how does one measure motherhood?

7:45 AM

A few weekends ago we had our good friends over. The day before they arrived I hung clean towels in the guest bathroom and wiped down the nightstands. That night I even washed Birdie's hair (does anyone else's toddler HATE getting their hair washed??)! They arrived at our house the following afternoon and papa bear and I became instantly irrelevant much to our pleasure. It's such a nice feeling to give our arms a rest. And really they kind of are the best auntie and uncle ever so how can we argue with the fact that our kids are besotted with them? Later that night, after the kids went to sleep, we had much needed "friend" time though the baby monitor was always present with one eye open (such a kill joy).
The next morning we whipped up breakfast and let them in our dirty secret - mornings at our house are an absolute circus. Birdie climbed the table in her usually un-ladylike manner, Teddy refused to breastfeed before we started cooking but began to scream bloody murder as soon as we sat down to eat and by the time it was all over we were an exhausted hot mess. Food was everywhere, some of us were naked (don't worry not me), a box of wipes had exploded in the middle of the living room floor and the kitchen was a pile of bowls and pots and pans. While Birdie begged auntie to color the umpteenth page for her she looked over at me with exasperation and wondered out loud: "how do you do this alone?" I was going to say something back right away but then my mind kind of went blank...
Most days with these two littles are such a blur that that question hit the pause button on everything for just a moment. I immediately wondered "am I doing it??" For example, what if I think I'm actually doing a decent job when in reality I am just the worst at this motherhood thing. Maybe I really have no clue at all?? After all my late night mind-circling usually convinces me of that. This is what my mind looks like before I fall asleep:

- Did we lock all the doors???
- Crap I forgot to put the laundry in the dryer. Again.
- Did I take my meds? Did I give Teddy his meds?? Do we need a refill? Yes? No? Maybe??
- Is trash day tomorrow or the day after. Crap it's tomorrow. I'll do it in the morning. No I won't... Maybe?
- I forgot to call the pediatrician. Again. Actually I forgot to call my doctor too. Again. Actually I think I forgot to do half the things on my to do list...
- I think the arugula is going bad. I should put it in something tomorrow...
- Remember to pinterest "arugula/dairy free/healthy/delicious/dinner/recipe"
- How long can you keep meat refrigerated before it goes bad??? I swear I'll make the meatballs tomorrow...
- I never showered. Again.
- How long can you go without responding to IG comments before you become the most hated person on earth???
- Did I buy more shampoo?? No, but I did buy more chocolate kisses (harharharharaaaa)
- What if I need to be stimulating Teddy more?? Or is it less??
- Is Birdie supposed to be counting by now? Or reading?? When do they learn how to ride a bike?
- We really should do nighttime potty training...
- Spend the next half hour looking at photos and videos of them on my phone...
- Ok seriously I'm going to sleep now...

And... drum roll... This is usually when Teddy wakes up for his first feeding of the night!! Sometimes we fall asleep together, him still nursing. A part of me always goes to sleep thinking I'm a failure and the other part realizes that I am not even a very functional human right now so who even knows. I will tell you that those pamphlets they give you at the pediatricians for their "milestones" are way too long for me to read right now. Can they perhaps turn them into a youtube video so that I can watch it while in line at Starbucks as my toddler whines for "fies???" That would be genius and super convenient.
All I know is that one thing I do believe I do adequately is love on these babies of mine. It's funny actually, the fact that Teddy is as sick as he is (due to the reflux and the dairy thing) has actually made me completely and entirely give up on any dreams of productivity during the day time which means I spend a lot of my days just laying in bed with him and letting him play with my hands and face and coo and giggle. I spend a lot of time reading every single children's book we own with Birdie in her teepee. When I forget about what everyone else wants or needs from me I realize just how wonderful that really is. I can already see the light begin to dim on Teddy's baby days and I want to freeze everything about these moments - the sounds, just how tiny his hands and feet still are, the way his body will mold to the side of mine as we sleep... When I stop thinking about all the work I will have to do later that night, the laundry, the dishes that need to be put away, the meals that were never cooked, the writing, folding, cleaning, calling, scheduling... When I forget all that then I truly am in heaven with these babies of mine. I just wish I could exist in that cocoon forever, guilt free. Because inevitably real life comes rudely knocking reminding me that I am an adult with adult responsibilities and I can't just fritter the day away like this. And that just sucks.
So I suppose this all goes to say that if motherhood is measured in kisses and hugs and tummy rubs I think I'm doing pretty good. If motherhood is measured in tickle fights and dance parties and how many times one nibbles on sweet little baby toes I think I'd get an A+. If motherhood is measured by how much you love your babies then... well I love them to the moon and back (I hear that's pretty far).

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3 notes

  1. Yes to all of this. My mind is the same way at night! I just responded to some posts on my blog and felt terrible because it had taken me so long!

    I would like to think that my 8 month old daughter does not care at all if she is wearing the cutest outfit, if the house is clean, and all her food homemade. Instead she just wants lots of kisses, lots of singing and dancing, and lots of love.

    You're doing great mama! You make having 2 little ones look effortless!

  2. I love this post so much, it's just exactly where I am at as well. Thank you, thank you.

  3. Your words very well represent what most of us mothers think to ourselves! Well said.


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