Monday, January 31, 2011

Before the Sun Says Hello.

Tonight was one of those nights where the mom of the house attempts to sneak 10 minutes of solitude, only to be found hiding fully clothed atop the toilet lid, reading US Weekly. Naturally, it was about 15 seconds before the bathroom door handle was turned by little hands, and in padded two barefoot children ready to lean over the tub and turn on the water, and asking 56 questions a minute.

Sighing, I attempted first to tune them out. Of course I lost that game, and 3 minutes after trying for my escape I sheepishly held two little hands as we descended the stairs together. When my husband asked where I'd been, I considered lying, but I came clean. He laughed at me. I pouted. And then I laughed too because what the hell else could I do?


I have a constant internal struggle going on. On one side is Super Mom, who never loses her cool and always has a fun new activity to do with the kids and doesn't need time alone. Real Mom sometimes takes her daughter outside during dinner when said daughter decides it's funny to spit water on the table because Real Mom is at a loss for what the hell else to do. Super mom doesn't let dishes pile in the sink, bakes with her kids for fun, and always has a freshly mopped floor. Real Mom does dishes when there are more bowls in the sink than in the cupboards, bakes after bedtime to avoid the inevitable messes made by toddlers, and isn't even sure where her mop is living right now. Super Mom has the kids bathed, jammied, brushed, lotioned, and in bed reading 3 bedtime books each by 8 p.m., sharp. Real Mom had a late meeting at work and has limited time with the kids, so when she looks up from coloring on the floor and realizes it's 8:35 she skips the bath and lotion, lets the toddler boy sleep in the cozy pants he wore to daycare that day, and is lucky if she remembers to brush her own teeth before falling asleep on the couch. Super Mom has a mom's group, a book club, and the HOA she is active in, and people call her for mommy advice. Real Mom talks to her mom friends online and via text because who has time these days for long phone calls, has been reading the same 3 books for 6 weeks now and can't seem to finish even one (see: falling asleep on couch), is pretty sure she's violating at least 5 of the HOA CC&Rs at this very moment, and answers the phone when a Mommy friend calls for advice and wonders to herself why anyone would call her when she so clearly does not have her own shit together.


When they finally were in bed, he 45 minutes past bedtime (after 3 escape attempts on his part, 2 songs from mama, and a bottom bunk carefully stacked with Puppy, Blankie, Bunny, and Car) and she an hour late (Baby Rainbow Love her only request) I snuck back into the bathroom and took a long bath. At one point I realized I'd been in My Place, sitting up and staring absently into the reflections on the water's surface, for long enough that my toes had pruned. After 1 day of a violent stomach bug and 2 more days of recovery wherein my appetite was non-existent and the smell of pretty much everything made my belly do flips, I was just relieved to have been able to stomach dinner and make it through the day without feeling like death warmed over. I was happy to have 15 minutes of solitude with no one to answer to and no one's needs to attend to and no noise.


Super Mom never needs time alone. And if she does get time without the kids, it's to slip away for a romantic dinner with her handsome husband before returning home to kiss her darling childrens' foreheads and retire to her chambers.

Real Mom craves alone time each and every day, and then feels fierce guilt over eagerly awaiting bedtime because it means time for a bath alone (since every other bath is shared with two little cherubs) and time to read a book (see: falling asleep on the couch). Real Mom both feels she does not demand as much alone time as she 'deserves' and that she is selfish for demanding any.


The morning had started early with Rohan (carrying his big blankie and Puppy) crept into our dark room moaning, "I want Mommmmmmmmy." Ten minutes later, Luca was there too, and at first it was peaceful warm-baby bliss, with their sweet faces cuddled side by side. Within minutes, he was rolling all over the place, laying half on me and half on his sister, her telling him to go away and him sleepily crying and saying, "Noooooo" over and over. I got them resituated and quiet. Only a few minutes later, she sighs heavily and and says loudly, "Rohan why are you all in my business?" and I can't help but laugh out loud. Next thing I know they are giggling like co-conspirators, her tickling his tummy and him laughing his big broad laugh. It is equal parts adorable and frustrating as my alarm clock isn't set to go off for at least 6 more minutes. And before the sun rises, those 6 minutes are a precious lifetime of heavy-lidded sleep.

I try to pawn them off on their dad, who's getting into the shower, by asking if they want to take a bath. They don't bite, opting instead to cling to me and demand things of me ("UP!" "MILK!" "NANA!" "MOMMY!") and I take a deep breath and face the day before the day has even woken up enough to face itself.


"Tomorrow morning," I say, grinning an Evil Mom grin (Evil Mom being closer on the genetic tree to Real Mom than to Super Mom), "I'm going to go into Rohan's room 30 minutes before he's ready to wake. I am going to open his door, stand next to his bed with my huge blanket and 3 pillows and a sippy cup and  a Matchbox car, and beg for him to get me. And when he does I'll pretend to sleep for 2 minutes before flipping and flopping around, crawling onto his head, accidently pulling his hair and sticking a toe in his ear. When he is annoyed by that, I'll cry. And then when he tries to calm me down, I will drape myself over one of his legs and babble endlessly."

We both laugh. Because, really? There is nothing else you can do.


The bright moments:

- When I picked him up at daycare, and he ran to hug my legs, and gave me that signature smile.
- When she told us stories about preschool over dinner, explaining how a touch on the shoulder means you are excused from the line.
- Them, together, coloring with markers and sharing and co-creating a masterpiece.
- The way his hand reached out from under his blanket and he absent-mindedly rubbed my hand and arm as I sang him songs at bedtime.
- How she refers to all her preschool friends as 'My Kids' as though she is one of the teachers and not one of the preschoolers herself.


Anonymous said...

Sometimes I think you are a fly on the wall in my house and somehow can read my mind when you write these posts. I can relate to nearly everything you write - this post especially! - Tiffany

Brandi said...

::sigh:: Yep, this is my life. I'm a SAHM and I STILL do it like a Real Mom. No Super Mom here! Although I still can't say I've ever met a true Super Mom. We all need more uninterrupted sleep, some time to ourselves and a housekeeper. :D

Muffin Cake said...

It's oddly comforting to know other moms experience this as well. Brandi, I don't think SAH vs working matters so much in this sense because if I was a SAH mom I'd have guilt that I couldn't afford X for my kids or that my house STILL wasn't clean enough or whatever. Real Moms are more fun anyhow, right?!?!


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