I ran across an article online yesterday that struck a chord in me. It was from the Huffington Post, titled “24 Clear Signs You’re A Mom”. Basically, it’s a running list of 24 ‘You know you’re a Mom if…” statements. Some of them I found humorous. Others really hurt to read.
I think it’s because motherhood is portrayed (as it often is in our culture) as a totally out-of-control time of life. Becoming a mother basically means you lose all rights to privacy, boundaries, and sanity. Your kids are going to rule the house and run the show and, let’s face it… sometimes those little people are plain maniacs.
Reading through the list made me realize. No wonder people are scared of having kids nowadays. No wonder choosing not to have children is so in vogue. I mean, can you really blame them? When it’s presented to them like this…?
Once the kids arrive, you won’t sleep, rest, feel ‘caught-up’, get to go out anymore, shower alone, eat on time, have a clean house, have any sort of love life, or decide what to watch ever again…’ Oh, but it’s so worth it.
Oh, really? Why? And how? Especially when it’s advertised so… convincingly?
The good news is, though it often is that way… It doesn’t have to be. I’m a firm believer that you can teach your children to be considerate, pleasurable company. It just takes enforced boundaries, patience in training them, and a whole lot of love and joy. This rubs off marvelously.
Life with littles also doesn’t have to be a life of chaos. Learn to organize yourself and teach your little ones to help you. Make them pick up those toys. Teach them to complete their own mini to-do-lists. It teaches diligence, enforces a good work ethic, and is a life skill that will serve them well no matter where they end up in life.
So below, I’ve included my response to all 24 ‘Signs’. I call it the Organized (Christian) Mom’s Response.
1. Instead of running from projectile vomit, you run towards it.
This is totally true and made me smile. I remember admiring my Mom’s super-human powers of not puking herself as she cleaned our childhood messes. I remember doubting that I’d ever be able to do that for my children. But you know what? When the time comes and it’s your children, you step up to the plate and… it’s not that bad. Thankfully, flu season is not the norm for motherhood, so it’s hardly representative.
2. You do more in seven minutes than most people do all day.
Isn’t that thinking a bit too highly of yourself? Taking care of my kids is my job. There’s a lot to be juggled, undeniably. However, I know my husband also juggles a lot. He works very hard to provide for us every day, so it’s not like either of us is vacationing.
3. Happy hour has become the 60 minutes between your kids going to bed and you going to bed.
I won’t deny that the time between my kids going to bed and when I do is a special time usually spent with my husband. If you’re good with enforcing bedtimes, it’s a great, low-stress time to catch up with each other, enjoy some popcorn and a Netflix, or just drink some hot chocolate together while you read separately on the couch. Of course, if I didn’t have children, it’s not like I’d be doing that all day anyway. Our evenings would probably still look pretty similar after a long day’s work, whatever that work might be.
4. A night of drinking requires more recovery time than minor surgery.
Okay… easy fix. Don’t get drunk. There are plenty of healthier and more rejuvenating recreational activities you can enjoy without turning into the proverbial (as in Proverbs’) fool.
5. A glass of wine counts as a serving of fruit.
Um… why? I mean, I like a glass of wine with dinner on occasion, but wine is for making the heart glad (Psalm 104:15) after a good day’s work. My life is not so desperate that I need it to survive. If so, something needs to change. And why not just eat fruit for your serving of fruit? It’s not that hard. Put it in the menu plan, buy healthy snacks, have them available, and then eat those.
6. You have mini-therapy sessions all day long with anyone who will listen.
Okay, something’s wrong here. Just what is so hard about your life that you need all-day-long therapy (complaining) sessions? C’mon, girls. Let’s change our attitudes about our responsibilities and start rejoicing in the many, many blessings we have been given. These years with littles in our home won’t last forever. Treasure them. Rejoice in them. Take nothing for granted.
7. Going to the grocery store by yourself is a vacation.
Granted, it is much easier to focus on shopping without the littles along, so the occasional shopping trip alone may seem like quite the treat. Of course, bringing them along can also be a fun experience (if they are fed, well-rested, and well-trained). You can teach them about the world as you go and you get to show off what adorable children you have to the rest of society. 😉
8. You can experience heaven and hell at the same time.
One word: Childbirth. Been there, done that… twice.
9. You think of physical pain on three levels: pain, excruciating pain and stepping on a Lego.
Okay, I know that lego thing is popular now, but you don’t have to live in a home overrun by a thousand lego pieces just because you have children. Here’s a thought… Have them pick them all up! If they’re too young to pick up their legos after them, they’re probably too young to be playing with them. (Read more about how I keep toy chaos under control)
10. You have the ability to hear a sneeze through closed doors in the middle of the night, two bedrooms away, while your SO snores next to you.
(SO means Significant Other, for those who didn’t get that). This is true. I wake up when my children cough and my husband never does. On the flip side, if something suspicious goes ‘bump’ in the night, it’s my husband who will jump up to defend us all, whereas I’m much more likely to continue sleeping.
11. You’d rather have a 103 degree fever than watch one of your kids suffer with it.
Probably true. Movie and couch day for us all!
12. You’d rather go to sleep than have sex.
Although I must confess to this being true on occasion (life is exhausting sometimes!), I also feel that it’s a responsibility of ours to see to our marriage as well as our children. My friend Valerie has a great series on this topic (Becoming the Sexy Wife)
13. A 15-minute shower with the door locked feels like a day at the spa.
Personally, I have always taken my showers alone just by waking up before my kids do. Teaching your kids to wait to get out of bed until you come and get them (post on that topic yet to come) is hugely helpful in establishing a predictable wake time in the morning (and not worrying whether they’re up and roaming the house while you shower).
14. Peeing with an audience is part of the daily routine.
If your kid is young enough to need to be under your supervision while you use the bathroom, what’s the big deal? Your baby’s not going to care. On the other hand, teaching your older ones to wait patiently outside until you’re done is a great step toward teaching them some common courtesy. Unless you have three kids under three (and I suppose that’s not impossible), there’s no need to have a complete audience. The kids can wait outside until you’re done.
15. You use baby wipes to clean up random spills and the dash of your car.
Yes! Motherhood definitely keeps us prepared for anything.
16. You lock yourself in the bathroom and pretend to have diarrhea just to get a break.
Or… you could say to your children (who are old enough to be locked out of the bathroom) “Leave me alone for a few moments because Mommy need a break. If you cannot obey, then you will need to play alone in your room for a while.” Put a movie on if you’re desperate enough.
17. You love Moms’ Night Out and Date Night with the Hubs.
I love Date Night. Of course, I loved Date Night even before we had kids. Why is this a Mom thing?
18. You have a secret chocolate stash because frankly, you’re sick of sharing.
19. You’ve been washing the same load of laundry for three days because you forgot to dry it.
This is a side effect of disorganization (or a unique life crisis) not of motherhood. After all, I’m more caught up with laundry with two kids than I ever was before I had children. Read my Conquering the Laundry post.
20. You realize you’ve been watching Nick Jr. alone, even though your kids have been in bed for over 30 minutes.
This has never been my problem. After the kids go down, it’s Husband/Wifey time! Those minutes must not be wasted.
21. You can cook dinner, breastfeed, talk on the phone and yell at the kids, all without breaking stride or missing any of the TV show you are watching.
Or… you could turn off the TV and focus on baby while you breastfeed. Then set him down in the kitchen with some toys and make dinner while not yelling at your children. If the phone rings, answer it and get back to what you were doing. Is that TV show so important that it’s worth sacrificing the peace of your home?
22. You get more excited about the Mini Boden Catalogue than J Crew’s.
Being the frugalista that I am, I don’t look at either. If Goodwill had a catalogue, I’d look at that.
23. You decide to stick with your car for the next decade because a) you can’t afford to switch and b) you haven’t found a car wash that knows how to get all the milk stains and glitter removed.
Or you could enforce a Water-Only rule in the car and not allow hazardous things (like glitter) to be carried by unreliable caretakers. And not being able to afford another car is a Budgeting problem, not a Motherhood one.
24. By the end of the day, brushing your teeth feels like a huge accomplishment.
This is often true, but is just a sign of a productive and hard-working day. Motherhood is hard work, and you should be proud of all you’ve accomplished today… teeth brushing included.
And that, my friends, is how a girl can have two kids, not be overwhelmed, and still desire more. Let’s overcome chaos one bit at a time and learn to rejoice in our children while we have them. Motherhood is a gift, not a curse. Let’s think of it as such.