the shock when you have your first baby is mostly about how different your life looks all of a sudden. You feel so trapped with the nursing and feedings every 3 hours coupled with the fear of just leaving the house or breaking routine that you sort of sink into a pit wondering if you’ll ever recognize your life again. With Harper my depression lifted after almost a year when I could start enjoy her instead of just wrangle her between places for feedings and naps. I went from dreading things like story times and music classes to loving seeing her have fun and play. When Everly came along it was so much easier to understand that one day this drooly little lump would soon become our buddy who could join in on the fun our family was having. Those inevitable feelings of jealousy toward friends on social media who were child-free and out every night faded giving way to appreciating every season in life knowing that they’re having as much fun at the club as I am with my husband sitting out on our deck when the kids are asleep catching up on our day. You’re a mom, this is what your life looks like for now, enjoy it.
When all else fails, scream:
I think my very best tip for parents is how to get your kids to engage in a photo when they’re each looking the other way, annoyed, and just not into it. It’s as simple as this; just ask them to scream. I swear it works every time and the pictures are adorable.